Alan Shearer was sent off for the first time in his career in Newcastle’s ill-tempered home defeat to Aston Villa in their opening game of the season on this day in 1999.
Shearer was controversially dismissed by referee Uriah Rennie midway through the second half in his 100th appearance for this hometown club and Villa forward Julian Joachim headed the game’s only goal four minutes later.
Shearer was shown his second yellow card in the 71st minute for an innocuous challenge on Villa defender Colin Calderwood and Rennie’s decision incensed the partisan St James’ Park faithful.
But it had been coming. Shearer was booked in the first half after his elbow had caught Calderwood in the face and escaped punishment for a similar infringement on Gareth Southgate moments before he was ordered off.
Rennie had been strict throughout, allowing little leeway in a game littered with strong tackling and seven players were booked in total.
Former referee Jeff Winter, fourth official that day, later revealed that he and the match officials were ushered out of the back door at St James’ Park to avoid the crowd that had gathered to vent their frustration.
Shearer, the Premier League’s all-time leading scorer with 260 goals in 441 appearances for Blackburn and Newcastle, was sent off for a second time two years later.
But the red card he received at Charlton for allegedly elbowing defender Jon Fortune was rescinded three days later on appeal after television replays showed that any contact had been accidental.