Amid the euphoria of Leicester City’s magnificent and historical title success (needless to say, our heartiest congratulations to all concerned), new Premier League ground was also broken elsewhere on Monday night.
In the title crunch game at Chelsea, nine yellow cards were shown to Tottenham Hotspur players; the first time in the competition’s history that nine different players from one team had been shown yellow.
Considering the importance of the game, Cup Final referee Mark Clattenburg appeared to be in an especially lenient mood during the early stages of the exchanges.
Despite an increasingly highly charged atmosphere, only Kyle Walker, Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose (that’s three of the back four) had gone into the book in the first-half.
Erik Lamela followed shortly after the break before Christian Eriksen made it five with 20 minutes still to play.
It was in the closing stages following Chelsea’s crucial comeback that Spurs’ frustrations boiled over as Eric Dier, Moussa Dembele, Harry Kane and Ryan Mason transgressed to complete the record-breaking nonet.
Only three of the starting line-up (Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld and Son Heung-Min) avoided a caution on a night when, it has to be said, the boys from White Hart Lane were extremely fortunate not to see multiple red cards, perhaps most notably Dembele who was caught on camera apparently poking his finger in Diego Costa’s eye..
So, it was a first for the Premier League and a rarity in English league football.
The most recent nine-card trick in the Football League was on 19 November 2005.
In a League Championship game at Plymouth Argyle, nine Queens Park Rangers players went in to referee Steve Tanner’s book.
It is questionable whether such a fighting spirit impressed the host’s hierarchy or not, but QPR boss Ian Holloway became the Pilgrims’ manager seven months later.