Good day everyone.
A few things to touch on today – Not least all the hoo-haa surrounding that tackle by Wigan’s Callum MacManaman on Massadio Haidara (I challenge you to pronounce that one properly during the pub quiz!). Several words come to mind when describing the manner in which the tackle was made, but for me the most apt would be – savage. It could have resulted in the complete and utter destruction of Haidara’s career and livelihood – we have seen it happen before, and so long as the rules remain as they are then we are bound to see it happen again and again. For those of you who remain unsure about the merits of any law change (you are probably in the minority here) just consider for a second how it would feel if the same tackle had been made on Wilshere or Cazorla (we tend also to forget that not so long ago poor Ramsey went through a similar ordeal, the outcome of which was arguably far worse).
Yes, I appreciate that football is a contact sport. The sight of a solid tackle can be satisfying to the eye and is an integral part of the game. However I am quite surprised by some of the ideas being floated around about how best to deter such aggression in future. Public humiliation of the player in question is not the way forward – the effects only last so long, and furthermore incite friction amongst rival fans. We have enough of this in football as it is. Another idea supports the use of “Timeouts” during a game, much in the style of the NFL. I don’t believe this to be a realistic option – it would reduce the game to a snail’s pace as well as opening the door for gamesmanship and manipulation (furthermore, where do we draw the line as to what incident during a game should be flagged for review? Fouls, offsides, penalty decisions…where does it stop?).
No, neither of the above does much in my opinion to instil confidence. The FA needs to grow up and accept that the current rules are outdated and insufficient in ensuring player safety and responsibility. The solution is simple…. retrospective reviewing of incidents is the way forward, but I’d like to see it carried out in a similar fashion as rugby – if the referee has a suspicion that there may have been a case of foul play during the game, he places a player “on report”– i.e. the player continues to feature in the game but faces the prospect of punishment afterwards should an independent panel conclude that foul play has been committed. We have the technology to do this now – it isn’t rocket science – so just get on with it! The FA claims that a structure of retrospective action could undermine referees, but hogwash would it! If anything it would make players more fearful…
Ferdinand has been in the papers (again) – the guy really bores me. The decision not to play for England in the Qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro is not a surprise either– it is simply a reflection of the man’s character – an over-sensitive, self-obsessive who is far more complex to manage than media would have you believe (to get a flavour of what I am talking about just look up all the trash he posts on twitter). His rejection of a place in the England squad has been widely painted along the lines of club vs. country, centred on health issues (his on-going back problem) and most pointedly towards Hodgon’s shortcomings in communicating with the club before making the call. For me though, this just smacks of a sub-standard and thin veneer to the actual truth. Listening to Frank Lampard being interviewed, it is clear that Hodgson is not a “bad communicator” – quite the opposite. He is a player’s manager and a “breath of fresh air”. Ferdinand has been praying for this moment to come – an opportunity to reject the England manager’s call to arms. And what easier time to do it than against San Marino and Montenegro – dead rubber games regardless of who we put out on the pitch. Finally for those of you that say Ferdinand is not the type of man to hold grudges, just look at how long the Suarez saga ran on for….the man just couldn’t drop it. Move on mate!
I hear reports that Jack may be back in time for the Reading game. I don’t see the need in rushing for this one. Our form is decent enough without him over the past two matches, and I think Rosicky is a player that has deserved a run of games for a while. He needs game time, and when on song gives opposition teams a different sort of headache – death by range of passing and vision. At 32 years of age you need games on a consistent basis to remain fit and prepared, so let’s use him more!
Over and out for now.
Joshua @ RL