Not what kind of player?
By @geordiedentist
Monday 18 Mar 2013 16:12:00
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I genuinely can't remember the last time a football match left me this angry, bordering on apoplectic, for so long after the final whistle. Football is a game, a game where emotion is always part of the mix.  As my long suffering friends and family would testify whether I'm watching at the ground, at home or in a bar in Al Barsha, no one likes a good shout or a swear at the match as much as me.  The emotional outburst or two is part and parcel of it all. But usually once it's done it's done. I can celebrate, commiserate, laugh, cry and chew over the post match pickings and then it's out of my system, worst case usually after a good night's sleep.  Not today. This morning I have got up and the anger is still raw and I am simmering.

I did have a piece done for my (nearly) weekly ramble (delayed because work got in the way of football) which was full of hope and praise for an amazing 2 weeks; progression in Europe, important Premiership wins and last minute dramas.  That's scrapped now all thanks to a moment of madness that I still can't quite believe I saw, or believe a Premiership referee's claims that he did not.

Callum Macmanaman's challenge on Massadio Haidara was at best agricultural. It was high, reckless, endangered the player being tackled and was in every way you can measure it, wrong.  There should have been no come back. Red card. Yet play was only stopped for a handball after the challenge.  It wasn't even given as a foul.

It's not just the challenge that is wrong here, however.  Nor is it just Mark Halsey's amazing claim that he didn't see it. And neither is it the fact that a linesman stood just as close made no reaction to the tackle.  It is also the unbelievable post match defence of the indefensible made by Roberto Martnez.  And it is the piss boilingly atrocious co commentary from David Pleat I had to suffer on Abu Dhabi Sports coverage during the incident. And it is then compounded by a further refereeing disaster that saw us robbed of a point.  Admittedly our performance in the first 60 minutes probably cost us the other two.  That said where do I begin with all of this?

Let's start with Mark Halsey. I think this match says his time as a professional top flight referee is over. Some would say it should have been years ago and I'm sure we all recall the blind eye he took as Alan Shearer was subjected to personal assault at the hands of Justin Whittle in a cup tie against Grimsby. He seemed to bend over backwards to help them that day.  However yesterday ploughed a new depth of incompetence. That tackle. No action. Hand ball. Not seen.  Awful. I watched Abu Dhabi TV's post match reaction with interest as Dermot Gallagher squirmed his way through analysis, visibly red faced. He didn't even try and defend his former colleague. Couldn't explain it even when faced with a Devil's Advocate question about a player being in the way. Gallagher was adamant action should have even taken. The question is will the FA do anything about it? Relegate him to the championship for a game or two? What does that actually solve though? And don't lower divisions deserve competent refereeing also?  Hang your whistle up Mr Halsey.

But there wasn't just Mr Halsey officiating. What were the linesmen doing?  Why was there no reaction from them for that tackle or indeed for the blatant handball for what proved to be the winning goal? Everyone saw that as well.  How come can Shola on the opposite side of the box be seen immediately appealing in the background while a linesman, looking directly at it does nothing? How come between all 3 of them was so much overlooked? Not small things these. Huge. But it is my feeling that increasingly over the last few years Premiership linesmen are getting worse.  Worse at making the correct call for offside, either unable to keep up with the play or just making a totally incorrect call, and worse at taking a proactive role in officiating. If it is wrong and you see it, call it! Don't just be there to hang your flag out in the direction the referee has given a throw.  Technology should be there to help them. While TV has it and they do not they are increasingly scared of making the wrong decision and being subjected to trial by TV. And so they make fewer decisions, leave it to someone else. Devolve their responsibility to the game, the teams and the fans.  Paralysis by analysis. It has to stop!
And then we come to Wigan Athletic Football Club.  Their lack of class post match and subsequently cannot be under stated.   Roberto Martinez did a classic Wenger claiming he hadn't seen it again and the referee had a clear view of it (who told Alan Pardew he had missed it) and he went for the ball, got a bit of the ball and "he's not that sort of player".  Well here's some news for you. He did it and he is. And it's not the first time is it? No it isn't. Read this. And while you're on have a read of his,now deleted, tweet “@cm_macca: Wow never been so cold on a pitch in me life that was a funny game haha are boys love a tackle.. #chaos #twofoot” . It's "our" by the way you illiterate knacker, not "are".  Then salt was poured by the gallon on the wounds with Wigan Owner, Dave Whelan, making the amazing statement this morning on Radio 5Live that Macmanaman got the ball "clean as a whistle".  I know there's no love lost between our respective owners but this smacks of someone revelling in an injury to one of our players. Add to that the local press suggesting Wigan did not excel themselves in the media area with snide remarks and comments towards our staff and players and the ridiculous over reaction of their bench to John Carver, quite rightly in my opinion, directly questioning Macmanaman on just what he thought he was doing it all adds up to a sorry and embarrassing mess for the Latics. Disgrace.

Something else that really added insult to obvious injury were the crass comments from David Pleat those of us watching on ADTV had to suffer. Initially he was dismissive of the whole affair. Even suggested, Niall Quinn style, that Haidara was over exaggerating.  He then started to eat his words once the replays showed. And then started the apologist stance about how "it's his full debut" "he's a nice lad" "likes kittens" "kind to his gran" rubbish while a young man is stretchered off the pitch. He subsequently then screamed for Perch to be sent off claiming his challenge on Kone was "reckless".  Idiot. He gets paid to spout this as well.  And factual inaccuracy, not corrected or checked. Wonder what his reaction would have been had the tackle been the other way around. Or Tiote had committed it. Death penalty perhaps?  Amazing.  That said post match analysis from ADTV showed a great deal of common sense and proper comment from, of all people, Andy Townsend and Alan Curbishley.  Even in the face of devils advocate toe questions both of them, along with Dermot Gallagher, could not find the words to offer any defence to the indefensible, and that is refreshing and much more significant from people within the game.  I'll leave the last words to another player. Someone who played for Wigan and who is currently recovering from injury in a tackle that was blameless, just honest and accidental.  How it should be. That player is Ryan Taylor, his tweet for me says it all and is damning from one professional footballer about another. @TaylorR1984: Nothing to do with the scoreline an the fact it was a red but as a footballer it's the definition of a 'sh*thouse tackle'

Get well soon Massadio

Follow me on twitter @geordiedentist

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