Twenty years ago in an FA Cup fourth-round tie between Liverpool and Arsenal, Jamie Carragher was sent off after losing his cool and throwing a coin back at Arsenal fans.
Arsene Wenger’s side appeared fired up and ready for the challenge, and feisty tackles and fiery attitudes were on show throughout the 90 minutes.
But it was during the second half that the match finally descended into all-out chaos. In the 67th minute, Martin Keown was sent off after taking down Michael Owen as he was through on goal. Just minutes later, Dennis Bergkamp also received his marching orders after a poorly timed challenge resulted in him stomping on Carragher’s leg.
Unsurprisingly Carragher was already frustrated after being on the receiving end of Bergkamp’s nasty tackle, but the defender reached boiling point when just seconds after the incident he was hit with a coin thrown by Arsenal fans.
Carragher lost his cool, picked up the coin from the floor and pelted it back towards the fans. After a brief discussion between the referee and his assistant, the defender was also sent off, completing the trio of red cards in the space of just five minutes.
Liverpool could have enjoyed a two-man advantage for the remaining 20 minutes of the game and would have had ample opportunity to mount a comeback, seeing as they were only one goal down.
After the incident, Carragher made a grovelling apology, saying: “I regret what happened at Highbury because I let the club, the fans, my teammates and myself down.
“No matter what the physical or verbal provocation, I shouldn’t have reacted like that I would like to apologise for any offence caused.
“I was frustrated and did it without thinking in the heat of the moment. Anyone who has seen me play regularly will realise it was completely out of character but I’m not going to make excuses.
“I was wrong and as a professional football player, I should have known better. It’s a mistake I won’t make again.”
Then-manager Phil Thompson also spoke about the incident, saying: “He [Carragher] was angry and frustrated about getting hit by something, and what he did was out of character, but that still doesn’t make it right.
“Jamie had responsibilities to his team-mates. Arsenal had just had two players sent off, so there is a need for calm heads. Whether or not Jamie is disciplined by the club is a private matter.”
But unfortunately for the Liverpool defender, although his club’s discipline may have been a private matter, the FA made their own decision to punish Carragher for his actions.
The club had already fined Carragher £40,000 for the incident and the FA took that into account when making their decision. He wasn’t handed any further fines but he was given an automatic three-match ban.
The defender was also given a verbal warning by the Metropolitan Police, although no further action was taken.