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Someone Needs To Do Something. Fast!

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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Writer:Vital Arsenal member Ozi Gooner
Date:Monday October 1 2007
Time: 1:16PM

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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.
01/10/2007 13:22:00
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
01/10/2007 13:26:00
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.
01/10/2007 13:38:00
I think it preferable to you lot rolling around as if you'd be shot by a sniper
01/10/2007 13:39:00
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.
01/10/2007 13:41:00
Who besides Eboue from our side roles around likethey havebeen shot? Seriously if you can tell me i will eat my keyboard.
Ozi Gooner
01/10/2007 13:43:00
"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?
01/10/2007 13:44:00
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.
01/10/2007 13:45:00
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.
01/10/2007 13:46:00
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.
01/10/2007 13:46:00
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