On Sunday May 19, Paul Scholes was shown the yellow card in the Premier League for the final time.
It was for a raking challenge on Billy Jones.
This was his 97th booking in 499 top flight games, many of them earned for late, clattering tackles.
But who are the two players have have been booked more than Scholes? For old times’ sake: This was the tackle that landed the Ginger Ninja in the book on Sunday Inevitable: Paul Scholes picked up another booking on his final outing for Manchester United They are Bolton striker Kevin Davies – who was issued with 99 yellow cards in 442 matches and, on the same tally, Leeds and Newcastle midfielder Lee Boywer – in 397 games.
Davies’ bookings were not generally for bad tackles, but mainly for persistent fouling.
But Bowyer was far more of a traditional ‘clogger’ and got involved in several scrapes with other players because of high and unwieldy challenges.
No 1: Lee Bowyer and Kevin Davies (below) both have 99 Premier League bookings Kevin Davies (bottom) Premier League top 10 most booked and sent off (right).
Scholes was sent off four times in the league.
Was Scholes bad at tackling, or just plain dirty? A lot has been said about Paul Scholes as he begins his second retirement.
He has numerous wonderful traits, from his passing to his movement.
He’s a consummate professional.
The list goes on.
Players including Zinedine Zidane, Andres Iniesta and Patrick Vieira have lined up to express their admiration for the midfielder.
But as well as being glad about not having to face his penetrative through-balls, they will also be delighted to have seen the last of his studs.
Crunch: Paul Scholes caused controversy in 1999 with this shocking tackle on Sweden’s Hakan Mild That’ll hurt in the morning: Mild inspects the hole left in his leg by Scholes VIDEO: Watch Scholes’s shocking tackle on Mild Scholes’s tackling was oft-remarked upon during his career; it was notable for being exceptionally poor.
The wild effort above, on Sweden’s Hakan Mild in 1999, was widely criticised and Scholes even ended up calling the victim to apologise.
While some laughed off his challenges as a bit of ‘harmless’ fun (‘Oh Scholesy, he never could tackle!’) others said he was lucky not to have been shown more red cards or caused injuries to opponents because of their reckless nature.
Scholes intimated his challenges were more malicious than clumsy, but that he committed bad tackles for both reasons.
Of course I can tackle, he told Radio 5 Live in 2011.
There’s plenty of evidence of me being able to tackle.
I was just getting people back.
If someone got me early in the game, it was always in the back of my mind that I needed to get them back.
‘I didn t always do it on purpose.
Some of it was just bad timing.
I think throughout my career the record wasn t that bad.
There were a few yellow cards but not many sendings-off.
I think towards the end every time I made one tackle I got booked, because of my reputation I suppose.
But in defending his record, which saw him play 499 Premier League games and pick up an incredible 97 bookings in the competition.
Hailed: United fans gave Scholes a rapturous reception on his final day No player is yet to score the the dubious achievement of breaking the 100 yellow cards barrier, but Scholes is third, behind renowned dirt-bags Kevin Davies and Lee Bowyer.
So what can you make of Scholes’ tackling? ‘It depends what you call clever and what you call dirty,’ said Arsene Wenger in 2010.
But what he was certain of was that Scholes’s approach to the defensive side of the game was illegal.
‘Unfairly, of course, unfairly,’ he said.
‘How many times have you watched Paul Scholes? ‘Have you seen only fair tackles from Paul Scholes? I don’t want to come out on one specifically but I can remember a few.
‘They are a bit in the past, yes, but look at him playing now.
He still doesn’t hide.’ Lunge: Scholes’s tackle on Zabaleta was ludicriously high VIDEO: SCHOLES’S LUNGE ON ZABALETA Wenger continued: ‘No, I don’t (think his approach is fair).
You ask me about the quality of the player who wouldn’t like a Paul Scholes in his team? You ask me: ‘Was he a fair player?’ I say: ‘No, I’m sorry, for me he was not a fair player.’ ‘I just think I respect him highly as a quality player.
I did not like some things he did on the football pitch and I have the right to say that.
It’s not because you are older, suddenly, that you are a saint.’ So Scholes retires, with numerous physical accolades (11 titles, three FA Cups, two Champions Leagues, two League Cups…) and praise deservedly ringing in his ears.
But don’t forget – whether in spite or by accident – the Ginger Ninja could hurt opponents in more ways than one.
Scholes hacks down Jose Antonio Reyes Scholes is sent off after fouling Francesco Totti
Jamie Redknapp: Spurs should push the boat out for Bale, Wenger needs to be given funds, Carroll to stay…
and my team of the season revealed
Now keep Bale Spurs have to keep Gareth Bale.
He’s scored 21 goals this season and nine from outside the box, the highest total of long range goals in Europe’s top leagues.
He deserves Champions League football but I hope he is patient and that Tottenham push the boat out for him now.
Key man: Spurs need to pay whatever it costs to keep Gareth Bale Improvements: Arsene Wenger should be given the funds to improve this Arsenal squad Spend for Arsene The top three are all changing managers, so maybe it’s time we appreciated how good Arsene Wenger is.
He’s done it again (OK, he’s not won a trophy, but he has qualified for the Champions League) and this is his weakest team.
Now spend and let’s see how good he can really be.
Farewell to a legend Strange that Michael Owen retires and I don t see a pull-out in any newspaper.
We ve been quick to acknowledge the departure of football’s greats recently, but from the age of 18 to 24 he was a world beater.
It didn t finish like it should have done for one of the greatest English finishers.
Carroll to stay A hat-trick for Kevin Nolan but all eyes at West Ham are on the future of Andy Carroll.
Finishing 10th is a terrific return to the top flight and Carroll’s recall to the England squad may convince him he has found the place where he can settle and still progress his career.
He should sign to stay.
Lukaku wanted man Jose Mourinho loved Didier Drogba as the focal point of his Chelsea attack, so the hat-trick for Romelu Lukaku against Manchester United has come in good time for the returning manager.
But if Baby Drogba is not going to play regularly then another loan will keep him active.
I can think of lots of takers.
Wells feeling better We all felt Bradford’s pain when Swansea played with them at the Capital One Cup final and beat them 5-0.
But Phil Parkinson’s team came back to Wembley on Saturday and showed their talents.
Nahki Wells, 22, deserves to play at a higher level and now he will.
Well done to them.
My goal of the season is…
Luis Suarez might not be Mr Popular in all quarters but Liverpool have to keep him and if they need a reminder, watch a re-run of his goal against Newcastle.
He took a long ball over his shoulder and on his chest, evaded Fabricio Coloccini and slipped it in.
Focal point: Is Romelu Lukaku set to become Jose Mourinho’s new Didier Drogba Goal of the season: Luis Suarez brilliantly controls the ball and then takes it past Tim Krul to score JAMIE’S TEAM OF THE SEASON Joe Hart (Man City); Pablo Zabaleta (Man City), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), Leighton Baines (Everton); Michael Carrick (Man Utd), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Juan Mata (Chelsea); Gareth Bale (Tottenham), Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Robin Van Persie (Man Utd).
Disagree? Leave me yours in the comment section below
Mark Halsey bowed out of the game at Manchester City Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Referee Mark Halsey has bowed out of football and hopes his story can inspire other cancer-sufferers.
The 51-year-old took charge of a game for the final time in Norwich’s shock 3-2 win over Manchester City at The Etihad on Sunday having beaten non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2009.
Halsey said after that match: “It’s been a fantastic career for me, with ups and downs.
“I have had three great years since I have come back from my illness and hopefully I have been an inspiration for all those men, women and children out there living with cancer, and shown them we can beat this, that we can get back out there.
Hopefully I have done a lot for them.
“It was a great game, a great advert for the Premier League.
It was a great reception I got at the end, unbelievable.
I never thought I’d get that and it shows the respect I’ve got.
It was just absolutely magnificent.
“I don’t think I have seen a referee get something like that before.
I wasn’t expecting it, not at all.
At Man City I think the fans have got an affinity with me.
They think I helped put them back on the map in 1999 in that play-off final at Wembley.
“It was a great day for me and my family.
My family have been there for me.
My wife has got leukaemia, she was there for me when I was battling my cancer.
“I have also got to say a big thank you to the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) for giving me the opportunity to become a professional referee.
“Chris Hughton (Norwich manager) gave me a hug and said a few more words to me.
It was fantastic.”
A Gareth Bale-inspired 1-0 win turned out not to matter after Arsenal’s win at Newcastle consigned them to fifth place.
Tottenham Hotspur1 have been consigned to fifth place after winning 1-0 at home against Sunderland2 only to find their Champions League ambitions thwarted by an Arsenal3 victory. For most of the match, the visitors’ goal seemed to be protected by some sort of witchcraft, but although Gareth Bale4 finally put Spurs ahead very late, it was all for naught.
The first half was rather unfortunately marred by refereeing controversy. The best chance either had to break the deadlock came in the 20th minute, when Bale blew through the defence and was wrestled to the ground by Sebastian Larsson.
Expecting a penalty, the winger was distraught when Andre Marriner, 40 yards behind the play, instead showed him a yellow card for diving — a ridiculous decision that could have major ramifications.
There was another penalty shout later on, when Jack Colback5 blocked Bale’s fizzing shot with his left arm, and Spurs would have felt rightly aggrieved that they went into the break at 0-0. But they were also somewhat fortunate not to be behind, relying on a superb save from Hugo Lloris6 to keep Connor Wickham’s7 close range shot out following some excellent work from Danny Graham8.
The second half didn’t go much better for Tottenham. Adebayor saw Carlos Cuellar9 block the ball with his hand (penalty not given, of course, because screw the rules). Tom Huddlestone10 fired just over from close range.
A series of implausible goalline blocks and woodwork hits kept the hosts at bay. Meanwhile, news hit White Hart Lane that Arsenal were ahead at Newcastle11, a result that would keep Spurs in fifth no matter how well they did against Sunderland.
The routine was pretty obvious. Tottenham go up the pitch, get a corner, waste the corner, get the ball back, go up the pitch and so on and so on and so on, but they simply weren’t finding the goals they needed.
But a moment of madness from David Vaughan13 gave Spurs some hope. The midfielder came across Aaron Lennon14 in full flight, wiping him out without ever getting anywhere near the ball, and was duly shown his second yellow card of the evening. Down to ten men, was there any way that the visitors could hold out?
Because Gareth Bale. As is his wont, he took matters into his own hands and fired Spurs into the lead 89 minutes. It was a 25-yard effort, and flew straight into the top corner.
In any other context it would have been magnificent…
but with Arsenal holding on at Newcastle, celebrations were muted.
Eventually, the result was confirmed: Tottenham had failed to qualify for the Champions League.
More in Soccer:
- ^ Tottenham Hotspur (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Sunderland (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Arsenal (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Gareth Bale (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Jack Colback (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Hugo Lloris (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Connor Wickham’s (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Danny Graham (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Carlos Cuellar (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Tom Huddlestone (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Newcastle (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Simon Mignolet’s (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ David Vaughan (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Aaron Lennon (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter (www.twitter.com)
- ^ Like SB Nation Soccer on Facebook (www.facebook.com)
- ^ David Beckham s legacy (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Looking at the MLS salary data (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ The Battle of Belgrade (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Transfer rumours from SB Nation and our team blogs (www.sbnation.com)
- ^ Full coverage of the NWSL (www.sbnation.com)
Rafa Nadal: Rome master against Federer Rafa Nadal took just over an hour to send Roger Federer packing and claim the Rome Masters title after winning the 30th ATP Tour clash between the two giants 6-1 6-3.
For their landmark meeting Federer produced one of his worst performances, with Nadal capitalising in ruthless fashion to move to 20-10 against Federer and 13-2 on his beloved clay surface.
In a perfect tune-up for next week’s French Open for the 26-year-old Spaniard, Nadal took just an hour and eight minutes to pick up the title at the Foro Italica.
Federer’s performance was littered with errors, as the Swiss made 32 unforced mistakes in just 16 games, while his serves was also misfiring as he could only find his first serve 58 percent of the time.
Nadal forced six break points and took five of them, while Federer managed just one break of the Nadal serve from his two break points.
Nadal continue to show no signs of the knee injury that kept him out of the game for seven months, with the win in Rome taking improving his run to three straight tournament victories.
It was also a sixth tournament win overall of the year, and he will head to Roland Garros in the best possible confidence as he goes in search of a eighth French Open title and fourth in a row.
More to follow…
A fine season for the most part is in danger of ending on something of a low for West Brom as they fell to a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of Norwich. They will be looking to end their season on a high in what will be an historic occasion against Manchester United.
Steve Clarke may struggle to retain the services of Romelu Lukaku next season with the Belgian striker keen to experience European football as his development steps up a gear next year. Lukaku has been pivotal for the Baggies this term, not just with his strong hold-up play but with his eye for goal as well. He currently has an 64.6% shot accuracy rate from 82 attempts, meaning a shot on target on average once every 39.6 minutes he s been on the pitch this season.
Shockingly though, Lukaku is nowhere near the club s most accurate shooter this season, although admittedly Billy Jones has had far fewer attempts.
Jones has been in remarkable form when presented with his chances in front of goal, seeing 91.7% of his 12 efforts hitting the target according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Whilst those in front of him have perhaps caught the eye a little more than Gareth McAuley, the big centre half has been just as crucial to West Brom s success this season. He has been a defensive titan at times for Steve Clarke s side, recording a squad-high 314 defensive contributions
A typical Javier Hernandez strike and a rare Rio Ferdinand goal ensured that Sir Alex Ferguson s last appearance at Old Trafford as Manchester Utd manager ended with, appropriately, victory. It will be an emotional afternoon for all concerned on Sunday as the greatest manager in British football finally retires at the end of this season.
Despite limited opportunities this season, Chicarito has been as impressive as ever when given his chance to impress.
The Mexican sharp shooter has managed to craft a shot on target on average once every 39.2 minutes, an excellent return given that most of his appearances in the league this season have been from the bench.
It was fitting that it fell to one of Sir Alex Ferguson s longest serving players in Rio Ferdinand to seal the win on his manager s final appearance at the Theatre of Dreams. Despite rarely finding himself on the scoresheet, Ferdinand has still been dominating for Utd at the back this season, racking up a solid 63.6% tackle success rate from 33 attempts. His relatively low number of tackles shows his ability to read the game and therefore bypass the need to go to ground.
He ranks fourth in the United squad for interceptions with 68.
Now the only left of the old guard, Ryan Giggs shows no signs of slowing down even at 39 years if age.
The Welshman continues to defies the odds and his figures on the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index shows he has at least another year of top level football left in him.
According to his data Giggs has completed a pass in the opponent s half on average once every 4.1 minutes this season, as well as delivery 22 crosses placing him 6th in the United squad.
Sir Alex Ferguson: Manchester United empire will not crumble like it did after Sir Matt Busby retired
Sir Alex Ferguson believes that Manchester United’s empire will not crumble after he retires like they did following Sir Matt Busby’s initial retirement in 1969.
The United boss, who takes charge of his last game today at the age of 71, also credits Busby with creating modern Manchester United.
Asked by United’s official website, if cracks will appear at United once David Moyes takes over, Ferguson said: No.
I think if you go back to Busby’s day, Sir Matt was probably in the same situation as I find myself today.
But he created Manchester United.
Triumphant: Sir Alex Ferguson says United’s empire will not crumble under David Moyes Parade: Ferguson with his triumphant United squad, celebrating the club’s 20th title win That was the origins of what we are today.
He had the vision to take the club into Europe and rebuilt a team in 10 years based mainly around young players to win the European Cup.
I m in the same situation as him – the past is the past and will always be there.
It’s a good record and the future now lies with a new manager who will get all the support from us and hopefully we ll continue to be successful.
It’s not the end of Manchester United as far as winning titles is concerned.
The club will win titles and win trophies.
Back in the day: Ferguson has been at United for over 26 years and has been immensely successful Ferguson has also revealed that his ambassadorial role will only take up 20 days a year of his time – a far cry from reporting at United’s Carrington training ground before 6am five days a week.
The ambassadorial role is 20 days a year so it’s fine, he said.
It will be defined by the club.
There are a lot of sponsors and a lot of important people in the club.
That will be my role.
Whatever they want me to do in those 20 days will be fine.
Stevens: Won aboard Oxbow Comeback king Gary Stevens steered Oxbow to victory in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico as Kentucky Derby winner Orb disappointed.
Orb was sent off the 3-5 favourite by local punters after his victory at Churchill Downs but he was struggling from a long way out and could never land a blow.
So it was left to Stevens to steal the headlines as he guided Oxbow, only sixth behind Orb in the Kentucky Derby, to a comfortable success.
Itsmyluckyday looked like he might land the spoils turning for home but he had to settle for second under Johnny Velazquez while Mylute was third under Rosie Napravnik.