Paging Gabby Agbonlahor: Get Out Your Wallet

"These guys really are a bit thick, aren't they?"

There's not a lot of Aston Villa news going on today -- so the papers are talking about how Alex McLeish has instituted a new system at the club, in which players will be fined for "needless" yellow cards. The boys in claret and blue managed to pick up six cautions against QPR at the weekend, leading to a £25,000 fine from the FA. Considering the Villa are feeling a bit reluctant to open up their pocketbook these days, the club certainly doesn't want to go around handing out cash because players are being dumb. Ergo, financial punishments for players refusing to use their brains!

It sounds as though Non-Sir will be the sole arbitrator of which players will be fined and which won't. No one gets punished for an accidental mistimed challenge or seemingly necessary foul -- although, really, Stiliyan Petrov could stand to receive a few fines for being absolutely brainless when it comes to the way he tackles. Cappy is already on three yellows for the season, demonstrating that he really has no clue how to stop the other team from going forward.

Really, though, this rule seems perfectly designed to target Gabby Agbonlahor, who also already has three yellows in six games -- but in Gabby's case, two of them had nothing to do with physical challenges. He earned one for mouthing off to the referee, and earned another for taking off his shirt in celebration of scoring. Personally, I think shirt-removal is the stupidest yellow card on the books, but the FA doesn't consult me when it comes to these sorts of decisions, sadly enough.

And so the rule continues to exist, and as long as it does, it makes sense for clubs to be able to punish players who temporarily lose their minds. Neil Warnock, for instance, called Armand Traore "a bit thick" after he got sent late in the game for a stupid challenge against Marc Albrighton, and said he'd be imposing a hefty fine on the QPR defender.  And if a player earns suspension after five yellows, and four of those were for nonsense celebrations/mouthiness/simulation, then the team is weakened for the next match. With Gabby on incredible form this season, having him miss the match against, say, Tottenham Hotspur, would leave the squad with an even lesser chance than usual at getting all three points.

What say you? Do players deserve punishment for certain yellow cards? Or will this just lead to an even more cautious approach to football?

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