Phil Parkinson was aware of Crawley Town reputation for playing an aggressive style of soccer. But when the Bradford City manager snubbed his counterpart, Steve Evans, following Tuesday’s ill-tempered game between the two teams, it lit a fuse in both sets of players, and sparked a mass brawl.
The referee showed red cards to five players — after the game — and the FA is reviewing the video. If it issues retroactive red cards to any other player, it would set a new British record, according to the Mirror.
“If the FA distributes a sixth red card retrospectively, the game will go down as the dirtiest game in league history, beating the five reds shown at Chesterfield versus Plymouth in February 1997, Wigan versus Bristol Rovers in December that year and Exeter versus Cambridge in November 2002,” the report says.
The League Two (English fourth division) contest was messy from the start, but it will be remembered for the way it ended.
Referee Ian Williamson, who presided over the game, went into the Bradford dressing room following the game. He summoned Andrew Davies, Jon McLaughlin and Luke Oliver into his room and showed them red cards. He then called Crawley pair Pablo Mills and Claude Davis into his room and gave them the same treatment.
Parkinson blamed the violence on visiting Crawley Town.
“This is as low as I’ve felt in my whole career,” he said. “It gives me a lot of problems, to put it mildly. We know what Crawley Town are all about and what they bring in terms of their intimidating type of play, and you’ve got to make sure you don’t get involved in it because that’s what they want.
“They provoked it, and now both clubs will pay a heavy price. You can moan about their antics, but you can only moan after beating them.”
Crawley won the game 2-1, but both teams lost as far as we’re concerned.
See the postgame brawl between Crawley and Bradford in the video below.