We all know that the cries for an ‘orange card’ to be introduced into the game of football are to categorise a tackle that’s a bit too strong for a yellow, but not quite worthy of a red.
But we’d have to go above and beyond to find a colour strong enough to represent the absolute kicking that was dished out by Henri Lansbury on Swansea City’s Ryan Manning in the 3-3 draw at Luton Town on Saturday.
A crimson card, perhaps?
The game was going all too swimmingly for Luton after Nathan Jones’ men raced into a shock 3-0 lead over last season’s Championship playoff finalists. Goals from Luke Berry and an Elijah Adebayo brace had put the Hatters seemingly out of sight inside 23 minutes, and the contest was dead in the water.
But five minutes later, an incident occurred that sent shockwaves around the Football League, as Lansbury landed the equivalent of a defibrillator shock on Manning’s leg, reviving the Swans and sparking them back into life.
Luton were preparing to take a free-kick inside their own half, when Manning slowly began to craftily edge towards the ball. The Swansea star decided to give it a little petulant kick towards the touchline, as frustration set in.
Lansbury, perhaps seeing his act of rebellion coming, sensed an opportunity. He ran full pelt towards the ball and swung his leg in its path with such ferocity that connecting with the round thing may just have sent it flying over the Kenilworth Road stand.
Instead, Manning arrived to the ball first, poking it just out of Lansbury’s path – and receiving the full force of the midfielder’s right leg to his ankle. In cartoon fashion, Manning went flying up into the air before thwacking to the ground, where he remained in a heap on the floor.
He couldn’t have kicked him that hard, right? Wrong. Think about every Paul Scholes volley from the edge of the box, or Wayne Rooney’s screamer against Newcastle. Lansbury literally volleyed Manning into next week.
The referee decided that Lansbury’s assault on Manning was only worthy of a yellow card, while the victim himself also received the same punishment for being kicked extremely hard – or more probably, for kicking the ball away in the first place.
Of course, this moment of madness caused handbags to come flying out – but not as many as you’d expect given one player literally kicked the living daylight out of an opponent.
Arguments over who to blame rumbled around social media, with some pointing out that Manning’s attempts to time waste or wind up Luton’s players brought the inevitable dead leg on himself, while others were of the stance that you can’t really go about kicking other people in life.
Either way, it led to Swansea mounting a dramatic three-goal comeback in the second half to draw 3-3, giving them the last laugh on their journey back home. Oh, the Championship, never change!