Anyone fancy a good old fashioned maiming?!

Morning all, welcome to a brand new week and we head towards our first Champions League game of the season. More on that anon.

Owen Coyle, Bolton manager, is complaining that small teams don’t get the decisions at places like Arsenal. They’re thinking of appealing Cahill’s red card. Good luck to them, I say. If they can get their player off after jumping in, from behind, with two feet off the ground then there’s hope for the Karl Henrys of this world after all.

Their style of play, which some might categorise as ‘committed’, others as ‘brutal, thuggish and dangerous’, will enable them to clatter players even more ‘committedly’ from behind. There might be money to be made from all the extra oxygen tanks needed at football grounds. A business opportunity in these recessionary times.

Cahill’s was a relatively tame challenge, really, and we’ve seen yellows given in the past for similar. Indeed, as Phil Thompson pointed out on Soccer Saturday on Sky, he didn’t deserve a red card because the tackle ‘was not going to maim him, by any means’. And that’s clearly how the standard should be set. The ref must consider whether or not the tackle is going to maim a player and then decide on the colour of the card.

‘But ref, he was clean through on goal …’

‘Less of your lip son, does that player looked maimed to you?’


‘He’s only slightly mangled. Yellow card’.


‘And here’s your second yellow for dissent. Off you go’.

Speaking of maiming and all that fun stuff, what about a replay of the Robinson challenge on Diaby? Video below from Gooner Jim.


This is where I think football should take a cue from rugby and allow clubs to cite incidents post game. Arsenal should be able to say to the citing committee, please look at this, it was a dangerous challenge and the player should be punished. At the moment there are as yet unconfirmed rumours that Diaby is injured quite badly, we have to wait and see though.

If he is crocked it’s as a direct result of that tackle by Robinson and it’s the kind of tackle they have to get rid of from football. It’s the kind of tackle that broke Eduardo’s leg, it’s the kind of tackle that broke Diaby’s ankle, it’s the kind of tackle that has broken players legs throughout football. You just need Google and a strong stomach to find plenty of videos to back that up.

Yet football has done nothing to try and stamp it out. The Robinson tackle was ignored by Match of the Day this weekend. This is the same Match of the Day who sat there chuckling at Joey Barton being booted around the pitch by Wolves a couple of weeks ago. One of those Wolves players was involved in a tackle which broke Bobby Zamora’s leg this weekend. Hilarious, isn’t it?

Now, I’m not suggesting that Arsenal are whiter than white. We’ve had our moments down the years and will do again, I’m sure. Yet when those who report on the game and have a responsiblity to it completely ignore dangerous incidents like Robinson on Diaby it does the game a disservice. No player, Bolton, Arsenal or otherwise, should get away with that kind of challenge due to the ineptitude of the officials. We have video evidence, we should be able to use it.

If Robinson had punched Diaby, unseen by the ref, it would be possible for the referee to view that again and a retrospective punishment could be dished out. Why on earth is it not used for more important things like this?

Maybe nobody else thinks it’s really that important. As an Arsenal fan who has watched football for more years that I can count, and who has witnessed three of the most horrendous injuries I’ve ever seen in recent seasons, I’m just a bit tired of folk glossing over dangerous play, justifying it, excusing it. I accept football is a physical game, I love that side of it as much as the silky skills and the great goals, but I simply don’t understand why dangerous tackles and serious injury are brushed off as part and parcel of the game as if there’s nothing we can do about it.

Until things change more players will get injured. And we’ve seen how damaging those injuries can be. Eduardo’s Arsenal career never recovered, Diaby’s career has been a constant battle against niggling injury, we can only hope Ramsey is young enough not to suffer the same way.

The sad truth is that until it happens to a media favourite, and probably an English international, there will never be the required focus on this issue. And the sad part is there’s a lot the media could do because so many people take their cue from them. They decide who’s a good player because of what pundits say, they decide who’s terrible because of what pundits say, they decide what’s fair and unfair because of what pundits say. The problem, of course, is that 95% of all pundits are hackneyed ex-pros who haven’t got a fucking clue.

It’s just easy to trot out well worn phrases like ‘full blooded’ and ‘Not that kind of player’ than acknowledge there’s a problem. Diaby was lucky his leg wasn’t snapped like Eduardo’s on Saturday and on TV they criticised him for getting up and having a go at Robinson. That’s the mindset.

Anyway, I think we know not much will change and we’ll just have to get on with things. Whether that includes Diaby for the next little while we’ll have to wait and see. The whispers aren’t positive but I’m hoping that for once we get a little bit of a break (poor choice of words, I know) when it comes to one of our players being injured.

And at the very least I hope referees who aren’t that hapless little ponce from Saturday will look at Paul Robinson and remember the Diaby incident next time he doesn’t maim a player by any means.

I did say there’d be more on the Champions League but I seem to have gone on long enough this morning. Plus there’s not much news out there beyond the manager saying we’ll have a big advantage when UEFA’s new rules regarding club finances come into play in 2012. I’m sure by then the clubs whose wealth comes from their sugar daddy owners will have figured out some way around the new regulations.

There should be more tomorrow as Braga, the fourth team we’re playing in a row whose name begins with B, hit town. And then after that we’ve got an away trip to Bsunderland to look forward to.

A busy week indeed.


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