Football: History Lesson

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The Independent Online
Forget Vinnie Jones and Ian Wright. When it comes to indiscipline surely nobody could match Frank Barson, who played for Barnsley, Aston Villa, Manchester United, Hartlepools United and Wigan Borough.

Suspended at least 12 times in his career, Barson was regularly disciplined by his own clubs. On one occasion he was even said to have pulled a gun on his manager at Aston Villa.

Barson's notoriety reached a high in 1928, when he was banned for six months for kicking an opponent while playing for Watford. Five thousand fans took up his cause by signing a petition, which was delivered to an unsympathetic Football Association by the mayor of Watford. The petition was ceremonially burned in his presence.