This weekend as the game between Sunderland and City came to an end there was what seemed an innocuous clash between Michael Turner and Gareth Barry as they both challenged for an aerial ball. As the two went up for the ball, Barry fell to the floor holding his face after Turner caught him with an elbow and was sent off by Andre Marriner.
Now when put like that it seems the right decision but when watching the incident, a different story is told. Turner had every right to challenge for the ball and although his arm was used he had his eyes on the ball at all times and there was no malicious intent in the challenge at all. His reaction to his dismissal said it all as he was shocked that he had been sent off, as was his manager Steve Bruce who said after the game:
“The red card was obscene, it was two players competing for the ball. A centre-half going up to win it and I’d expect him to go up and win it. He’s going to miss three games unless the referee has got the guts to rescind it.”
Sunderland decided to appeal the decision, so you can only imagine their shock when such a weak red card saw the initial 3 game ban increased to four after the appeal failed.
The situation appears to highlight a growing trend in this season as the people who are meant to be keeping the game in order have added to or created chaos, with Liverpool’s beachball incident instantly springing to mind.
This isn’t Marriner’s first time in the headlines for making errors, Bruce complained about him when he sent off Kenwyne Jones for pushing Herita Llunga in a 2-2 draw against West Ham earlier this season and Sir Alex Ferguson complained about his performance in United’s 2-0 defeat at Anfield.
The Turner decision will cut extra deep considering the fact that Newcastle midfielder Danny Gutherie only received a 3 match ban for his horror tackle that left Craig Fagan with a broken leg just showing the inconsistancy of the powers that be in their dealings with these cases.
Alex Ferguson has been condemned for the excessive amount of complaining he has aimed towards those in control of the game this season and Steve Bruce faces an FA charge over his comments after the games but when mistakes like this continue to be made, anyone would find it hard to hold their tongue.