8 footballers who’d love radical ‘enforcer’ idea – from Roy Keane to Big Dunc
Roy Keane and Duncan Ferguson are amongst the players who would love James McClean's new set of rules for football.
The Wigan Athletic winger has urged the sport's lawmakers to consider implementing a rule which would allow players to have "10-15 second tear-up fights" during matches. He wants the rule to imitate a similar law in ice hockey, with players sin-binned after the fights in the hope it will reduce the amount of "handbags" during matches.
With that in mind, here are eight players who would love McClean's ideas to become a reality in the future.
READ MORE: Championship star wants new rule where players are allowed '10-15 second tear-up fights'
Former Manchester United title-winning captain Keane had a no nonsense reputation during his career which he has carried with him as a pundit and manager since retiring.
As a result, he was sent off no fewer than 10 times during his club career, including being shown a straight red card seven times playing for United.
Keane infamously got revenge on Alfe-Inge Haaland in the Manchester Derby in 2001 with a vicious knee-high challenge after the then Manchester City man had mocked the Irish midfielder in a previous match. He also once clashed with Alan Shearer, with the bust-up threatening to continue after the match as Keane waited for Shearer in the tunnel.
Veteran Portuguese defender Pepe has become synonymous with on-pitch violence during his career, with the centre-back never far away when it kicks off in matches he plays in.
Pepe has been sent off for all four clubs he has played for during his career and even had more red cards than goals scored during his time with Maritimo.
Back in April 2009, Pepe earned himself a 10-match ban, first kicking Getafe's Javier Casquero twice before hitting Juan Angel Albin in the following scuffle after already being sent off.
It is unlikely that McClean's proposed new rules would allow for sanctioned fights between players and fans, but if they did it would be music to Eric Cantona's ears.
The United cult hero was infamously banned for eight months back in 1995 for jumping into the crowd to "kung-fu" kick a Crystal Palace fan who was taunting him as he trudged off the pitch after being sent off.
Cantona also unleashed a flurry of punches on Palace supporter Matthew Simmons in response to the abuse levelled at him, which saw the Frenchman receive immediate disciplinary action.
Pepe's former Real Madrid centre-back partner Sergio Ramos has a similar reputation and approach to defending, racking up a lengthy list of bookings and red cards.
In 16 years in the Spanish capital, Ramos was sent off a staggering 28 times, averaging a red card once every 26 matches for the club. Since leaving Los Blancos for Paris Saint-Germain in 2021, he has continued that record and been sent off twice in just 45 appearances.
Amazingly, though, Ramos has yet to receive a lengthy ban for his numerous acts of violent conduct, with his longest suspension being just two games.
As a member of the Crazy Gang during his time with Wimbledon, it is no surprise that Vinnie Jones had a hard man image as a result of his aggressive style of play.
Jones' highlights include 12 career red cards, holding the record for the quickest ever booking after being sent off three seconds into a 1992 FA Cup tie and the famous image of him grabbing Paul Gascoigne's genitals during a match in 1987.
He was also summoned by the FA at the end of 1992/93 season for exceeding 40 disciplinary points but failed to appear, earning him an indefinite ban which was later reduced to four matches.
Ferguson could well have avoided a stint in jail if McClean's proposed rules had been in place back in 1994.
The Everton fan favourite was sentenced to three months in prison after he was convicted of assault for headbutting Raith Rovers defender John McStay whilst playing for Rangers.
Ferguson went on to receive eight red cards during his time at Goodison Park across two spells with the Toffees. His style of play also earned him several iconic nicknames that included "Big Dunc" and "Duncan Disorderly".
Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer
McClean's rule change could perhaps best be implemented for situations similar to the fight between Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer in April 2005.
During a home match against Aston Villa, the Newcastle United team-mates were involved in an on-pitch brawl with each other, causing players from both sides to separate the enraged pair.
Both players were sent off for the incident, with Dyer handed a three match ban and Bowyer ultimately banned for seven matches and fined £30,000.
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