Martin O’Neill says it may take a prison sentence to cure Jack Colback
Interesting to see what happens with Jack Colback this summer.
He will still have a season left of his six year Newcastle United contract and he has already accepted there is no way back whilst Rafa Benitez is still there.
A contender for Nottingham Forest’s player of the season, Colback is a major reason why Forest are still in with a chance of the play-offs, currently three points adrift.
However, Martin O’Neill has admitted that he has to sort out Forest’s disciplinary problems, with he and the club’s Chairman having been summoned to the FA to explain why so many cards.
Nottingham Forest have already picked up 94 yellows and five reds, the next worst offenders in the second tier are Wigan with 82 bookings and three sending offs.
Picking out worst offender Jack Colback, O’Neill says: ‘If a player has 14 bookings during the course of the season, he has to have a little bit of a look to see what is happening.’
Colback has already picked up suspensions for getting to five and ten yellow cards within a certain timeframe, with another three game suspension to come if he now gets one more yellow.
Newcastle fans might be surprised that before signing for NUFC, Jack Colback had never had more than six league bookings in a season. In the four years before joining Newcastle, picking up 14 bookings in the league for Sunderland in 93 starts (and 21 sub appearances).
At Newcastle, it became 33 bookings in 87 league starts (six sub appearances), picking up 12, 11 and 10 in his three full league seasons.
Martin O’Neill has been talking about potential punishments as a deterrent for Jack Colback and others, joking it might take a prison sentence.
Martin O’Neill talking to Nottinghamshire Live:
“There are a couple of elements to it (so many cards this season). Yes, you want somebody to be combative. Of course you do, because the game is made up of that,” said O’Neill.
“But also you have to say that you don’t want to be picking up bookings recklessly. That is a problem you have to resolve.
“If a player has 14 bookings during the course of the season, he has to have a little bit of a look to see what is happening.
After five bookings in a certain period of time, you miss a game. After 10 booking, you miss two. After 15 bookings, you miss three games. So that is six games gone, out of a season, for what may be some reckless bookings, among there.
“That does not auger too well.
“I think we will have to look at it, moving forward. I know that, in this day and age, you can pick up a booking for almost anything, but overall, it is something we have to look at.
“The chairman and I were summoned to a meeting to talk about it, a couple of weeks ago.
“I have to take responsibility for anything that has happened in my time here and that is something we will do.
“You can pick up bookings unfairly, of course. But if you are picking up cards for dissent, that is not great; if you are picking up cards that you can genuinely avoid, that is something else as well.
“I do plan to make the fine system more rigid. It will be very penal as well… as in there might be prison sentences.
“Perhaps the PFA might have something to say about that.
“Perhaps the players would too, but it is a situation we need to look at.”
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