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All Apologies

As the fallout from Saturday`s traumatic match against Birmingham rumbles on, emotions have obviously run high in the aftermath and many a heated word have been exchanged. It would be wrong on an occasion such as this not to examine your own behaviour and the conduct of those to which you are allied. So with clear reflection and given the sapient words of Birmingham City players ringing in my ears, I would like to compose an apology.

Firstly, apologies to everybody at Birmingham City. Arsenal reject Sebastien Larsson has spoken today and correctly lampooned Arsenal for "being in a bad mood all game. They were very unsportsmanlike." Of course Sebastien, you are absolutely correct. Having just seen their friend`s leg mangled beyond all recognition, how dare the likes of Fabregas, Hleb and Adebayor demonstrate their distress? Some of them were nearly in tears for goodness sakes. What wussies. Having seen 'Tiny` Taylor`s quite honourable challenge nearly amputate a team mate`s limb, they should of course have been the life and soul of the party. Why, Coventry`s players were handing out tea and crumpets in the wake of David Busst`s injury. We were of course thoroughly unsporting, particularly when our two goal Scottish striker James McFadden went through on goal, missed wildly, and tried to claim a non existent foul by Philippe Senderos, which would have resulted in a penalty and a red card. And when our Northern Irish goalkeeper Maik Taylor took in excess of thirty seconds for his every goal kick we really took the biscuit. As for Arsenal`s treatment of an honourable advertising hoarding, what a disgrace! That hoarding worked bloody hard to get where it is today, having been reared on a Northern scrapheap, it never complained and waited for its shot at the big time only to be cruelly robbed in its prime by the Arsenal skipper. Imagine if Gallas had manifested that aggression onto a player, why, somebody might have ended up in hospital!

Larsson, bearing no grudge against the manager who sold him to perennially relegation threatened no hopers, went onto label Wenger, "idiotic and childish." Quite right, the way Wenger carried on you might have thought he was upset or something. Which is fair enough, but the least he might have done was to retract his statement about gentle Tiny. Wise Seba went on to label Wenger a "sore loser." Spot on, having seen his team succumb to a 2-2 defeat, Arsene should have been more forthcoming in his praise for the victorious home side (The fact that Birmingham have only been awarded a point for their victory, whilst Arsenal have also been awarded a point for their defeat just illuminates the 'Big Four` bias, don`t you think?). Larsson`s team mates were quick to twist the knife as well, ex Spud Stephen Kelly told an attentive nation that, 'The reason the ref has sent him off is because he has seen Eduardo has broken his leg. I don't think you can send a player off for that. It was harsh Tiny [Taylor] being sent off. He didn't lunge. He didn't dive in. He is such a nice bloke,' Well said Stephen, of course we can`t go around sending people off for breaking opponent`s legs, where would the English league be if we did that? Why, soon we`d be like those namby pamby foreigners, outdoing opponents with skill and technique. No blood, no foul, that`s what I say. Kelly, with his Johnsonian turn of phrase then wittily explained, "Tiny hasn`t got a bad bone in his body." Quite. Whilst medical evidence proves that the histrionic Eduardo has several severely mangled bones in his body.

Braveheart James McFadden also labeled Wenger "a disgrace" whilst his manager Alex McLeish insists gentle 'Tiny` had "done nothing wrong." Top logic boys, Tiny does nothing wrong by going half a yard over the top of a grounded ball, yet Wenger is quite clearly a disgrace for having the temerity to be upset about it. Your club and its value system can be very proud of itself. Up and at em boys. There is currently a heart warming docu piece doing the rounds on Sky Sports News about how Tiny plans to rebuild his career and surmount this appalling setback that has befallen him. I`m sure all Arsenal fans would like to wish Tiny a speedy recovery and hope that he can return the same player, the centre half whose calculations of speed, height and distance rival that of an inebriated, three legged cart horse. Please leave your condolences at where we will put them into an e card and forward them on to this dreadfully unfortunate man. Having been at the game I also had not been privileged enough to hear Richard 'electrolysis` Keys` compassionate assessment of William Gallas` post match reaction. "Sort yourself out son." Bang on old bean, how dare a moneyed, privileged footballer show any connection with his supporters by demonstrating he cares? Poor form, stiffen up that upper lip William. Surely a more British approach to helplessly standing by as his team mates career possibly curtails in front of his eyes a fortnight after his friend and compatriots brother dies suddenly is what is required? After all, aren`t we fans always complaining that these scarcely paid footballers care too much? So to Birmingham City and their players, and to Richard Keys, we are dreadfully sorry to have offended your sensibilities. Hopefully Eduardo will be sporting enough to issue a statement forthwith apologising for allowing his ankle to shatter and making Tiny feel bad.

P.S. To Richard Keys and all at Sky Sports News, no advertising hoardings were harmed in the writing of this article. I did however; poison my colleague by putting arsenic in his tea. But I`m such an honest bloke and haven`t got a bad bone in my body so no blame can be attributed. In fact, some people nickname me 'Tiny Tim`, though most of those people happen to be female. In fact, most of those people happen to be females I have slept with. Hmmmm…………LD

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday February 25 2008

Time: 3:53PM

Your Comments

Effin brilliant LD. I applaud you. Reading this piece makes me honored to support the same club as you lads at Vital Arsenal. Proud to be a Gooner.
Its a shame that you cant actually send this brilliant piece to those Birmingham players. But I see reading the times that you are absolutly wrong in your jugment. For its Wenger who lost the plot :
Paulo Gun
and our spoilt captain Gallas :
Paulo Gun
The Times surely are right ? are they ...
Paulo Gun
I always preferred the unplugged version of All Apologies. Unplugged seems to be the state of mind of many of those commenting on the challenge that apparently carried a real risk of amputation of the foot had it not been for swift action by the Arsenal medical team. It really defies belief that after 24 hours reflection on the incident the trend has been to find excuse for an illegal tackle, made without control and reckless enough to cause serious injury. Reckless challenges are mandatory red cards according to Uefa rules. To seek to excuse it on the basis that Taylor is a nice guy is absurd. Far to many of these challenges are allowed to pass simply because nobody got seriously hurt but we all know it is only a matter of time. Will Taylors supporters be so understanding if he is the recipient next time? Illegal tackles are cheating. They cheat the fans of what might otherwise be a creative passage of play, they cheat players of the need to develop proper tackling skills and they cheat the unfortunate player of part or all of his career. Let's stop treating unthinking, reckless, dangerous fools with sympathy simply because they are nice guys. They'll be a campaign to take Ian Brady out for a pint next.
I've just read McCleish's latest comments and you'd think it was Taylor who was laid up in hospital. This is beyond a ******** joke.
first i was sick, then i was angry at taylor, then i settled down and unfortunately its the risk that footballers put themselves at. but jesus ******** christ, i cant believe how people are so uncompassionate. how egos play such a massive part...cant admit that maybe he caught his so saddened that humanity amongst english footballers is dead. Football is football, we all love the game, but jesus.... he couldve lost his foot. I almost feel embarrassed to be a die hard fan. who cares about the other guy, the result or whatever The only thing that makes me want to watch arsenal again is the fact that edu could be at no better club regardless of what happens, us as supporters, the club and whoever else wants to support him. Its why i love the arse, no other club like us
LD, you're not "Tiny", just "Little" Dutch. (And no, I don't know for sure, because I'm not one of those "females", just for the record.) For once "English cynicism" is enjoyable.
Lou the Gunneress
*Lauds LD*
LD u ledge. great piece.
Rocky ,did you read see the ratings of the players in The Times? or Setanta? Gallas ang Clichy both have a deserved 4 . The left back for a perfect tackle in the 94 minutes that only the referry saw it as a penalty! and "spoilt brat" Gallas for over reacting. Guess WHO ELSE HAS THE SAME RATING ????????? 'Tiny' for playing 3 min and getting sent off. Tell me where is the LOGIC in this!??!?!?!
Paulo Gun
And oh, I also feel we need to apologise to the referee, the tragedy must have also affected him so badly that he had a terrible game. And to some of the "affected" Birmingham and Spurs fans, we shouldn't have had this tragedy that inspired them to come up with those terrible songs. Our bad too. And to all the other guys who called Arsenal or Arsenal fans "hypocrites", because they're spot on, those fouls they mentioned were really comparable to what Eduardo's subjected to, definitely on the same level of serious, career-threatening injuries. And to Sky, for serving up such a disturbing scene which they couldn't show in replay live, but which they kept showing nonstop the next day. And to the English game in general, it's bad enough that we don't have the grit, but how dared we condemn violence in the beautiful game? All our bad. We're so sorry.
Lou the Gunneress
Paulo - Yeah I saw that, I did an article on it too. Disgraceful.
What a ******** brilliant Article LD.
you might need to update this brillent piece of work LD to put in that tosser adrian durham from talksport. he also thinks he was lucky to get a yellow, god what world do we live in here.
Tell me what is the point of writting a story long piece with the title "does gallas deserve the arsenal captiancy" ? Viera , Adams - well they behaved mighty fine didnt they? Jezus. NO sort of empathy ? MAybe trying to uderstand the players fellings? No? But we can at least simpathyse with Taylor . What is the poor guy going through....
Paulo Gun
would tiny taylor have used the same 'downward stamping with the bottom of his boot' motion to 'gain control' of the ball had eduardo not been there challenging? if taylor wasnt trying to gain control of the ball, what was he doing? trying to break up play? surely he can judge the velocity of the ball, eduardo, and himself and see that he isnt going to get the ball? im sure he did want to shatter eduardos leg, but just because the 'outcome' was the worst possible, all other 'outcomes' didnt include gaining control of the ball - so i believe wenger shouldnt have retracted his statement, what IS he doing on a football pitch?
I do not write as often as I read, but this is truly well written. Just cos Taylor is English is that reason enough to support such a life threatening tackle. Glad Eduardo is made of sterner stuff as he has proven all through I life. Just trust the Lord God he will pull through this
Paulo Gun (Is that for Maldini), well said
Oh my God:
Lou the Gunneress
lets sympatise with Taylor and lay into Gallas. I for one think it all boils down to jealousy. They wish they can just accuse arsenal of only playing foreigners and yet, they know deep in their hearts that arsenal players are better than any England ever had
Hey hey latest update from the club - THANK GOD it's not as bad as it could've been! 9-month recovery process -
Lou the Gunneress
Lou - so perhaps it's more realistic that he'll be ready for first team action in 12 months, just in time for next season's title charge!
TeamSpirit ( is that for this years special togetherness ?;) as much as Im not italian my girl like most females has a soft spot for Maldini and is a Milan fan (yeh, I know- tough days) ,maybe Paulo was a subconscious choice, in the end thats how she calls me;)Anyways, Your point is just as vital TS
Paulo Gun
Look lads, we know how it is...every time one of our lads has a bit of a spat the tossers in the media always jump on it...I have given up listening to Richard Keys and his Ar**les at half and full time. They can't slag us football-wise so they have a go any way they can. And by the way...did you see that according to Darren Fletcher we have been damaged by the beating at OT ?.....I am sure Dudu had that in mind as he foolishly put his leg in the way of Taylors rush for the ball...what a tosser Fletcher is...
what can we do about it LD, we are always wrong, always the one to be blamed. those birimingham *****s are talking like it's their player who has broken his leg, and just imagine if it was Eduardo who would have broken Taylor's leg. wonder how they would have reacted. and that Keys is a ***** anyway. he is a guest on the first edition show every week in our part of the world, and every week, we have to hear his anti Arsenal rants. all i can say is, all this, every little thing, the players must use to take them to their first league title. it's not just about the title now, it's personal, it's about our friend Dudu, our club's honour, our manager's honour and the team's honour, so keep coming up with such good pieces LD, it charges me so much, i wonder how much it will motivate and charge up the lads..
But Paulo, it's Paolo in Italian. Yours is more like a Coelho wannabe than a Maldini wannabe lol
Lou the Gunneress
Oh and now that we know it's "just" a broken fibula and dislocated ankle joint, we Gooners should also apologise for over-reacting to those reasonable "fans" who asked us "is't not like he's dead is it?" I'm sorry about my hysterical behaviour in the past 3 days too.
Lou the Gunneress
That's true Lou , my names Paul, so its a hybrid of a username.
Paulo Gun
I for one am sickened. People seem to feel more sympathy for Taylor than they do the injured player, I read somethings like ''He is now receiving death threats'' ''He is really a nice bloke'' etc. The end of the day he was wreckless the more people try and justify and excuse his actions is the more things like this will occur, eventually players will not want to play in the premiership. Football is football if the only way you can play is by being ''gritty'' you shouldn't play.
Your right Gunners. But then again, we are in a country where we provide nice lives for criminals in prisons, give them SKY TV, 3 decent meals and allow them to sue if they dont have striped pillow cases
Gunners and Paul_ownz, talking about being sickened... After running numerous articles in which they keep repeating those sickening photos of Edu’s injury, Daily Mail have now put together a piece with this headline: “Video: Five tackles to make you wince - and Martin Taylor feel less guilty”. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT??!??!?! They really are running a collection of terrible videos of injuries in the past and given each of them them an “ouch rating”. HOLY COW! To feature horrendous injuries with ratings is sick (and sickening) in itself. To add that “make Martin Taylor feel less guilty” bit in the headline is nothing short of cheap and shameless!! Am I the only one surprised how these sick people "celebrate" all this grit thing?!?!
Lou the Gunneress
Whilst there is considerable sympathy for Eduardo, so of the reaction is now becoming, frankly hysterical. Martin Taylor has now met with Eduardo to offer his apologies and would have done so earlier had not Eduardo been in surgery. The comments made by the Birmingham players are simply a reaction to some of the ludicrous comments made, and it is noteworthy that Wenger withdrew his initial comments. Taylor doesn't have a dirty player reputation. He is not Andoni Goikoetxea reborn. It was a red card but unlike deliberate fouls perpetrated by Keane on Haaland and Thatcher on Mendes, it is clear that Taylor tried to poke the ball away, and as Eduardo had not correctly planted his foot, unfortunately caught it at an awful angle. Yes it was a red card. Is Taylor Beelzebub? No. Calls for him to be banned for a lengthy period are wrong. There have been far worse tackles this season, gone unpunished because they have not caused injury. Do we punish the guy who poorly times a tackle which results in a bad injury whilst letting those who set out to maim and failed to, continue to play? Regarding Gallas, whilst one sympathises with his feelings, his behaviour was uncaptainlike. There are many sports where players have witnessed awful injuries - rugby, cricket, American football where paralysis has occured - the team captain has pulled himself and the team together and shown leadership. What if the McFadden penalty been initially saved but because Arsenal were a man short with Gallas sat in the centre circle, Birmingham were able to grab the rebound? Regretably, whilst a captain is only a human being, more is and should be expected of them.
Bran Mak Morn
a bit touchy are we not? Hows Mad Silly Billy today?
I'm not saying Taylor is the be all and end all to this problem, but for Birmingham's players and managers to issue insults against the manager and seek to defend the tackle is cowardly and unclassy in the extreme. You're right Brian,Wenger retracted his initial statement, one that was made in the heat of the moment. So why Kelly, Larsson and McFadden have sought to make these comments in light of this I've noidea. But it's quite appalling.
Little Dutch
..and on and on and on. eduardo is not the first player to brek his leg by the way. grow up, if your team is so good you can win without him surely.
How you feelin today merlin,ya class-less fecking gimp.
If you don't like it uniteduntilarsenalwintheleagueatwhichpointillprobablysupportthem, bugger off skimate. I for one,wouldn't miss you.
Little Dutch
and on and on, u4l your not the first manc to be an obnoxious little $hit,but you are rising up the list of most repulsive,grow up
fran merida
It's not so much what we can win or can't win without him it's about his current condition united4life, I suppose people will judge others based on themselves.
Good piece LD. I had a bit of a soft spot for Brum, considering how many Arsenal kids go there, but this sort of reaction is truly stunning. The Brum players still focussing on Wenger's comments after he retracted them makes no sense - only to shift the focus away from Dudu and that tackle. Some of the excuses for that tackle are pathetic, and these *****s are/were professional footballers.
Bran Mak Morn. I can understand your views on some of the comments made. Though it is fair to say that Wenger has withdrawn any 'excessive' comments and even Arsenal players have agreed that Taylor wasn't malicious. But your view of the tackle and misunderstanding of what was wrong with it is at the core of this whole argument. Taylor had no idea that he would get the ball when he went into the tackle. McLeish even said that he 'dived in'. You, along with others seem to shift the blame onto Eduardo for not 'planting his foot right'. It has nothing to do with where Eduardo planted his foot and everything to do with where Taylor planted his. He went into a tackle unable to control it, with no real chance of winning the ball and ended up going over the top of the ball and breaking Eduardos leg. Taylors choice, Taylors decision, Taylors fault nobody elses. It was a reckless challenge - the footballing equivalent of closing your eyes, jumping a red light and hoping for the best. It requires a simple grasp of common sense to see the neccessity and value in removing these tackles from the game. Defending Taylor as a nice guy doesn't excuse his recklessness and making him the victim for his own stupidity is frankly nauseating.
Just when I thought the English media couldn't sink any lower, now this:
Lou the Gunneress
Amos, I admire your patience. Seems like we have to keep explaining things already said and not make it sound like we're "whinging again" and hope for a bit of common sense to prevail.
Lou the Gunneress
Amos, I'm not seeking to put blame anywhere. It was extremely unfortunate that Taylor caught Eduardo where and when he did. It was the start of the game and everyone's getting up to speed. I am not so sure it was reckless. Clearly Taylor looked to knock the ball straight up the pitch, parallel with the touchlines and the speed of Eduardo caught him out. He didn't actually catch Eduardo high suggesting he was aiming at the ball. He might have dived in but it was not with malicious intent and while no-one is seeking to blame Eduardo, the vilification of Taylor for a tackle which 99.99% of the time results in no injury is also wrong. Clattering a player with an elbow is malicious, deliberately targetting a player in the air when they cannot defend themselves is malicious. I bet if there was a clock on the time where Eduardo kicked the ball and Taylor made contact, it will actually be a short period of time compared to many 'late' tackles. Very nasty injuries occur in all sport and whilst we focus on this one because it has, we lose sight of even worse assaults (they can't be called tackles) which are ignored because they don't cause injury.
Bran Mak Morn
That may be so Bran, but honestly, the ball was grounded at all times, so how did Taylor's foot land so high on Eduardo's shin? It takes thought to go in that high, your leg does not involuntarily move itself that high up when you go into a tackle. The analogy I'll use again is that, say Stephen Kelly rolls the ball back towards him 3 minutes into the game, does Taylor swing high over the ball, completely missing it as he attempts to clear? If that's the case, Martin Taylor is a quite dreadful footballer. I'm not saying he intended to hurt Eduardo as badly as he did, but I also don't think he was 100% focussed on getting the ball either.
Little Dutch
Bran, You need to get clear this distinction between malicious and reckless. Just because he didn't mean to injure anyone, it doesn't mean that that it was a tackle he should have made. If you cannot make a controlled tackle with a very good chance of getting the ball WITHOUT injuring the other player then he shouldn't make the tackle. If he 'dives' in, at speed with his leg extended and foot off the ground hoping for the best he is being reckless - and dangerously so. He has no idea what sort contact he is going to make with the player or the ball - he has just 'dived in'. As a player you have a duty to ensure your actions do not injure another player. Elbows in the face don't usually cause lasting damage though they occassionally have more serious consequences. Reckless, uncontrolled challenges don't always break peoples legs but they are much more dangerous than swinging an elbow. Players like Taylor need to learn the lesson that uncontrolled tackles are dangerous and that a tackle should only be made when there is a better than 50-50 chance of winning the ball and minimal risk of contact with the player.
Poor old Tiny, thanks for putting it into perspective LD, I hadnt considered it from his side!
i hope birmingham will be relegated for all their insensitivity. we loaned them players when they needed ones. in the end, they not only didn't appreaciate, they talked **** about us eventhough they did wrong.
Little Dutch, I think when you slide in for a tackle you foot does automatically leave the ground so that your studs aren't caught in the turf. I've seen much worse tackles go completely unpunished. Ultimately we don't want to take away the physical part of the game so there needs to be a system, where if a malicious or reckless challenge goes unpunished on the pitch, the referee should see the game on video again and decide if a yellow or red was merited or even upgrade a yellow to a red. After all you can downgrade a red card so it should work both ways. Footballers from all sides make these challenges because on most occasions they get away with them. I also think players who kick other players away from the play should face retrospective punishment. Whilst there is no physical harm, it creates a state of mind that says its ok to do this. In Rugby they have the citing panel, where a player can be subsequently banned for 'unsporting conduct' - tripping, punching, misbehaving when the refs head is turned - maybe the game would be cleaned up if this happens, but unfortunately the narrow self interests of all clubs will prevent this.
Bran Mak Morn
The malicious/reckless distinction is comparable to murder/manslaughter in that one is intended and one is unintentional but careless. in criminal law there is the principle of the "egg-shell skull rule" whereby you "take your victim as you find him" - ie an unintentionally fatal punch to the head of a person with uncommonly fragile skull is no less punishable due to the perpetrator being unaware of the victim's condition. Transferring this principle to taylor, he can't use the excuse that Dudu was "too fast" or that he had his studs grounded. If you go in hard like he did you suffer the consequences of your actions if your "tackle" is the "unlucky" 0.01% ghastly one. A 3 week ban is laughable, as is the sympathy taylor is widely receiving. Like LD, I'm still fuming.
im sick!!! arsene wenger is the once comparing a tackle to a murder.....on the same weekend that 6 children were found murdered and another missing for a week. yes, i am sick.....arsene knows (feck all)
U4L that was just an example for argument's sake, as was Arsene's comment
It wasn't a comparison it was an analogy. Don't they have schools in Surrey?
Little Dutch
Arsene was making the point that Taylor's previous good record cannot absolve him from responsibility for his bad deed. I was trying to say that Taylor's intentions are not the most relevant matter, as whether he was malicious or reckless he still destroyed Dudu's leg.
Top work Dutch. Well played mate.

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