Date:Monday December 21 2009
Treading on other`s toes can cause discomfort and maybe Samir will find that the yellow card he received for his part in the Hull melee won`t be the last of his discomfort from the affair.
In true media fashion Nasri`s tread on Garcia`s foot has become converted into a stamp. Were it truly a stamp it still wouldn`t have been enough to have knocked Garcia to the ground as spectacularly as it managed to do on this occasion. Referee Steve Bennett didn`t see it initially as he had his back to the incident and only reacted to the melee after consulting his assistant. Steve Hunt displaying a previously unseen concern about injury to a fellow player was booked for pushing Nasri , in itself a far more violent act than the weight of Nasri`s foot on Garcia`s instep. Barmby`s reaction was the most violent of the lot, and couldn`t fail to have been seen by either the referee or the linesman, but he got away with it despite the referee showing amazing eyesight later in picking up a penalty offence that everyone else, even with the aid of video technology, still can`t.
Samir`s actions were foolish but I suspect they had a little more to do with the way that some Hull players went about their task. It was more likely an act of retribution than the petulance it comes across as. As Captain Almunia later told it: "When the opponent is just making fouls and stopping us play football, everybody reacts, it is a natural thing for a footballer" then adding "When it is not all the team, but one or two players who are very nasty, you react. I did it sometimes in the game with Hunt."
TV is all seeing and there is little that a player can get away with if the cameras are directed at an incident but treading is something that takes place in the game far more often than the cameras pick up. Lehmann was regularly targeted in such a way, not least because he was so easy to wind up. The last time we won the title at White Hart Lane (it has been more than once) it was Keane treading on Mad Jens foot that caused the crazy kraut to launch himself at Keane`s head to concede a late penalty that deprived us of the victory to embellish our title triumph.
Keown suffered similarly at the feet of van Nistelrooy in a game at Highbury a few seasons back. In an off the ball incident miles away from the action, Sky Sports, then a shareholder in Manchester United, picked up Keown pushing the horsefaced forward who fell to the ground as though hit by the proverbial sniper`s bullet. Sky replayed the incident incessantly for days afterwards and eventually the FA banned Keown. What the Sky cameras cynically failed to show was that van Neighstelrooy was standing on Keown`s foot at the time.
Depending on Bennett`s report and how quickly the FA disciplinary committee reacts Samir risks missing the Villa game which along with the current midfield injuries isn`t a welcome consequence of his act of foolishness. If the FA takes their responsibilities seriously some Hull players won`t welcome a close study of the incident either but that gives little comfort to us. Samir will have to learn to tread carefully in future.
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Date:Monday December 21 2009
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