Former All White Billy Harris writes a weekly column in the Sunday Star-Times' sport section. He writes today about Muscat's penchant for violent conduct, opining thus:
That description appears the more appropriate. In 1998, Muscat ended the professional career of Matty Holmes, who Kiwi fans will remember played for Miramar Rangers in the 1980s, with a tackle which left Holmes requiring four operations on his ankle. Muscat was forced to pay nearly $2 million.
Accidents happen, especially when Kevin Muscat's around. The same year he scuppered Holmes' career, he broke the leg of Welsh star Craig Bellamy. Three years later he seriously injured French international Christophe Dugarry in a "friendly", with a tackle from behind that the French coach called "an act of brutality".
Aston Villa and England wing Ashley Young recalls the time he made his professional debut for Watford. Before the game, Muscat told the nervous youngster he'd break his leg. Given Muscat's track record, there was every chance it was no idle threat, but fortunately for Young, by the time he took the field as substitute, Muscat had already been sent off.
In 1999, England striker Ian Wright called Muscat a "low-life". The following year, Birmingham's Martin Grainger called him "the most hated man in football". Certainly he's one of the most ill-disciplined. Muscat amassed more than 80 cards during his time in England – six of them red – and then, just to show that not everyone mellows with age or learns from their mistakes, he's collected another five reds and 40 yellows while playing in the A-League.
His most recent transgression will hopefully be his last. A week ago, while playing Melbourne Heart, Muscat nearly snapped Adrian Zahra in two with a tackle as violent as any seen on a football pitch. Muscat was later to describe the tackle as "badly timed", but in reality it was perfectly timed to achieve the goal of taking Zahra out.
Had Muscat even a shred of decency, he's have been instantly remorseful for having badly injured an opponent. But no. He tried to claim to have played the ball, which, as intended, he'd missed by a mile. Then, on being shown the red card, rather than hang his head in shame, he let fly with a string of verbals at the referee, raging to the last.
Billy Harris is spot on. Football will be a much more Beautiful Game in Muscat's absence, and a safer place for his opponents. And in case you missed it, here's what all the fuss was about ...
On yer bike Kev!