Harry Arter divided opinion among Cardiff City supporters during his time on loan with the club last season – and he cleaved managerial attitudes after the Bluebirds’ 1-1 draw at home to Fulham on Friday night.
Admittedly, one of those bosses is his brother-in-law, Scott Parker. But there was enough in Parker’s case for the defence – after Arter’s dramatic sending off – to convince the neutral he, at least, had a decent argument.
The fiery Arter was shown a second yellow card for a theatrical dive that appeared to come too late for it to be directly related to the clip of his heels by Cardiff’s Sean Morrison.
The 68th minute dismissal, which came just two minutes after Parker had been booked for a scything foul on Joe Ralls, followed Arter’s yellow card in his previous match against Nottingham Forest.
Last season he began the campaign for Cardiff with three bookings in his first three matches, a consistent return he was unable to maintain for the entire loan spell, although he did finish with an impressive total of 11 yellows.
It was enough for his then manager Neil Warnock to describe Arter as the kind of player, “who could get booked in training”.
But Parker launched a staunch defence of his midfielder and brother of his wife – signed on loan from Bournemouth – as he felt his player had been fouled before his tumble near his own penalty area.
“I think the question that needs to be asked is, ‘did he make contact with him?’ and he did,” said Parker.
“The first infringement is that he fouled him but we’ve not looked at that. We’re going straight to when he has taken two steps and gone down after that. Everyone is of the same view that he got touched. He’s got touched so if we’re going for the first infringement, it’s a foul.”
Warnock insisted the sending off was the right decision, even though he admitted he still holds affection for a player he relied on heavily at times to give his team extra bite in midfield to overcome shortcomings elsewhere.
Warnock said: “It was a red. He probably should have been booked in the first half for throwing ball away.
“You know what you are going to get with Harry. He’s a nightmare for the manager. He just can’t change. You think the message has registered and then he does it all over again.
“But he’s a hell of a lad to have in the dressing room and you’ll not go far wrong with him there.”
The draw- secured by Aleksandar Mitrovic’s fifth goal in as many matches – edges Fulham up to fourth spot in the Championship and takes Cardiff to 10th, but left both managers feeling they should have gained more.
The goals came in rapid succession at the end of the first-half as Cardiff took the lead in the 42nd minute, only to surrender their advantage within two minutes.
Josh Murphy had put the home side ahead when he swept onto a pass threaded from centre-back Aden Flint and fired across goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli and into the far corner.
Fulham quickly carved Cardiff open down the right flank and Morrison was caught on his heels as Mitrovic turned in Ivan Cavaleiro’s cross.
Warnock added: “It was an exciting game, but one minute of madness cost us the game. I couldn’t see them scoring, because I don’t mind them passing it around to themselves outside our penalty area.
“But their goal was poor defending. There was not enough talking, we are a bit immature in some things, naïve compared to them – especially Gavin, who was trying to stumble on and stay on his feet instead of going down.
Parker added: “We created opportunities through our movements and I felt we were in the ascendancy before the sending off. From then we showed real grit and determination, something I’ve questioned these players have had in the past.”