Ten Years Ago Today, Chris Kamara Missed THAT Red Card At Fratton Park
"I DON'T KNOW JEFF!" Chris Kamara spent time in the Royal Navy as a 16-year-old, played for a total of 10 clubs and went to manage two of those teams but his legacy will always be the time he hilariously missed a red card at Fratton Park.
'Kammy', who has only ever been in the Soccer Saturday studio on two occasions since 2002, normally has little dialogue with the producers during his live reporting unless something goes wrong.
And of course on 3 April 2010 that is exactly what happened. When Jeff Stelling went to Kamara for his update on Portsmouth vs Blackburn, he completely missed Anthony Vanden Borre's second yellow and subsequent dismissal on the hour mark.
The priceless moment has been viewed millions of times on YouTube and although Kammy is happy for it to be the one thing fans remember him for, he told SPORTbible that there is a whole lot more to the story.
"In my career, in terms of my TV career and Soccer Saturday, that is the defining moment because it could have so easily went the other way," he said.
"But it went the right way and thankfully it did because it's been watched over 10 million times on YouTube and to this day, people still never get tired of seeing it.
"I got to Fratton Park at quarter to 12 that day and the cameraman who was doing Soccer Saturday came to me and said, 'We've just been told by the safety steward that we're not allowed in the gantry'.
"I went round to see the safety guy and the gantry at Portsmouth - because there's a gap which is probably only about three-foot wide but you have to step over it - and if you're carrying equipment and you slip you might fall through the hole.
"The health and safety people got hold of this and said, 'The only people allowed in the gantry today is the commentator and the co-commentator, you're going to have to do your updates from the corner of the Fratton End'.
"I know the Fratton End well because obviously I played there on two occasions so it wasn't a problem - there are a few grounds where you might get some fun and banter when we're off camera but Portsmouth wasn't going to be one of them because I still get on really well with their supporters - I knew they would be in full acceptance of me being in there.
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"So we went down there and health and safety showed us where we had to go with the camera and it was by the corner flag. I still had a reasonable view of the game and then about 14:15 it started to rain.
"Another health and safety officer came and said, 'Because you've got a monitor, if anyone from the Fratton End or the other side down the touchline decides to leave the ground and they come over and touch your equipment, they might get electrocuted'.
"Cameraman says it's totally impossible but this health and safety officer wouldn't have it so we had to move another five to six yards back under the roof so we weren't actually in the rain. It was OK but all it did was narrow my view of the game.
"While the game was going on and I wasn't getting my link from Carly [production co-ordinator and daughter of Dave Bassett] I could stand by the corner flag and watch the game. As soon as I was doing the link I had to walk 10 yards back to where the corner was.
"Carly says, 'Jeff's about to come to you, there's a couple before you and then it's you.' I go back to the camera position and I'm watching this monitor - most of them are six inches by four inches - so they're not like a proper television screen and you're not getting a great view but you can still see the game and make out what's happening.
"Just as I'm next there's a big shout in the studio by Charlie Nicholas and it's 'GOAAAAAL!' so we won't be going to Fratton Park, we'll be going where there's been a goal. Charlie does his report and in the meantime I'm looking over my shoulder at the game, with a restricted view it's better than the view on the monitor and Carly says 'You're next, don't worry!' Jeff does another, 'There's been a goal!' at Cheltenham or somewhere like that and then just as he's about to come to me, Tommo shouts, 'GOAAAAL!'
"I've looked over my shoulder and Carly's said, 'Definitely you are next.' In the meantime, Jeff has obviously got the teleprinter in front of him and says, 'Let's go down to Chris Kamara at Fratton Park, where there's been a sending off but for who?'
"And that's when it dawned on me that I haven't seen a sending off at all, so the famous line was, 'Sending off? I must have missed that, Jeff.' And he goes, 'Kammy are you not watching? I am, now come and tell us what's happened.' And I just went, 'I don't know Jeff!'
"The lads are obviously laughing in the studio and he [Jeff] goes, 'Kammy, according to our sources Anthony Vanden Borre's been sent off for a second bookable offence, get your fingers out and count the number of players on the pitch!'
"Just then it dawned on me that I'd seen Anthony Vanden Borre walking across to the pitch where Avram Grant [Portsmouth manager] was but what happened was he deliberately handled the ball but didn't wait for the second yellow card - as soon as he did the handball he just walked towards the touchline. I wasn't the only one in the ground that didn't know he'd been sent off.
"Immediately the director, a woman called Karen Wilmington, came on the line and went, 'Watch the game will you, that's what you're being paid for!' I went, 'Sorry Karen but I didn't see him get sent off.' That was it, I worried about it even though the lads were having a giggle in the studio and on the way home I phoned the producer, Ian Condron, to apologise and he went, 'You can just about get away with it' because it's you.'
"The next morning - this is before I was doing Goals on Sunday - I got a phone call asking could I get to Yorkshire television in Leeds because Fox Sports in America had seen what was going on and there were a few radio stations around the world so it turned into a massive plus."
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