The Most Violent And Intimidating Players In Premier League History

Whenever they won the ball, they made sure they also took a little of the man.

The allure of the Premier League is in its blood and thunder approach. The incredible noise from the stands is replicated with a frantic energy on the pitch, where some of the players with the most red cards in Premier League history are also some of the most celebrated for their brave defending, box-to-box midfield play or aggressive attacking.

There’s a three-way tie at the top on eight red cars, but Duncan Ferguson, who played 11 seasons with Everton as a striker, only needed 269 EPL appearances to reach that mark. He also reached 40 yellow cards over that period, which is pretty impressive. 

Another standout is defensive midfielder Vinnie Jones, who’d go on to star in films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Gone in 60 Seconds and X-Men: The Last Stand. During his EPL career, Jones was handed seven red cards and 36 yellows in just 184 appearances. 

The active player with the most red cards in Premier League history is 34-year-old West Ham captain Mark Noble, who’s been given five over the course of 404 appearances. 

The Players With The Most Red Cards In Premier League History  

#1. Duncan Ferguson | 8 Red Cards

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Position: Striker 

Clubs: Everton, Newcastle United

Ferguson reached eight reds with only 269 appearances, giving him a legitimate claim to the crown. Nicknamed “Duncan Disorderly,” the 6’4’’ striker hit 68 goals and contributed 24 assists during a playing career that was largely spent with Everton, where he’s now the assistant manager.

#1. Patrick Vieira | 8 Red Cards

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Position: Central Midfielder 

Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester City 

Vieira made 307 EPL appearances (279 with Arsenal) and famously led the Gunners to three Premier League titles and four FA Cup triumphs. He also earned 107 caps with France, winning the ’98 World Cup and Euro 2000.

#1. Richard Dunne | 8 Red Cards 

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Position: Center Back 

Clubs: Everton, Manchester City, Aston Villa, QPR

Over the course of his 19-year career, Dunne made 431 Premier League appearances, including 253 for Manchester City between 2000 and 2010. The Dublin native also appeared 80 times for Ireland and was inspirational in his nation’s qualification for Euro 2012.

#4. Vinnie Jones | 7 Red Cards

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Position: Defensive Midfielder 

Clubs: Chelsea, Wimbledon 

The hard-man midfielder turned hard-man actor spent about half his career in the Championship and half in the EPL, so his appearance this high on the list really speaks to the role he played on Wimbledon’s “Crazy Gang”. Jones made 184 EPL appearances, so his seven red cards truly stand out.

#4. Lee Cattermole | 7 Red Cards

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Position: Defensive Midfielder

Clubs: Middlesbrough, Wigan Athletic, Sunderland

Cattermole made 271 EPL appearances with the majority of them being with Sunderland. He stayed with the club on its descent to the third tier, where — after scoring just six goals throughout his EPL career — he scored seven goals in 29 games.

#4. Alan Smith | 7 Red Cards

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Position: Attacking Midfielder 

Clubs: Leeds United, Manchester United, Newcastle United

Smith began his career as a winger/second striker at Leeds United, reaching 11 goals in 33 games during the 2000-01 season. However, after suffering a brutal injury with Manchester United, Smith dropped back into midfield. He made 285 EPL appearances, scoring 45 goals.

#4. Roy Keane | 7 Red Cards

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Position: Central Midfielder

Clubs: Nottingham Forest, Manchester United

A legend for his 13 years of service at Manchester United, where he won seven EPL titles, four FA Cups and the 1999 Champions League, Keane was the enforcer of Alex Ferguson’s most celebrated sides. However, there was certainly huge levels of control and technique in his game, reflected in the fact that he made 366 EPL appearances, scored 39 goals and added 33 assists.

#8. John Hartson | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Forward

Clubs: Arsenal, West Ham, Wimbledon, Coventry City

Hartson has some of the most eye-catching numbers on this list. It took the forward only 154 EPL appearances to reach six reds, and he also collected 34 yellows over that time.

#8. Younes Kaboul | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Center Back

Clubs: Tottenham, Portsmouth, Sunderland, Watford 

A physically commanding center back that loved a battle, Kaboul needed only 197 EPL appearances to reach six reds and 21 yellows.

#8. Franck Queudrue | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Left Back

Clubs: Middlesbrough, Fulham, Birmingham City

Queudrue made 201 EPL appearances and also accumulated 39 yellow cards.

#8. Nemanja Vidic | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Center Back

Clubs: Manchester United

Vidic made 211 EPL appearances for the Red Devils, helping his side keep a clean sheet in 95 of them.

#8. Joey Barton | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Central Midfielder

Clubs: Manchester City, Newcastle United, QPR, Burnley 

Barton made 269 EPL appearances, scoring 26 goals and providing 34 assists. 

#8. Luís Boa Morte | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Central Midfielder 

Clubs: Arsenal, Southampton, Fulham, West Ham

Boa Morte made 296 EPL appearances, scoring 29 goals and adding 35 assists.

#8. Martin Keown | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Center Back

Clubs: Everton, Arsenal 

A three-time EPL winner with Arsenal, Keown made 323 appearances in the division. 

#8. Paul Konchesky | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Left Back

Clubs: Charlton, Tottenham, West Ham, Fulham, Leicester City

The defender made 347 EPL appearances over the course of a 21-year playing career, providing 22 assists from left back.

#8. Nicky Butt | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Central Midfielder 

Clubs: Manchester United, Newcastle United, Birmingham City

Butt made 411 EPL appearances, scoring 29 goals. 

#8. Andrew Cole | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Striker

Clubs: Newcastle United, Manchester United, Blackburn, Fulham, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Sunderland 

Cole made 414 appearances, scoring 187 goals and providing 73 assists. 

#8. John Terry | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Center Back

Clubs: Chelsea

The captain, leader, legend made 492 EPL appearances, scoring 41 goals and also picking up 69 yellow cards.

#8. Steven Gerrard | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Central Midfield

Clubs: Liverpool

The prolific midfielder made 504 EPL appearances for the Reds, scoring 120 goals and adding 92 assists. 

#8. Gareth Barry | 6 Red Cards

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Position: Central Midfielder 

Clubs: Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton, West Brom

With more EPL appearances than anyone else in history (653), it’s not that surprising to see the defensive midfielder on the list. 

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