`April 15 2018: noises off

Six blokes wearing balaclavas and carrying baseball bats stormed into a Newcastle pub last week, bringing to a sudden halt a talk-in by former Magpies man Keith Gillespie.

After about 90 seconds they stormed out again, apparently convinced that they’d got the wrong gig, or the wrong guy, or both. It never used to happen at the Northern League dinner.

The story was in yesterday’s Daily Mail. Back on his feet, the Irishman no doubt recalled the occasion in 2007 when, summoned as a substitute for Sheffield United against Reading, he elbowed an opponent in a row over a throw-in and was sent off before ever getting on.

At least there weren’t any baseball bats.

So Gillespie becomes a candidate for the quickest red card, dismissively aired in recent blogs, and with thanks to former Jarrow Roofing media team man Michael Hudson – now in the Ukraine – for the steer.

Then there was Walter Boyd, a Jamaican who played for Swansea City, who against Darlington in 1999 came on as a sub, loafed Martin Gray – Martin denied that he’d been trying to strangle the guy – and was sent off before play resumed.

The FA insisted, however, that the clock had still been running and that Boyd had been on the field for 57 seconds – so no hanging about, and no record, either.

In the pro game it may be held by long serving Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Kevin pressman – are you reading, Mr White? – sent off after 13 seconds against Wolves for handling outside the area. It was the first game of the season.

The overall record, however, may be claimed by Lee Todd, playing Sunday football for Cross Farm Celtic against Taunton East Reach Wanderers in October 2000, and doubtless after a canny few the night before.

Perhaps blessed with an Acme Thunderer, the ref blew to start the match. “F*** me, that was loud” said the unfortunate Todd, at which point the ref blew again and sent him off for insulting, abusive or offensive language. Sunday best, it was timed at two seconds.