Wolves Throwback Thursday: Mick McCarthy sees red after harsh dismissal at Arsenal

By Joe Edwards | Wolves | Published:

One of the most peculiar press conferences during Mick McCarthy’s six-year Wolves reign was because of a red card dished out by Stuart Attwell – at Arsenal.

Stuart Attwell sends off Nenad Milijas at the Emirates in December 2011

McCarthy had Serbian midfield schemer Nenad Milijas harshly sent off for a sliding challenge on Mikel Arteta at the Emirates in December 2011.

Despite the dismissal, Wolves hung on in the final 15 minutes to clam a very respectable 1-1 draw – after Steven Fletcher cancelled out Gervinho’s opener for the Gunners.

Most fans would take a point in North London on Sunday but are hoping to avoid a similar refereeing gaffe from Attwell, who will be the man in the middle once again.

His decision to send Milijas for an early shower enraged McCarthy.

After the game, he said: “If he (Attwell) sees it again then it can’t be (a red card).

“Nenad’s got his foot on the ground and makes contact with the ball.

“Somebody said to me ‘he’s got his studs up’. Well, you generally do if you tackle with your foot sliding in.”

Counterpart Arsene Wenger also did not seem mightily happy with Attwell’s performance.


“We know what to expect here, in London,” said Wenger.

“We just have to get on with what we can muster. We cannot, in any way, influence that.”

Unsurprisingly, Wolves lodged an appeal to the FA. However, it was turned down and a three-game ban stood.

And that is when McCarthy really made his feelings known. With press gathered ahead of the next outing, a 1-1 draw at Bolton on New Year’s Eve, a video projector was set up on the media room wall.


Footage of the sending off was played and McCarthy went on to explain, for 35 minutes, why Attwell made the wrong call in awarding Milijas the first red of his career.

“The situation should not have been compounded by a wrong decision to uphold a three-match ban,” said McCarthy.

“I don’t think Attwell can see it.

“I think he guessed at it.

“My question is: Who sits on the panel and who has compounded that decision by agreeing with him?

“The fabric of the British game is based on people tackling.

“It’s a fabulous tackle. If the FA disciplinary panel don’t think so, I can’t do ‘owt about that.

“Then I’ll have to bring in the FA disciplinary panel to teach my players how to tackle, won’t I?

“Well they’re not going to are they? I’m not going to let them anywhere near them.

“This is Milijas. He’s hurt and upset. He’s had six bookings (in his English career). He doesn’t go around tackling. I wish he would.

“What kind of view does the referee have of this tackle? It’s 74 minutes, it’s 1-1 now and the crowd are up and all the rest of it.

“I’ve no complaint about Arteta. He’s just let Milijas slide in. Arsenal’s players actually carry on. Milijas’s foot’s on the floor, he’s not jumped, he has slid in, he’s got his studs up because that’s what you do. If ever there is a picture of someone getting the ball, that’s it.

“My question is: Does anyone think it’s a sending off?”

Whether Nuno Espirito Santo would deliver quite a response is unsure. Fingers crossed he does not have to.

Joe Edwards

By Joe Edwards
Multi-Media Sports Journalist - @JoeEdwards_Star

Sports reporter for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.


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