Despite the best efforts of QPR’s legal eagles Joey Barton still faces a 12 match ban on his return from Marseilles for his meltdown at the Etihad on the closing day of last season. The suspension puts Barton in some illustrious – and not so illustrious – company as Jamie Whitehead reveals…

Rio Ferdinand forgets time, loses eight months of career.

It was just another day for Rio Ferdinand, he got up, had some breakfast and off to training he went (I presume). Problem was, after a few hours spent practising set piece routines and merking Ryan Giggs, Rio went shopping when he should have been at a drugs test. Sadly for Rio, Manchester is in England and not the Good Ol’ U S of A so ‘innocent until proven guilty’ doesn’t really apply here. Rio was subsequently banned for eight months which saw him eating an energy bar on his return to the pitch, which was bizarre enough in itself. Strange really when you consider how good at time keeping his boss is.

Paolo di Canio sees red. Then sees more red. 

Signing a player like Paolo di Canio will always be a risk. Few live up to the stereotype of ‘fiery Latin temprement’ quite as well as this guy, and with his alleged connections to Lazio’s facist Ultra groups, fireworks tend to not be too far around the corner.

As was proven whilst playing for Sheffield Wednesday against Arsenal in 1998. After a red card for di Canio which saw him get so mad he ran over to referee Paul Alcock and pushed him to the ground. Di Cano was  banned for eleven games and never played for Wednesday again. Hard to believe this was the same player who stopped play by catching the ball at Everton a few years later, winning himself the UEFA Fair Play award in the process.

Nicholas Anelka and his ‘retrospective’ ban

We all know the story of France’s complete and utter meltdown at the 2010 World Cup. Whereas France had given the world a footballing masterclass on home soil in 1998, all they gave us in 2010 was a gold standard in argumentative behaviour. Bizarrely, Anelka had announced his intention to retire from international football after the World Cup, which makes the eighteen game ban (which he would still be serving now) he received for arguing with coach Raymond Domenech even more stupid.

The last word though, fell to Nicholas. Often described in the English press as Le Sulk due to being a bit miserable, Anelka’s response to the whole affair, which saw the French government hold an enquiry over the whole thing, was simply “These people are clowns. I am dying with laughter”

Vanderlei Luxemburgo. Spokesman for Equality in the Region of Sao Paolo.

South American footballers and coaches are never more than three sentences away from a memorable quote, as the ongoing war of words between Pele and Diego Maradonna has proven over the last few years. But even so, it was still a surprise when news broke that former Real Madrid and Brazil coach was facing a three year suspension from the game for insinuating a referee may be homosexual whilst in charge of Santos.

“I am not gay, and I do not know what the referee is into. But I do not like being mentally undressed every time a whistle is blown” said Luxemburgo. The ban was reduced to sixty days upon appeal. “Maybe he liked my pink shirt” Added Luxemburgo, who clearly doesn’t know when to just let things go.

LIVE! TONIGHT! SOLD OUT! Keegan vs Bremner. All proceeds to charity. 

The traditional curtain raiser in English football is the Charity Shield. An overblown friendly that also raises money for good causes at the same time. In 1974 FA Cup winners Liverpool took on league champions Leeds United in Wembley, in what was to be the last match in which Bill Shankley managed Liverpool before handing over to Bob Paisley. The match finished 1-1 with Liverpool taking the match 6-5 on penalties.

This game is most remembered though, for an outbreak of violence on the hour mark between United’s Bremner and Liverpool’s Keegan, when both were sent off for trading punches on the pitch.

Feeling that they had been treated ‘unfairly’ by the referee, both dropped their shirts to the ground and continued the brawl across Wembley’s dog track and down the tunnel. Both were fined £500 and banned for ten games.

Free The Wednesday Three! 

Sheffield Wednesday “never win at Portman Road” according to Wednesday’s Left Half Tony Kay in 1963. After meeting with a shady character offering Kay, along with other Wednesday players David Layne and Peter Swan, the chance to ‘treble’ their money if The Owls lost at Ipsiwch. Wednesday did duly lose and the Wednesday Three each pocketed a tidy £150. All three were banned for life for corruption and Kay was jailed for four months once the story broke in a Sunday tabloid.

Kay had to flee to Spain once it was discovered he had sold a fake diamond to feed his family. After sneaking into Sheffield to visit some friends, Kay was arrested and spent forty eight hours behind bars and fined £400. The bans on the three were lifted after seven years, but for Kay, a former England international, it was too late.

Brian Mullan Serves MLS’ Longest Ban

In the last few years, Major League Soccer has made huge strides in becoming a viable alternative to its Latin American and European counterparts. Colorado Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan took on his own Latin Temprament in 2011 fixture at Seattle Sounders, breaking the leg of Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani. Zakuani was sidelined for fifteen months as Mullan was given a record breaking ten match ban and a $5,250 fine. When asked about the challenge, Mullan stated: “It’s the type of challenge I have done before, and would happily do again” It was no surprise to discover Mullan has a son called Keagen, which probably says a lot about his aggressive mentality.

Vinnie Jones. Hollywood Hearthrob. 

Few players in the modern game will have a retirement plan in place once their time at the top is curtailed due to either injury or age. Not the forward thinking Vinnie Jones, though. Who had an eye on a post playing career in Hollywood as early as 1992.

With the release of his video Soccer’s Hard Men (cleverly thinking about the American market in the process) Jones was fined £20,000, at the time a British record, and given a suspended six month ban from taking the field.

The video, which was basically a compilation of crunching tackles narrated by Jones which bore his likeness on the cover, was a surprising…uuh, success. Being the second most popular video in London’s Sportspages bookshop in the run up to Christmas 1992. Jones also missed an FA hearing on the matter, Pre-empting Rio by over ten years claiming he forgot when it was, leading Wimbledon Chairman Sam Hamman to declare Jones had ‘The brain of a mosquito’

Jones, however, had the last laugh “The FA have given me pat on the back” he said “I have taken violence off the terraces and back on to the pitch”

Jamie Whitehead is a Producer on the BBC World Service and is co-host of the 3for3 podcast which can be downloaded from Mixcloud and iTunes. He has written for a variety of football publications. Follow him on Twitter @jamiewh_