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An Accident Waiting To Happen

I'm not entirely sure if I'll post a match report, I may attempt one later. But after yesterday's match I think everybody's thoughts are firmly in one place. I can't ever recall seeing something happen on a football pitch that has left me feeling so utterly deflated as Eduardo's misfortune. The dire nature of the injury was not graphically apprent from the Railway End. I was a good seventy yards away, indeed it was not immediately apparent that Taylor's feet were so high. In truth, it looked fairly innocuous peering through the throng of bodies. But Cesc Fabregas' reaction immediately told me something was gravely wrong. When I saw him implore the medical staff to hurry, my initial reaction was 'that has to be a broken leg.' However, once the medical staff arrived on the scene,I saw Fabregas' hold his face and look away. The Arsenal players did not surround the perpetrator, instead expressing concern for their stricken team mate. One by one they turned away in horror. I watched Hleb walk to the half way line with his face buried in his hands. Adebayor moved to the Birmingham six yard line and fell to his knees.

Anybody who has watched a serious accident, possibly a traffic incident, or who has watched severe pain inflicted on another person will be aware of the all over body shock that permeates you. I won't go into personal experience, but an example of a friend of mine who watched a man beaten half to death by three men outside a bar in Bolivia. The experience instantly drained the considerable amount of alcohol he had consumed and sobered him instantly, such was the shock. Eduardo's injury yesterday would have provokeda similar kind of response. As Eduardo stayed down for minutes at a time, phones around me begin to buzz with activity. Text messages flooded to my own phone. The underlying message was that Sky Sports were refusing to show replays of the incident as the footage might prove too upsetting. The name on everybody's lips was David Busst. This wasn't good. The mood began to drain as the shock was absorbed. I think Imust have stood with my hand over my mouth for a good two minutes, an entirely involuntary action. Once it had all sunk in, we began to talk about the prospect of Eduardo ever playing again. He still had not even been carried off the pitch yet.

I don't blame the players for not looking up toit after that. It isn't just the shock of seeing a friend prostate with an injury that severe, but the fear that it could so easily happen to you as the tackles snap in. Having had time to reflect, I cannot help but pick upon some of Wenger's post match comments (some of which he has now retracted). I sent the following sentiment to Paul in a text message, and Wenger's interview uncannily reflected my won. I reflected on John Carew's challenge on Alex Hleb,Mark Noble'schallenge on Alex Hleb, Dirk Kuyt's lunge at Philip Neville, Jon Obi Mikel's lunge on Neville in the Carling Cup, Stephen Hunt's disgusting abberation against Man City (I think). This sort of thing has been waiting to happen for a long time. Arsenal have undoubtedly been the most vocal in their opposition to crude challenging. With the fast, technical game we play,often we have been targetted by the bully boys. Infuriatingly, when we have had the temerity to complain, we have been told by opposing managers and pundits alike to stop whingeing and that Arsenal 'don't like it up em.' Hansen and the like have snorted dersively as Tugay rakes his studs down Fabregas' shins. As Neville kicks Reyes up into the air. Alan Shearer's last ever game against Arsenal saw him commit four of the most sickening fouls I've ever seen. (How Senderos' eye stayed in its socket I'll never know). Yet Shearer was lauded as a hero for stuffing it upthose uppity Frenchies.

Manuel Almunia was nearly knocked out in a collision with Jason Roberts (then of Wigan) in a Carling Cup semi final. Paul Jewell's dry reaction to Wenger's objection afterwards, 'you breathe on Arsenal and they moan.' Mark Noble's assault on Hleb in September was dismissed by Match of the Day as 'yellow card at the most, we don't want to remove the passion from our game.' Well ladies and gentlemen, congratulate yourselves. You got exactly what you were asking for yesterday afternoon. Martin Taylor, with the media discourse of 'get into Arsenal, they don't like that' ringing in his ears went to challenge the fleet footed Eduardo, studs showing with liberal abandon and over the top of the ball. Now a young man's career hangs in the balance. Don't get me wrong, I don't for one second think Taylor achieved his objective in hospitalizing Eduardo. But this is exactly the type of recklessness we are witnessing week in week out, violence posturing as 'passion' and this was always likely. But apparently protesting about it makes you a whinger, one of those fancy dan pansies who wouldn't have lasted a second in the Seventies hayday of hardmen.

Some morbid curiosity made me watch the tackle again on YouTube when I got home.I really wish I hadn't, it's just so utterly depressing. I am gutted for the guy. A man who worked so hard to go from Brazil to Croatia, and earned his shot at the big time. He belongs in the big time too. Never once opening his mouth to complain when he wasn't in the side early in the season. He again kept his head down, worked hard and earned his shot. He took it too, scoring a myriad of crucial goals (even in the rainy, windy confines of Goodison Park in December) and he was starting to really show how good a player he is. It's funny, because as the players warmed up yesterday, I reflected very briefly at how much of a fixture he has become of late, his inclusion in the starting line up now passes without mention. It was a fleeting thought which concluded before it began really. But it stands t reason that now I feel the need to elaborate and expand on it. So get well soon Eddie, I only hope your entirely unjust misfortune makes a few others think before they fly into the next wing heeled fancy dan with their studs showing. As for the 'it's not violence, it's British' brigade. I hope you feel as though you got your money's worth.LD.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday February 24 2008

Time: 11:51AM

Your Comments

All that will come out of this is a ban for Gallas for cosing a severve injury to an advertising board, Wenger for speaking out of turn when still in shock and Eduardo for holding up the game for 8 min. You may tink that I'm going over the top here but I watched MOTD last night and as I have sayed before I'm glad I'm not living in UK otherwise I would have to pay to keep that rubbish on air Mark L and Alan H could only critisise Wenger for his words spoken in the heat of the moment and had not a bad word to say about Taylor the gentle giant, now dont get me wrong I don't think for a moment that Taylor went in to couse injury to Eduardo and I fully accept that he is very sorry for what happened but it is so discusting that nearly all commentators seam focus on what Wenger sayed in the heat of the moment ( somthing he has now accepted was to strong ) and Gallas reaction at the penalty. Where are all the old Arsenal commentators, Smith< Wrighty, Merson, Dixon and the rest,theyr silence is defening.
it also peeves me off that people can say we dont have any excuse to complain when we have a player like Eboue who broke JTs' foot,and gallas tried to end nanis' career,all with equally malicious intent
fran merida
forget about alan smith,hes so up fergies and the medias ar$e you can just about hear his dull monotone voice
fran merida
This isn't even about club loyalties, this is about acknoweldging that we can't keep using excuses for tackles like Taylor's. I've had the misfortune toread posts from a coupLe of Chelsea fans on this site over the last 12 hours (fortunately,some of their fellow supporters have more sense). I urge them to remember how they felt about Hunt's challenge on Cech.
Little Dutch
Nice one LD. I thought I'd feel better after some sleep today. But your vivid account of what you saw at the ground brought all the terrible memories flooding right back. If we as fans are so absolutely gutted, imagine how Arsene and Gallas and the team were feeling. I remember the camera showed Lewin (not Gary - who's off with Eduardo to the hospital at that time, the other one, the assistant physio, also Gary Lewin's nephew or something) covered his face in his hands on the bench, next to Arsene's terribly sad and stern and angry face. They, having seen these tackles every single week right up close, must have seen it coming. And given what happened, one man terribly down and terrible ref decisions and 2 terrible points dropped despite how much they wanted to 'win it for Edu', why's it so difficult to understand Arsene's comments, players' performances and Gallas' behaviour? For the press to spend so much air time talking about those 'issues' are nothing short of petty and disgraceful. And all that said, is there anything we can do as fans to express our huge concern over this 'English' approach to the game?
Lou the Gunneress
Great piece Tim, and one I wish you hadn't had to write. I thought I may feel a bit more upbeat this morning, but I feel just as bad for Dudu as I did when the challenge first happened. And of course you are entirely correct, the whole "Arsenal don't like it up 'em" culture has finally gotten the result it has threatened for so long, it's a complete disgrace, and without needing to name names there are several people out there who are equally as guilty for Eddie's break as Martin Taylor.
Understandable that you dont write a match report LD. This has certainly become foremost in our thoughts. We've talked about how this was only a matter of time coming, and it only feels worse having been proven 'right' !
Today is Eduardo's birthday. What a shocker.
Actually Monday... He's 25 years old on the 25th...
Lou the Gunneress
I have to write and say i wish Eduardo all the best wishes i can, no player deserves an injury like that, i pray that he can come back for you and Croatia, all at Pompey are thinking about him, and our prayers are with him.
Like Rocky I'm still absolutely gutted about what happened. But I'm equally gutted that all this unfair suffering is not bringing about the fair debate and reflection it really warrants in the game, in the press and among some fans. Though the Sat stuff will be cut short, I'll still watch MotD2 tonight and see potentially what Lee Dixon has to say after those terrible commentary from his colleagues at the Beeb last night.
Lou the Gunneress
imagine if a foreigner did that to Gerrard....
Kev, I wish I could say your comment was anything other than the nailedon truth.
Little Dutch
Thats my biggest frustration LD. In my head i keep hearing Mark hughes, Sam alardyce, David Moyes, Alan Shearer etc saying. You have to get stuck in, upset their game, rough them up, let them know your there, disrupt their flow, English passion. But at what cost? I too was thinking back to Carew on Hleb, Noble on Hleb, Smith?? on Diaby, Nevile on Reyes, Terry attempt on Fabregas. Then you get people calling us hypocrites saying it was ok to kick the Man U players last week but you dont like it when its done to you. I fail to see how Petulance by Gallas and Hoyte kicking out can be compared to raised studs in over commite challenges. Gallas was hardly going to injure Nani. It was an accident waiting to happen.
Kev you should have seen the reaction when Duscher broke Beckhams metatarsal pre world cup 2002. When Ronaldo winked at a camera after Rooney was sent off there was outcry.
Two more good points, a wink can cause somuch hatred, yet this is fine. I've just read Hansen's column on the BBC site and I'm trulydisgusted. Howlong have I been saying on this site that a tackle does not have to be two footed to cause somebody serious injury. Yet Hansen defends Taylor's tackle on the basis that, "it wasn't two footed." Tell the to Eduardo's surgeon you horrible little (unt. I'd threaten to boycott MOTD, but I already had. What a terrible shame that in this country you go to prison for not paying Hansen's salary.
Little Dutch
There'd be(even more) huge hatred towards foreigners.People like phil neville and crouch saying "tehseh foreignehrs, camehn heh taking owl aur spots in teh big clahbs, now tryain take aur legs sswell eh". That was one of the reasons I was so upset with Wenger's comments(wich he showed balls by retracting), because he was acting int he same way people would act if a foreigner player(that he so much defends) did the same as taylor.
'Tough' tackling and getting 'stuck in' is part of the culture of the English game for better and for worse. You see it on 5-a-side or 11-a-side pitches up and down the country, as well as training sessions for young and old alike. You cant easily change something that's woven into the national psyche. The only thing you can do really is draw a clearer line between what is allowable 'grit' and what is unacceptable, and set up review panels of experts etc. This would mean clearer rules and appropriate punishment for people that cross the line. This discourages some of he dangerous excess we see sometimes. In my mind if that was in place, Martin Taylor should be facing a very lengthy ban for going over the top. Horror tackles like Roy Keane's should also have seen him turfed out for a year or more too.
Yeah LD that Hansen piece made me sick! Two footed or not, deliberate or not, lacking the care or the skill, totally irrelevant. If the consequence's as serious as breaking someone's leg, you don't have to intend anything to get punished! What's not there for these idiots to understand? Can't believe we're paying TV licence fees to listen to these people's BS every week. This game, this place, these people are just sick to the core!
Lou the Gunneress
Andy you're right. But what if those panels of 'experts' are made up of 'experts' we saw on TV and newspapers these two days? I'm all for changing the system. How people apply the rules is an issue too - ask the referees.
Lou the Gunneress
i havent seen the video of Diaby's injury vs Sunderland a few seasons ago, but i have seen the footage of Dudu's. and can someone tell me whether the injury diaby suffered was worse than the one Dudu did yesterday, cuz im really worried for him..
and im only asking cuz Diaby came back from it and i pray Dudu will too..
LD, saw your message on the e-card for Edu. Not sure if I'd want him in that terrible No.9 shirt again. When he comes back, can we give him another number??
Lou the Gunneress
Yeah I'm with Luckys. Also concerned and wondering how Henrik Larsson and Cisse made their comebacks - did they suffer from something similar as Edu?
Lou the Gunneress
You ain't wrong there Lou. Sometimes it's more maddening listening to and watching these absolute muppets. Maybe we could have video committees made up of retired referees, I dont know. It's just depressing that victims always have to pay a bigger price than the perpetrator.
Something to cheer me up, just saw o'hara crying on skysports cos he's been left out of CCfinal 16. Ha.
Just when I thought I was calming down a bit, now this, these people are so sick and appalling:,19528,11670_3190031,00.html
Lou the Gunneress
Larrson's injury was terrible Lou. goto youtube yu will find it. he broke the same leg three times and is still playing gives me hope..
just read that on Sky Lou. what is wrong with these ppl? ******** no sense, no emotions, no humanity. if something like that would have happened to their player, im sure their reaction would be worse than ours and the entire England would be on our back asking us to be banned as a club..
The way this Stephen Kelly guy defends his "nice bloke" Taylor is exactly the root of the problem in this violent culture - that they don't eff-ing see it as a problem! Far from it, they even, again, waste more time talking about Arsene's comment than the REAL ISSUE here. Now in hindsight, I think Arsene's made a very difficult but beneficial decision of retracting his comments to at least not distract the press and the team any further. He knew these people would spend more time on him and Gallas than the tackle itself. SO EFF-ING SICK THESE PEOPLE!
Lou the Gunneress
anyone would have made those comments Lou, and the worse part is, if it was some other manager, the entire country would back him. i am with kevin on this one, had it happened to a Gerrard or a Lampard, the outrage that would have occured in England is unthinkable..
Luckys, this, if true, gives me hope too:
Lou the Gunneress
Yeah, compare and contrast:,19528,11670_3189794,00.html
Lou the Gunneress
It would be easy to pass this off as an over reaction to an unfortunate accident. Except that LD is absolutely right - it was just waiting to happen. There have been a few articles on this site in recent months making this very point. Graham Poll published a piece earlier this season warning that this would happen unless something was done to prevent it. There seems to be a view in some quarters that Taylor is something of a victim himself in this. Take a look at the widely published picture of Taylors studs just making contact with Eduardos shin prior to the horror of its aftermath. Look at Cescs expression in the background of that picture. He knew what an horrific tackle that was even before Eduardos leg paid the price for the 'need to get amongst them' culture of football. A few seasons back Paul Davis was banned for 9 matches for breaking Glen Cockerils jaw. I don't suppose Davis set out to break his jaw but that was the consequence of his recklessness. This, as a potentially career ending injury, shouldn't invoke any less horror than Davis' swing except that it will. Not all at in Taylors nature we will be told - maybe even only a yellow card I have read. Football needs to grow up in this country.
Alan Hansen must die. He is wrong on every issue he ever opens his gob about, this is just the latest in a long line. How do these people become "pundits" anyway, when they are consistently wrong about everything?... Anyway, Eduardo, we are all thinking of you and hoping you make a full and complete recovery.
thanks Lou, u just breathed new life into me. Hope he gets the best of medical treatment to aid his recovery, and i seriously think the medical staff should get an opinion from Rooney's doc's and keep him in an oxygen room like how Rooney was, cuz wayne's recoveries from all his injuries are astonishing. and just read Corluka's comments too. just shows that class and the human spirit exists everywhere except in the english players..
Not often that I agree with Graham Poll but this article written almost 3 months ago tells you that the writing was on the wall. Even to the extent of identifying which type of player is likely to commit these fouls. The game needs to wake up to the fact that it has a duty of care which supersedes the need to get a tackle in at any cost:
My heart goes out to Eduardo, this kind of injury has been in the post all season, people flying in with one or two feet raised, one example that never got mentioned on here was Diouf on Arbeloa at Anfield, two feet studs first on his ankle, how it didnt snap I'll never know. Poor Fabregas went pale when he saw it. About the result, Arsenal were robbed.
Amos "A few seasons back" ?? You are getting old mate!!
Well a few more seasons back then !
Not often that I agree with ANR but Ian Grant got the principles right too:,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=909&cntnt01origid=30&cntnt01returnid=42
Lou the Gunneress
there is a massive diference between going going in "hard" and sliding in 1 foot off the ground when there is absolutly no need, and anyway, you would be better off staying on your feet. no doubt tayler didnt mean it - if he did, he probably would have only tripped him up - but all the same, he shouldnt have been atmepting to go in like that. it was a horrible tackle, and i feel very sorry for eduardo, croatia and arsenal.
Pompeycarpet, thanks. Your 'when there's absolutely no need' reminded me that it actually happened around the middle of the park, no danger whatsoever. Whether Taylor went in with his boss' brief to 'get at them' or trying to gain some appreciation from the home fans or trying to get the ball but mistimed terribly in which case he has no skill whatsoever to get near the EPL, I don't know and don't care. What we know for sure is a 3-match ban is a joke of a punishment for breaking somone's leg. End of.
Lou the Gunneress
as much as i hate to see this happen to anyone...especially considering he's an ar5ena1 player who's never really looked like a threat! gunners could potentially blame spurs...had we not battered you in the semi finals (5 - 1 may i add). You would ahve been playing in the final this weekend...rather than playing birmingham...or you could blame Jenas, Bendtner, Keane, lennon or Malbranque...or wenger for screwing up the tactics...take your pick! Come On You Spurs!
Eduardo himself has forgiven Martin Taylor, and some people will take that as the final word. Good for Eddie, grudge-bearing and feeling bitter will not help his recovery. He has to stay positive and get on with it. I'm not in that position though. I do blame Martin Taylor, I cannot see any excuse for what he did. The guy should be banned from football for life. Wenger was right. Gallas, Clichy and the rest have nothing to answer for. They are heroes just for completing the match. yiDHAMI, you are truly a sad little person.

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