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LEE GETS FASTEST RED CARD IN WORLD; Striker sent off after 2 seconds.

STRIKER Lee Todd has become the fastest player to be sent off in football history - after just two seconds.

Referee Peter Kearle gave a shrill blast on his whistle to start the game as the bricklayer stood beside him.

Lee, 22, doubled up with his fingers in his ears and muttered: "F*** me - that was loud."

But the referee instantly pulled out a red card and gave the six-footer his marching orders.

Now Cross Farm Park Celtic's star Sunday League goalscorer has been landed with a pounds 27 fine and 35-day ban for using "foul and abusive language".

Lee said yesterday: "Anyone else would have done the same. He nearly blew my ear off.

"I was gobsmacked. I wasn't swearing at the ref or anyone else.

"I'm surpised he even heard me. I was just muttering to myself.

"Football is a man's game and players swear all the time. I was off the pitch before the match even began.

"I was so shocked I just left the pitch. The rest of the players stood in silence. I mean it was just unbelievable."

It was the first time the player, from Minehead, Somerset, had ever been sent off. The stunned striker has vowed he will not pay the fine and is planning an appeal to the Football Association.

He was standing on the edge of the centre circle when the referee ran up behind him and blew the whistle to kick off a third division game away to Taunton East Reach Rovers.

After the red carding, Lee's teammates confronted the referee but he refused to explain the decision.

Lee has received backing from his manager Mark Heard, 33, who said: "Of course, players should be sent off for swearing directly at the referee or another player.

"But referees are supposed to use a bit of common sense. Lee was obviously swearing to himself."

Hapless Lee had scored seven goals in the two previous games.

But this week he has visited the doctor with a hearing problem. He believes it may have been caused by the referee's whistle blast.

Even without their star striker, Lee's team still won 11-2.

An FA spokesman said: "As far as we know this is the fastest red card ever."

A spokesman for the Guinness World Book of Records said: "This is incredible. It is certainly the fastest ever sending off after the whistle that we have heard of."

Referee Mr Kearle said yesterday: "It is in the hands of the FA."
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Author:Savage, Richard
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 14, 2000
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