New technologies bring with them new ways of falling foul of the authorities. In January 2011 Ryan Babel became the first player to be punished for comments made on Twitter. The Liverpool striker was not too pleased with two decisions made by ref Howard Webb in the 1-0 FA Cup defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday January 9th 2011. In what was Kenny Dalglish’s first match back in charge of Liverpool the referee awarded United a penalty in the second minute, from which the winning goal was scored, and half an hour later sent off Steven Gerrard. Babel criticised the ref and posted a link to a doctored picture of Webb – wearing a Manchester United shirt! Babel admitted an FA charge of improper conduct and was fined £10,000 and was warned about his future conduct.
In December 2003 Rio Ferdinand was banned from football and fined £50,000 for ‘failure or refusal to take a drugs test’. The Manchester United player had been asked to take a test on September 23rd at the clubs’ Carrington training ground but left without providing a urine sample. He claimed that he forgot as he was pre-occupied with moving house – and went shopping instead! After an unsuccessful appeal the 8 month ban ran from the end of January to the end of September 2004 and in addition to missing domestic competition the ban included international football and so he was absent from Euro 2004 in Portugal.
Saturday January 6th 1990 was a great day for Cardiff City. Their FA Cup Third Round tie against Queens Park Rangers saw them bank record club record receipts for a match at Ninian Park – £50,517.75. Well, they would have banked it on Monday but sadly for Cardiff’s bank balance thieves broke into the safe over the weekend and pinched the lot!
Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher was hit by a coin thrown from the crowd in an FA Cup 4th Round tie against Arsenal at Highbury on Sunday January 27th 2002. He threw it back into the crowd for which he was red-carded followed by a police warning, £40,000 club fine and three-match FA ban.