Which clubs get yellow cards for their managers as well as their players?




by Tony Attwood

It suddenly struck me that I’d never looked into the issue of the number of yellow and red cards that various managers get from referees.  Which I should do given the remorseless daily assault on Mikel Arteta from the media, including recently the highlighting of his yellow cards from referees.

Now managerial bookings in the Premier League are not, as far as I can see, recorded either by the Premier League’s official site, or by WhoScored – the site that we use for details of yellow cards, fouls, tackles etc, and indeed for details of how PGMO officials behave on the pitch.

However, 90min – another site that we do find helpful has looked into this and reminds us that Pep Guardiola got 117 yellows in his playing career, as well as being the first ever Premier League manager to get booked – that being in the Community Shield.

What hampers the media in attacking Mr Arteta is that leaving the “technical area” is only an offense if it is seen as “persistent”.  Behaviour that is “provocative or inflammatory” could get a red card – as presumably could two yellows, although I haven’t seen that spelled out in the regulations anywhere.  Maybe I missed it.

But in essence, the rules are that more than two people on their feet in the technical area means a yellow.

One interesting point is that a manager sent off cannot then go to the stands to watch. Presumably, he watches the game from the offices on TV and phones messages through.   But here’s the most stringent point for managers: after three cautions in a season, there is a one-match suspension.

The media is happy to tell us that Arteta – as with the Mail’s article “Mikel Arteta vows to curb his wild side on the touchline to avoid facing a ban after picking up another yellow card against Chelsea.”   (“Wild side” indeed; presumably that is for moving what ranting is for speaking).

According to the records, it also looks to me as if Antonio Conte has three yellows and a red this season, Ange Postecoglou has a yellow, Cristian Stellini has a red, and Ryan Mason has a yellow.  And what links those jolly chaps together is the simple fact that all four of them were working for Tottenham Hotspur at the time of their transgressions!   Which is interesting because Tottenham have also been at or near the top of the yellow card table for players.  So yes, they are at the top of the yellow card table for managers and coaches too!  Funny that there is all this stuff on “rants” and nothing about an outbreak of yellow fever in White Hart Lane.

Data on the coaching side of things comes from the Athletic which helpfully spells out the Tottenham situation.  Conte: three yellows one red.  Postecoglou: one yellow.  Stellini: one red.  Mason: 1 yellow.

They do seem to have quite a lively set of occupants of the coaching chairs (one can hardly call it a bench amidst the opulence of the Unsponsored Stadium).

Thus we might take it that Tottenham are getting their on-field misbehaviour from their management team’s misbehaviour – which I don’t think anyone has pointed out before.  (What is the equivalent to “rant” when referring to wild movements and shouting on the touchline?)

Here’s the table…

Team Player Yellow Player Red Manager yellow Manager Red Total*
Tottenham Hotspur 34 3
Chelsea 40 1
Wolverhampton W 39 3
Brighton and Hove 30  1 6
Fulham 31  2 6
West Ham 30  1 2
Newcastle United 33 0
Liverpool 20  4 2
Manchester City 22  2 4
Arsenal 16 2

*Yellow card equals 1 point, red card equals 2 points.

Now what is interesting is that Tottenham Hotspur appear to be top of the transgressions-by-coaching staff table as well as the transgressions-by-players’ table.

Equally we can see that Arsenal have slipped way behind everyone else in terms of yellow cards.  Arsenal have 16 and two reds while their nearest competitors in the table are Luton Town with 20 yellows and no reds.

Which makes it quite clear exactly why the media focus quite so much on Arteta’s brush with the men with cards – it is because they are utterly desperate to keep attention away from the actual detail of the players’ yellow card table.  For if that story gets out the only headlines would be about the “wild ranting” of the Tottenham “bench” and the fact that already, one third of the way through the season Tottenham, Wolverhampton and Chelsea are on double the number of yellow cards that Arsenal have.

So what will the yellow card table for players look like at the end of the season if clubs carry on as they have through the first 12 games?  Here’s the projection…

Club Yellow
Tottenham Hotspur 108 10
Chelsea 127 3
Manchester City 70 6
Arsenal 51 6


Last season the club with the highest number of yellows was Leeds with 84.  Tottenham are on course to beat the Leeds of last season by 29%.  Chelsea will exceed last season’s Leeds total by 51%.

Will the media mention this?   Or will they focus on Arteta’s four yellows?  Probably the latter, but even here we can see that at least two clubs are already 50% above Arteta for cards.

And what could they call it?   “A yellow bonanza for Brighton’s and Fulham’s managers?”  Doesn’t really have the same ring to it as “rant” does it?

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