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Someone Needs To Do Something. Fast!

In recent weeks there has been some appalling 'challenges` in English football and if the FA don`t do something about it soon somebodies career is going to be cut short. I`m not just talking about Arsenal players either, this is not simply the whining of an Arsenal fan who feels his team get more than their fair share of the 'physical`, 'committed`, 'English grit` side of the game from the lesser skilled teams and players of the premier league but it is out of genuine concern for all players in the country, even John Terry - yes, I actually said that and as I typed it I threw up a little bit.

In our game against Blackburn, Morten Gamst Pedersen, a skilful footballer who has been schooled in the dark arts of football by his thug of a manager (whose team most definitely don`t play Barcelona football - maybe Marquez or Puyol football) stamped on the back of Cesc`s head and went unpunished, which is bad enough on its own but when one notes that this has actually happened twice this season, also against Derby by one of their nobody midfielders it is frightening that nothing has been done to curb such behaviour.

Noble`s tackle against Hleb during Saturday`s game was yet another example of horribly mis-placed enthusiasm and horribly mis-guided analysis from commentators who seem to find nothing wrong with such challenges. This challenge reminded me very much of a certain Dan Smith`s aimless lunge at a 20 year old Abou Diaby 18 months ago and Paulo Fereira`s on Denilson at the back end of last season, all three challenges could quite easily have ended the players careers. That is not to say that we have not given back what we get this season, in this weekend`s game alone RVP and Flamini both could have been accused of the same 'over commitment` albeit to a less dangerous degree, but in our case in particular this type of tackling has actually been condoned and applauded as the answer to the problem, which although as an Arsenal fan I don`t mind seeing as it keeps us competitive and counteracts the oppositions plain obvious rough tactics, should not be the case if we care about footballers well being.

This is becoming a serious problem in English football. I read an article the other day that highlighted the fact that the rule about tackling is, as stated in the rule books, 'no studs up tackles` or 'scissor tackles` but that commentators constantly highlighting the idea that it is no two footed tackles influences the referee`s to the extent that this has actually become the law. When you have people like Alan Hansen influencing refereeing decisions with his constant shite from the commentary box, English football is in serious trouble.

Another serious issue is the fact that big forwards and defenders, most notably Clint Dempsey of Fulham, constantly get away with elbowing the opposition in the head as he did this weekend breaking Terry`s jaw. It is hard to feel sympathy for Terry of all footballers but in this situation when a player is supposed to be protected but never seems to be I do feel slightly sorry for him, even being the utter c*** that he is.

Chelsea were also on the wrong end of the referees decisions at Old Trafford last weekend where Obi Mikel was sent off for what could have been a worse tackle than it was had the young Nigerian not had the good sense to ground his feet and take most of the force out of his challenge before making contact with Paul Scholes. This was on its way to being a red card able offence but instead of being rewarded with just a yellow for avoiding contact that could have broken Scholes`s leg he was sent off for ever having raised his studs. In the same game Wayne Rooney was let off the hook for elbowing a Chelsea player in the face, clearly.

Another issue the FA and referee`s have to deal with, which is also an issue that has its origins in television coverage rather than common sense is that of the equal punishment of kicking a ball away, dissent, time wasting or goal celebrations to simulation and horrible tackling. This is not to say that I don`t see the problem with the time wasting that has become almost epidemic in world football and the over-aggressive dissent we see so frequently from Chelsea and Wayne Rooney in particular but to honestly try and compare these problems to blatant diving and tackles with the intention of hurting a player is just plain stupidity. The most idiotic rule of all must be that of the punishment of a player removing ones shirt being punishable by yellow card. This idiotic rule started after the 2003 Women`s World Cup when Germany`s star striker scored the winning goal against the USA in the final and removed her shirt, clearly to the absoloute horror of Sepp Blatter and the rest of the muppets at FIFA. Whether or not you see women removing their shirts during a game of sports as acceptable - especially when the outfits of cheerleaders are much skimpier than the sports bras female athletes wear - is beside the point as the only reason men are not allowed to remove their shirts after scoring any more is that it would be sexist to let men do it and not women, that is taking ridiculous political correctness into a place it just does not belong.

Perhaps the biggest hypocrisy of the whole issue is how often we have to listen to the glorification of useless thugs like Robbie Savage after they commit serious assault on a foreigner but are subjected to endless vilification of any foreigner with the nerve to tackle Gerrard, Rooney, Lampard, etc. in any month before an international break.

The rules need to be addressed. The attitudes need to change. The FA and referee`s association need to get their act together and 'pundits` and journalists need to take responsibility for their idiotic and potentially inflammatory comments about the physical aspect of the English game. Something needs to be done. Fast, before someone is seriously injured and careers are ended. Rant over.

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The Journalist

Writer: Vital Arsenal member Ozi Gooner Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday October 1 2007

Time: 1:16PM

Your Comments

Agree with a lot of what is said but find it interesting that only 'hard done by' examples of Arsenal can be found. Mark Hughes is not a thug of manager, nor does any manager train or coach this for their players to do. Throughout the history of football there has been a series of 'hardmen' who have fulfilled the role of shutting down the opposition including the likes of Dave Mackay and Claudio Gentile. Football without tackling is like Rugby with the scrum. Having said that booking players for taking their shirts off is silly, and booking players for dissent shouldn't result in a yellow, but a 10yds penalty. A player who commits a tackle like Noble did should get a yellow and a 10mins sin bin, which would then leave the straight red for the studs up, and feet leaving the ground challenge as well as players leaving with the elbow. However, yellows should also be dished out, even retrospectively for players who fain injury or make the most of any marginal contact, because with every rule change, there are players who will cheat to maximise any situation.
did you actually read that? I said we had been as bad as other teams this year. I even ssaid it is pathetic how pundits applaud us for responding like for like. I mentioned examples of Terry and Mikel being hard done by, and also said Flamini and RVp have done some horrible tackles as was Sagna's against Huddlestone. Thats not bias at all im just putting it from an Arsenal fans perspective.
Ozi Gooner
Gromit, you may find this hard to believe, but being on an Arsenal site, being read predominately by Arsenal fans, I would expect that examples of thuggery against Arsenal players would probably interest us more than other situations. Perhaps try visiting a Spurs forum if you wish to pontificate at will about life in the relegation zone and all things Spurs.
I think it preferable to you lot rolling around as if you'd be shot by a sniper
By the way Ozi, I make you right. The F.A seem far more concerned with condemnation of players whipping their tops off or celebrating too close to opposition fans than looking at the more serious acts withing the game.
Who besides Eboue from our side roles around likethey havebeen shot? Seriously if you can tell me i will eat my keyboard.
Ozi Gooner
"I think it preferable to you lot rolling around as if you'd be shot by a sniper" Gromit. And Huddlestone was mortally wounded when fouled by Sagna?
Arsenal have realised if they want to win games they need to fight fire with fire so are standing toe to toe with the thugs. in recent seasons we just let them bully us and we lost and came fourth. so what else do we do? as you say, watching other teams play each other, we are seeing way too many dirty cynical dangerous fouls and i find it odd why refs dish out bookings and red cards for nothing incidents while letting the truly dangerous ones off sometimes with nothing but a talking to. Keith Hackett needs to have a word.
I agree with your sentiments Ozi. The mistake some make is that somehow removing BAD tackles from the game invariably removes ALL tackles so that football becomes a non contact sport. Its almost as if these people believe there is no such thing as a good tackle. It is possible to tackle cleanly! A dangerous tackle should be an automatic red card as should a reckless tackle made without regard to the consequences. A mistimed tackle, provided it isn't reckless, where there is a reasonable chance of winning the ball (upwards of 50%) is a yellow card. We bemoan the lack of technique amongst English players but from an early age coaching in this country focusses on stopping the other team from playing - in providing an obstacle course for skilled players to get around. If instead we focussed on the finer arts of defending tackling cleanly, interception and positioning the quality and excitement of the game wouldn't suffer from it. Quite the reverse in fact as young English players learn to regard technique as something to covet. If Hleb had been born in the UK he wouldn't have been able to develop the level of technique he has now - he wouldn't have been allowed to. That goes for many of the other technically gifted players we all admire. This country is every bit as able to develop technique as anywhere else in Europe but in order to do so it first has to change its attitude and culture.
I wonder if he thought the opposition should have been awarded the points after Zokora's diabolical cheating.
Actually, Hughes was the biggest thug when he played so it is only natural that his team be a bunch of thugs as well. I agree with everything the article said and the highlights for Arsenal is nothing more than that...highlights. OG stated it was meant for everyone. Teams like Blackburn have and will continue to play that kind of football as long as the FA continue to allow their sponsor and their spawn hughes to continously get away with it.
Hatespur ... and a number of Spurs fans condemned the Zokora incident ... I recall there was a big response to the story on our page. Regarding diabolical cheating, I'll leave you with the name ROBERT PIRES .. talk about pot calling the kettle black
Alternatively, you could just stop signing namby-pamby foreigners who can't take a bit of rough and tumble now and again :-D
IMO a yellow doesn't do anything, especially if the resulting free kick is out of range or not in a threatening position. Now if we adopt Ice Hockey or Rugby rules where the yellow card means time off the pitch (10mins in Rugby) and a red a permanent expulsion, plus the case of post match citing allowed by coaches which can result in bans from independent panels then that would help. Back chat being dealt with by an immediate 10yds penalty would cut that out - it has done so in Rugby.
Thats part of the point Amos, and I actually got the idea to write this from reading your article on coaching techniques last week so your points on the coaching are noted and i fully agree, but i'm not sure if you were implying it but clearly football would be worse off without any tackling it just requires common sense from both players and referees. Any of thew tackles I mentioned above would have been straight red in an international tournament, in Europe or any domestic league on the continent. The national team suffer for it but the FA are to stupid and lazy to do anything about so England will continue to suffer on the big stages, its a simple fact that wont change until adressed in the PL and Lower Leagues
Ozi Gooner
LUFC1, perhaps we should sign a load of third rate English mishaps who bankrupt the club?
I agree that football would be worse off without tackling but it would be much better off without bad tackling. Punishing bad tackles means that players have to get better at tackling improving the quality of tackling in the game. Seeing someone go into a tackle and come away cleanly with the ball is a technique every bit as admirable as half a dozen stepovers. I just don't see the argument that says if we allow tackling at all then we have to allow bad tackling. At the same time I am convinced that the Neanderthal adherence to what is euphemistically called 'grit' is what is holding back the development of English players.
Gromit, do we really want to start tinkering with the rules of the game again? More competent refereeing is the answer. Dangerous tackles getting red cards more frequently would soon put paid to the majority of them. Essien's tackle (against Bolton I think) was one of the worst I have ever seen, and got a booking if memory serves me right.
Defending is a skill, Watching the likes of Maldini, Nesta, Toure etc, do their sliding tackles can be every bit as enjoyable as watching Hleb turn players inside out.
Ozi Gooner
Anyone see Rooney's attempted tackle on Saturday? A few inches either way and he would have snapped both the knees of the Brum player, but because he didn't make contact he didnt get sent off. Disgracful.
I saw that Rocky. What is more disgraceful is that he ARGUED with the ref after the poor sod had awarded a free kick against the fat cünnt. Didn't even get a booking. He went in with both feet and almost scissored the opponent. Made me sick.
Hatespur you have got it in one, "More competent refereeing is the answer". It is the answer no more need be said. Enforce the laws of the game, no shirt pulling, diving and surrounding the Ref every time you disagree with his verdict; I've never seen one changed unless the linesman has intervened. Complain advance the ball further up the field, Aussie rules the ref can take the ball 50 meters up the field(I'm not suggesting we do that but advance the kick up the field. But the major point as hatespur said More competent refereeing is the answer.
It isn't just competence though alwaysgunner it is cultural. English football must want referees to enforce these rules. I am not at all convinced that everyone does want it. Any crackdown will meet a chorus of 'we are turning it into a game for softies' and 'it's the traditional English game' from predictable sources.
Sorry Amos don't agree, in Rugby Union play by the rules or else; I doubt you would call that a game of softies. You remember well Storey in the 1971 FA cup final he kicked Liverpool for the first 10 minutes or so off the park; if he had tried to do that today he would have been off in no time. The part of football I hate is the insidious shirt pulling, diving and crap of surrounding the ref(IMO brought from the main land of Europe, which were never part of our game); oh yes the bad tackles are not on but a firm ref would not be looked on as a softie but an improvement in the game I don't see any other way we can do it. I say again hatespur has it right enforce the rules, a fair shoulder tackle getting to the ball first if both are part of the laws of the game no problem enforce the rules. But over all "More competent refereeing is the answer". (But I still loved winning the cup in 1971")
I'm with you on this ag. A hardline approach to the dispicable parts of the game whilst keeping the tough (fair) tackling tradition of the English game is imperative. It may take a while to implement a stronger stance to the actions mentioned and there will indeed be the odd mistake (someone getting sent off unfairly) but surely worth it in the long run?
I have no problem with tough tackles if they are fair. My national team is as physical if not more so than your but we dont have a Rooney type player who stamps on people (although Emeron would be close to as dirty as Neville) just use their body and we suffered more for it than any team at the last World Cup.
Ozi Gooner
Also alwaysgunner the only problem with taking that advancing the ball further rule from Aussie Rules is that Aussie Rules umpires are just as incompetent, if not more so, than most football refs its just there decisions rarely influence a game so heavily as the score as much higher and all suspension is retroactive. a good punishment for the likes of Savage and Terry though would be to make them play a few games of Rugby or Aussie Rules and then they might be a bit less likely to rough up the outsiders after being on the end of it themselves.
Ozi Gooner
Ozi the rule to advance the ball in football is allowed (I believe) but rarely if ever done;(I'm sure someone will put me right if I am wrong). I like other British followers see nothing wrong in tough (fair) tackling, but it gives me the s.its to see the other crap that goes on. You are right Ref's in Aussie rules are just as incompetent as ref's in football but they don't allow the crap of surrounding the ref, (in most cases) its just their stupid decisions they make. This does not detract from the debate which is how to solve the problem and to reiterate hatespur he has the very simple answer "More competent refereeing is the answer".
PS Ozi come to a few Adelaide United games and you will see a fair bit of stamping.
You mean there's ''rules'' in Aussie Rules? ;)
Yep agreed about more competent refereeing but I also think that the FA or referee's association need stricter guidlines to some things and retroactive punishment for unpunished offences.
Ozi Gooner
And I'm a Melbourne Victory fan alwaysgunner so I know all about Adelaide United and their dirty stamping *****e. Actually there are a lot of PL clubs that would kill for support and gates like Victory get.
Ozi Gooner
Yeah theres rules AFC85, no punching below the belt and no eye gouging.
Ozi Gooner
Haha, brilliant, what about tickling?
A ten yard rule for dissent was introduced in 2001 but has since been scrapped as it was hardly ever used. It's true that dissent is tolerated less in Rugby but frankly dissent isn't the major problem in football and is easier to eradicate than a mistakenly entrenched belief that English players are inferior and therefore have to supported by physical superiority. The challenge will be to change the mindset of managers like Hughes, Allardyce and others, (including Fergie when seeking to end our unbeaten run), in order to remove clogging from the game. I really don't think the will or belief is there just yet to do it.
Nah seriously but, have you seen teh games they play in London? I hear they usually just degenerate into punch ups and I think its cos they never get punished for it back home, like in the gailic football whenthey play the Irish.
Ozi Gooner
Thank you Amos I knew someone would put me right.
I'm off gents. Have a good evening....or morning.....or afternoon. All these different time zones confuse the life outta me. Global Gooners.
dempsey's getting away with his assualt!
i agree with most of this article, the only one that i think was taken in the wrong way was nobles tackle on hleb it wasn't the tackle that hurt hleb it was the trailing leg that court him but it did look bad at first.
lets all laugh at robbo lets all laugh at robbo la la la la la la la la
I've said it before and I'll say it again, if it was a doughnut, there's no way he'd have dropped it.
Little Dutch
and the 2nd goes inbetween his legs looooool and ping pong ping up pops a third, heres to another 125 years of pain!!
LoL nikolaijns......3-1 ahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaa Totally agree Ozi, quite frankly it p!sses me right off that the mentality is to kick the fu(k out of any player who is deemed too skilful to win the ball from fairly, it's dangerous, unsporting, and has to stop. I'm not talking about accidental fouls (however bad they may be) I'm talking about the deliberate targeting of certain players (or in our case the entire team at times) This doesn't mean I want football to be a "non-contact" sport, which is the standard cackarela the nob-ends defending this "style" of football always come out with, nor do I want "special" players protected Rafa stylee. I just don't want to be deprived of seeing the most talented players in the league being put at risk by the least talented players in the league just because it's the Ingerlish way, or it's a mans game, or whatever other ********* cliche' certain hacks/pundits/fans use to justify this behaviour with. And don't get me started on fu(kin sky, with their if-you-say-it-enough-times-its-obviously-true versions of the laws governing football....I know they generate a lot of wealth for all the clubs, but FFS last time I checked, as spineless and in-effective as they are, the FA are still in charge, and until they actually make a public statement along the lines of "It's Sky wot make da rulz innit" they should bloody well enforce them.
I think I love Jol almost as much as Wenger ahaha......
Bwahahahahahahahaha.....4-1 AV!!!!!!!!!
LMFAO.......Where's sir gromit when you actually want him here ahaha
4 feckin 1 hahahahahahahahaha, On behalf of all gooners Martin we'll miss you ya big feckless lump, Happy Birthday spudlets hahahahahahahahahahahahaha
LOL @ Villa fans - happy b'day to you!
hahaha Their down 4-1 at home!!! hahahaha
Quote on sky sports live Commentry: 58 - GOAL!!! Gardner powers a low free-kick into the bottom corner. Robinson could only get a finger on it, some Spurs fans are leaving already. Their leaving befor the hour mark HAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAYH
Anyone wanna take a bet on how many articles along the lines of "what went wrong" "who do you blame" "jol out" and "what we need" will appear on the spud site in the next 48 hrs......I'll go for 10ish
Goin over to Vital Spurs for some Spud bashing!! LOLOLOLOL
Leaving already????Ahaaaaaaaa!!!'Kin hell I'm almost in tears, you couldn't make it up!
KaoTeK - COYAV!!! Hold on!
Ah crap.....4-4
Ah well.....shouldn't have spoken so soon eh? Never mind, their still 17th and provided a damn fine laugh tonight.....
it was a laugh while it lasted and damned good viewing.
Jol in post match commentary"we should have beaten arsenal"
Ahahaaaa nice one michael105uk one more laff for the evening (actually 4:30am here but whatever)
A little bit off topic, but I am looking forward to see what peopel from other countries think of this. During a match between my local team and the other local team, our player kerlon, started to make dribbles, and got elbowed, The discussion here in Brazil, again, was, "is it disrespectful to use excessive dribbling? Their players got really upset cuz, we were winning 2-0, then they made 3-2, and we turned around and made 4-3. :-), classic derby . here is the link, tell me what you think.
is it disrespectful to use excessive dribbling? lol kev this is Brazil right?? Regarding the "challenge" straight red no doubts, pure intent to cause... well GBH really - an elbow to the throat is never a good look! geezer was just building up with the tasty headers too!
Yeah, the seal dribble nonsense - if you watch more video of Kerlon showboating this seal dribble, he seems to get smoked every time! To do this, he has to run with his face up - one of these times he's going to get a skull under his chin and break his neck by someone just going for the ball. It's one thing to protect the ball with your feet, but running around bouncing a ball off your head is just stupid and dangerous.
It's art!
I'm with Kev, it's obviously the guys' style lol and in all honesty I find it way less annoying than feckin skippy Ronaldo.
Pardon me for saying so but it seems like some of you have very short memories. It wasn't so long ago that Arsenal were winning league titles with quite a "physical" and "committed" style of football, was it? That's not to say those Arsene Wenger sides lacked skill and were all brawn but no brain, but they certainly gave as good as they got and then some. Arsenal's disciplinary record whilst winning those titles was the worst in the league: some called the teams dirty, some called them hard-hitting but they certainly weren't ever mistaken for the sort of side that would even dream of ducking out of a 50-50 ball, were they? So isn't it rather hypocritical to suddenly start talking about how "somebody needs to do something fast" just because a couple of Arsenal player's been hurt in a challenge? I'm not suggesting that cynical or dangerous play should be tolerated or ignored (on the contrary, I'm all for it being punished) but some people here are being rather naive if they honestly believe that Arsenal are totally innocent, "holier than thou" victims of the more physical side of the game.
Harry P
Touche Harry, a good point well made. From what I have seen of the '71 side there weren't many shrinking violets in there either.
Kevin i hope Ronaldo tries that trick in the premiership, and someone smacks him like that :p..
The key sentence there Harry is "gave as good as they got." During the whole red card 'hall of shame' statistics that were constantly reeled out, I can absolutely honestly only remember one straight red card for a bad challenge or violent conduct, that was Ashley Cole versus Leicester. Our whole disciplinary problem was more grounded in retaliating to teams trying to bend the rules of the game, Vieira and Petit being the chief targets as they more often than not fell for the trick. Nobody's saying we are now or ever were angels, the reason for our renaissance this season so far is because we are reestablishing the physical side of our game. But in all honesty, I really don't think we've ever been a dirty side under Wenger. Petulant, certainly, but I cannot think of too many two footed lunges or attempts to deliberately injure players.
Little Dutch
Harry P - the article clearly points out instances where Arsenal players (RVP and Flamini) also made bad tackles. So I dont see where the 'holier than thou' comment springs from. OziG raises a lot of relevant points, and I hope that it does not take a career-ending tackle for the FA to wake up, and instruct the refs to punish such tackles.
As prits said I clearly stated that this was just from an Arsenal fans perspective Harry so I used mainly Arsenal examples but even used Terry who I despise more than any footballer alive, yes even cashley, so I dont really see your point.
Ozi Gooner
Good article Ozi. At some point this weekend I turned the TV on to watch a bit of the Rugby WC, and just as I switched on, the ref was directing two 20-stone bruisers to come away from the ball and towards him. They followed and then stopped to listen as he sternly told them off (you can hear it as the refs wear mics) and once the ref was done he pointed them away, and the players walked back to the melee like good little boys. Basically that's what I'd like to see in football - a bit of respect (even a wee bit of fear) for the ref. That, together with sin-bins, 10-yard rules etc, will hopefully help to rid us of some of the violence we see many times. Wenger also called for retrospective reds which is a great idea too. Will the fools at the FA do it though?
There was an interesting discussion on 5live earlier (one summary is at which touched on refereeing. They talked of how parents (of teenage players) are severely abusive to referees, so it gets drilled into the culture of players to be unruly and disrespectful. They are talking about cordoning off (as a pilot at grassroots) the two sides' parents contingent so they don't fight! Even McClaren said that the kids he gets to work (aged between 16 and 18) seem to be more and more aggressive and disrespectful every year. Maybe this is part of the psyche that makes players think they can do as they please almost without fear. Bone-crunching OTT tackle? No problem - just a yellow! Give the refs power and we'll see how tempted players are to try their luck with dangerous tackling. Tough but fair tackling is a fantastic art but like Ozi said we can't let players take the p*ss.
Give it another five years and the little bastids will be playing with shoulder holsters under the shirts.
Ozi Gooner, there's a certain "eye of the beholder" aspect at work here. A couple of Arsenal players are brought down and you're up in arms and talking about it like it's a crisis that the authorities need to immediately address whilst failing to remember that not to long ago Arsenal were dishing out a bit more than they were taking in the same department. Elsewhere, Chelsea fans (and their manager, of course) totally overreacted to Petr Cech's horrific injury against Reading. There's no doubt that it was an awful incident, but accidents happen, but to accuse Stephen Hunt of trying to "kill" Cech, and then sending death threats to him was crazy. Yet when a Chelsea player kicked an opponent in the head and hospitalised him earlier this season it didn't even warrant a mention in the match report on Vital Chelsea! Just ask yourself this: if it was a West Ham player that had been stretchered off after a bad tackle from an Arsenal player then would you have sat down and written this article? The next time an Arsenal player knocks a member of the opposition off the field then will you be rushing to write about it?
Harry P
Harry P it is a crisis because throughout the whole game there is aspects creeping into our game which needs to be sorted out otherwise it will turn people away from the sport. we now have on a regular basis shirt pulling diving and groups of players surrounding ref's let alone some very bad fouls that are deliberate and intending to cripple a player. During my days at playing the sport i can never remember shirt pulling surrounding the ref and diving. Thats what other countries did, never saw during the home championship any actions like that. But over the years it has slowly crept in. As one of our site members said "More competent refereeing is the answer". Are you telling me you would prefer the present rubbish to continue?
Harry, when it happens closer to home it's normal to be biased (even dramatic) and I guess you're no different. If you take any of what you see as bias out of the article though, it makes a good point. I detest cheating and GBH so much (even to John Terry) that I'd have people put in stocks in the dugouts - depending on severity of the crime of course.
Nobody hates the way that cheating and gamesmanship have crept into our game more than me. It really disgusts me to see grown men being paid silly money try to cheat their way to victory. Pay me a tenth of what the average footballer gets and I'd be able to dive around, pull shirts, deliver subtle nudges and cynical fouls just as well. If we'd wanted to see acting then we'd be spending our Saturday afternoons at the local theatre for the matinee performance, wouldn't we? The example these "professionals" send out, that it's OK to cheat your way through life, is disgraceful. In any everyday job they'd be sacked but in football it's tolerated, and the reasons that it's tolerated is because managers focused on nothing but results practically give their players the green light to cheat, etc. They hop up and down when their teams are the victims but pretend that they didn't see things (Wenger), shrug their shoulders (Sir Alex Ferguson), or just plain make up crap (Jose Mourinho) when their players are the guilty parties. More competent refereeing? Yes, please, but let's recognise that referees are human, and that they're going to make mistakes, doubly so when their surrounded by professional cheats. Hounding them when they do so, especially when everybody around them is doing their damn best to hoodwink and deceive them, is just ridiculous. Perhaps if players weren't auditioning for Hollywood every five minutes, harassing them and/or harassing each other then referees would be freed to do their job? After all, if a player doesn't dive then the referee doesn't have to make a game-changing decision about that dive (play on, book the diver, penalty or free kick, yellow or red card the defender) does he? The answer to cleaning up the game is on the pitch but it's the players, not the referees, who need to be addressed. Say what you like about them but in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL officals are respected without question and cheating is cheating, and is treated as such. I see no reason why the same can't be true of football.
Harry P
it's amazing that in this the most expensive era of football that these near carrear ending challenges happens that the fa dont put their own footdown on the player in the wrong
Without labouring the point too much it is also about the desire to improve technique amongst English players. If a youngster growing up in football learns that the more techinique he displays the more he is likely to get clattered the less likely he is to develop it. Aversion therapy if you like. Youngsters grow up feeling that only those willing to give as good as they get can survive in English football. Teach them to tackle well and tackle often if the need to but punish them properly when they tackle recklessly. It won't harm the game at all!
Just curious Amos do they teach them to pull shirts, dive etc in the junior football? Or do coaches constantly warn young players that this type of tactics are not on? Agree youngsters have a tendency to follow what they see others do, but when I was coaching I tried at all times to ban such activities and even take them off the team and sit them on the bench.
I think most youngsters would be impressionable enough to follow the standards set in the big leagues. I guess coaches would generally discourage these activities but even over my local park in the heat of battle it is truly surprising what instructions some 'coaches' will shout out. I heard Andy Gray reviewing last weekends Man City - Newcastle match criticising a Newcastle player for not taking Petrov out when there was no realistic alternative way to stop him. You can't criticise any kid for taking that message over the park with him. I don't suppose it is possible to eliminate all rule breaking. If you have rules then someone will look to test their boundaries. But I think using physical intimidation and the threat of suffering real damage goes beyond rule breaking and, in this country, breeds the development of players with great physical attributes and stamina but little chance to develop their technique. Even Ben Thatcher has his apologists.
Your right Amos but i think the FA way of starting at the bottom to eradicate some of the problems is wrong. Okay for technology i.e. goal line technology, but discipline needs to start at the top and work its way down.

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