Following a festive period that saw Tottenham Hotspur pick up 13 points out of a possible 15 on offer, supporters have been left with plenty of fond memories from a great run of form that’s seen the side propelled up to third in the Premier League table.

The indisputable highlight of the past five games has of course been Gareth Bale’s wonderful hat-trick during the 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa. Although given events at the Stadium of Light only three days later, the Welshman’s sublime efforts at Villa Park have of course since been consigned to the shadows.

Indeed, if Gareth Bale was hoping for something along the lines of a new year and a new start, then the yellow card he picked up for his perceived dive during his side’s 2-1 win away to Sunderland saw him start 2013 in the worst possible manner.

The yellow card Martin Atkinson dished out to Bale on the 29th was his fifth of the season, ensuring the 23-year-old started the year in the stands to serve out a one game suspension during the weekend’s home win against Reading. For many fans, not to mention the player himself, the suspension marked the latest in a long line of grievances their star asset has had to endure this term.

Following extremely dubious bookings for simulation against both Liverpool and Fulham earlier on this term, some feel that his suspension against Brian McDermott’s men represents a fitting hallmark for a player that’s quickly becoming the Premier League’s favourite scapegoat in the common crusade against the division’s biggest con artists.

Yet with each passing yellow card Bale receives, both the Welshman and his supporters’ cries of injustice are beginning to grow both tired and irrelevant in their regularity.

Every time Bale seems to pick up a booking, the retorts always seem to be the same. For the man himself, this fabled reasoning that he’s running so fast that even the briefest amount of contact (and let’s be under no illusions as to quite how minimal the contact with Craig Gardner was last Saturday) gives him carte blanche to go down, has seemed to leave him with something of a siege mentality.

Despite being somewhat in denial about his reputation for taking a tumble, Bale has ambled on defiantly against the perceived injustices Premier League referees have heaped against him. Whether or not he’s actually seen footage of himself diving to win a penalty at the Emirates last season or going down under thin air in front of an onrushing Brad Guzan against Aston Villa this term, we can’t be too sure, but what we can be sure of is Bale’s staunch belief that he’s not doing anything wrong.

Although with only half a season gone and three bookings for diving already attained, enough must now be enough.

You can sit down and contest the three decisions as much as you want, you can loop them over in slow motion or you can project them onto the side of Buckingham Palace if it makes you feel better, but it won’t make an ounce of difference. Regardless of whether he should have been booked in those three incidents, his behaviour this term has done absolutely nothing to shake his tag as a con-artist or to prevent him from attaining the reputation in the first place.

And if he hadn’t had such a reputation, maybe he might not have found himself sitting on the bench on New Year’s Day serving out a suspension. Rightly or wrongly, it seems difficult to argue against the notion that referees are judging Bale on reputation, rather than each incident on its own merits. Is this acceptable? Not in the slightest. Does this mean that Bale can carry on as he has done screaming injustice? Not a chance.

Gareth Bale can’t extrinsically control the attitude of referees but he can control his own behaviour. Because for as flaky as some of the yellow cards that he’s picked up for diving have been, it’s hardly like he’s been maimed down for a series of clear-cut fouls, is it? Collapsing under a touch of the arm from Craig Gardner is hardly ‘protecting himself’ as he likes to call it, or avoiding a Charlie Adam like lunge.

Bale doesn’t appear to be cut from the cloth of someone lacking in intelligence and after two yellow cards picked up for diving already this term, he couldn’t have been unaware to the situation he’d found himself in. Contact or not, going down under Craig Gardner’s challenge was playing with fire and he ultimately got burned.

But he’s becoming increasingly misguided if he believes that the briefest of contact, no matter how pathetically minimal, renders him bulletproof from both critics and referees alike. If Gareth Bale can’t work the puzzle out himself then it’s time Andre Villas-Boas ushered him in the right direction.

Again, no one is denying that he’s been unfairly accused of diving at times this season, but there’s a reason why Bale’s suffering this fate and not his equally as speedy teammate Aaron Lennon. He needs to rein it in, keep his head down and keep away from controversy. A simple way to try and shed the miscarriages of justice that referees have inflicted is to simply not give them the chance in the first place.

The world of refereeing like any other, is one that’s far from perfect and Bale’s frustrations with Premier League refs aren’t without gravitas. But this is the environment he’s playing within and for the foreseeable future, that’s not likely to change anytime soon. This is a fight that Bale isn’t going to win. And until he backs down from his own unflappable personal stance, things won’t get easier anytime soon.

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  • Alex
    1 year ago

    You call yourself a THFC fan? You’re pathetic.

    Reply
    • Dennis
      1 year ago

      There are many things I would call him before calling him a THFC fan.

      Reply
      • Sam Antrobus
        1 year ago

        You fellas familiar with the term ‘blind faith’?

        Reply
  • Nigel
    1 year ago

    I was worried as soon as I heard Bale say “if there’s contact it’s not a dive is it?” Well yes Gareth in fact if you weren’t knocked down, and you had a choice to stay on your feet or go down then yes, it is a dive

    Reply
  • jason
    1 year ago

    With all due respect you say he went down against sunderland because of an arm , have you not seen the knee that he took to the back of his knee at the same time.If you stand still and someone does that your body drops , now ket someone do it to you when running at full steam , i bet you a grand you dont stay upright

    Reply
  • Adam
    1 year ago

    Is he? Seems a fair enough editorial to me.

    Reply
  • Daniel
    1 year ago

    This article is a load of tosh. You try running the pace bale is with a football and get a knock to the leg see where you end up you twit.

    Reply
  • Nigel
    1 year ago

    I am a Spurs fan, and it shames me to say he should learn from a gooner who was recently fouled, was physically knocked over, but he played to the whistle, picked himself up and carried on to score. That’s the way to do it Gareth, stay on your feet whenever possible and ALWAYS play to the whistle.

    Reply
  • SP
    1 year ago

    Could barely read.
    Your argument is faulty.
    You accept that at least two of the bookings were faulty and then balem Bale, anyway.
    Bale got his reputation for avoiding potentially nasty challenges. When Bale is running at full speed and a standing player makes a stamping motion with his foot and retracts it, Bale saw the foot stamping out. He threw himself down in such a way as to avoid it. Make all the outcry you want, like the opposition fans (one of them was at Anfield, and totally ignored the huge number of dodgy decisions they were getting and the attention the vicious, but simultaneously throwing himself down from a standing position when not touched, Louis Suarez). But what would you have had Bale do – jog off the pitch and lose control of the ball? Well, yeah, on the day bale can then put his arm up, ge the ref to watch a vid and award a free kick, I would advocate him doing that. But they don’t, do they! Or would you have him continue running in the ‘hope’ that the player is going to withdraw the threatneing and, IMHO, calculated threat to Bale’s career? Well, it’s not you career and health you are risking, is it!
    The whole focus totally misses the point – which is that the lad is facing bloody ridiculous tackles every game, and, IMHO, sneaky calculated behaviour, as well, to put him off his stride.

    In the latest Liverpool game, where Rodgers made such an issue of Bale diving, for instance, Skrtel had been awarded a yellow card for scything Bale down, when it should have been a red (Brendan didn’t mention that). And it was later when Bale went down, after being fouled, and all of the focus was on whether it was a bit theatrical or not.

    Apart from anything else, these is so much focus on it, and he has been punished for it ANYWAY – whether he was fouled, theeatrical or what. In the meantime, real divers, the ones who are standing still and haven’t been touched and throw themselves down, are being awarded free-kicks and penalties, and when anyone mentions it, that team’s fans start squealing “what about Bale? what about Bale?”. And then there is the ultimate, Louis Suarez, who I have again seen stamping on an opponents standing shin, and then throwing himself down, rolling around and getting up rubbing his head and looking at his hands as if he expects to see blood – when replays show that not one part of the player he has just assaulted has gone anywhere near his head for there to be any blood! And any mention of it and Liverpool fans start squealing “what about Bale? what about Bale?”.

    And the funny thing is, I used to be a sprinter and also played on the wing and I can tell you, categorically, that when you are running at speed like that, and especially trying to control a football, even the slightest touch ‘does’ make you go over, and it is natural to try to avoid injury by throwing your arms out.

    It is bad enough non-Spurs fans being obsessed with the minor sin of his theatrical falls when he is actually being fouled, and then punished, but for a Spurs fan to follow that agenda, to me, is just sad.

    And I have freely admitted, in the past, when other Spurs players have dived, and I don’t like to see it.

    Reply
    • Nigel
      1 year ago

      Good argument SP and well put. I’m just calling it as I see it, Bale is sometimes a little too theatrical and goes down when he could have stayed on his feet. On his most recent booking, perhaps referee was trying to right his wrong of not booking Jermain for same thing earlier in the match. Who was it that dived a couple (or so) years back to get us a penalty against Pompey? Was it Zokora? Boateng? Can’t remember but cheating is a terrible thing to witness at anytime, and that is multiplied by a thousand for me when the cuplrit is wearing lilywhite. Not the Spurs way!

      Reply
  • Ramos36
    1 year ago

    Great atricle! As a Spurs supporter, I would like to say that I completely agree with the notion that AVB HAS to have a quite word with Gareth Bale and encourage him to stay on his feet more. For his own good as well as the clubs.

    The booking for the Gardner ‘foul’ the other day was unfortunate, as I believe the Sunderland player made NO ATTEMPT to play the ball, and every attempt (without really using any significant amount of force)to adversely effect Bales stride/balance and focus.

    But I’m not buying the argument about the slightest of touches being enough to send a 6ft 2 + man, built like a finely tuned machine, sprawling through the air either! Especially, when, as you pointed out, you’ve got a shorter man of equal speed playing on the other wing, who has to my recollection never attempted anything remotely resembling a dive, despite getting kicked just as much!!!

    I think a lot of it boils down to mindset, and to be fair Bale has always come across as being a bit ‘soft’. I mean ‘Arry’ said as much recently. When asked about how he had managed to extract the kind of form we are now seeing from the Welshman, part of ‘Arrys’ reply was “I told him to toughen up”. And to be fair, he needed to.

    Too many times in the past Gareth would take a challenge that would floor him for about 2/3 mins, AND THEN require him to leave the field of play to receive treatment (for another 2/3 mins), before limping back on the pitch, eventually. I mean, as a Spurs supporter you would hold your breath EVERY time he got tackled and went down, for fear that he might actually, SERIOUSLY be injured and out for a large part of the remaining season. While Aaron Lennon, on the other side, gets a kick, goes down, instantly sits up, holds his ankle for a while and then gets on with it. Usually without leaving the field.

    Long story short Bale is tainting (slightly) what looks like being a glittering career, denying his team of goal-scoring opportunities (i.e. Sunderland, where if he had stayed on his feet, Spurs surely would’ve had a great chance to score, again) and depriving the club that pays him so handsomely, of his services, for what could end up being, key games!

    Reply
    • Nigel
      1 year ago

      I agree 100% Ramos, and you put it better than I ever could have

      Reply
  • jack
    1 year ago

    I’m a Spurs fan but don’t think that means I should be blind to faults of the players, it’s clear as day that Bale goes down far too easily. As has been mentioned already, a touch does not mean a foul, he needs to learn to stay on his feet, especially in the sunderland game I think he could have & he was through on goal.

    Reply
  • Scottspur
    1 year ago

    I’ve no doubt that the slightest of contacts could cause Bale to lose balance and fall over, but come on, just look at the way he is going down. Completely agree with the article, but the trouble is that Bale has got into his head, probably due to all the ‘at that speed’ merchants, that he’s entitled to a free kick every time he is touched. Nonsense. As others have said, funny that Lennon never seems to go down so extravagantly. Someone at the club needs to pull him to one side and explain to him that at Spurs, that sort of thing isn’t acceptable, but they’re all probably too scared of him using it as one of a number of reasons to (theatrically) jump ship. Great player, but getting just a bit too big for his boots.

    Reply
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