Ex-Middlesbrough and Portsmouth star admits to purposely getting booked to watch golf

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An ex-Middlesbrough and Portsmouth star has admitted to purposely getting booked so he could watch the Masters golf tournament during the subsequent suspension.

Gary Megson’s Bolton Wanderers thrashed Gareth Southgate’s Middlesbrough towards the end of the 2008/09, leaving the North East club deep in the relegation mire.

The Whites took the lead through Kevin Davies' early opener before Gary O'Neil to equalised. Boro went on to lose 4-1, with O'Neil booked for a foul on Ricardo Gardner.

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And the 36-year-old admitted to getting booked on purpose, triggering a two-game suspension.

Gary O'Neil looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Middlesbrough at The Reebok Stadium on April 4, 2009 in Bolton, England.Gary O'Neil looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Middlesbrough at The Reebok Stadium on April 4, 2009 in Bolton, England.
Gary O'Neil looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Middlesbrough at The Reebok Stadium on April 4, 2009 in Bolton, England. | Getty Images

“I’ve taken one booking myself, on purpose,” O’Neill explained. “Not over Christmas. I wanted to watch The Masters, The US Masters, it was in April.

“I was in nine yellows, and I was definitely getting ten anyway.

“We were playing Bolton away or someone. I thought, ‘If I just get a yellow here, I can sit at home next weekend with my mates, and watch The Masters.’”