Crossword Genius

The man in the middle shows them to dirty footballers, but not the clubs in a colourful sense (3,5)

Ross

I believe the answer is:

red cards

I'm a little stuck...
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Here is my best explanation:

'middle shows them to dirty footballers but not the clubs in a colourful sense' is the definition.
I know nothing about this answer so I cannot judge whether this works.

'the man in the' is the wordplay.
'the man' becomes 'red'.
'in the' becomes 'cards' (I am not sure about this - if you are sure you should give a lot more credence to this answer).
'red'+'cards'='RED CARDS'

Ross

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This clue was last seen in The Irish Times

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