Forgive me if I’ve missed something, but it would seem recently that the whole of the football hierarchy has gone completely mad. Let me tell you what I know, and please correct me if I’m wrong: Chelsea’s Ashley Cole shoots someone, but is ‘highly unlikely to face any further action’. Wayne Rooney lands a blatant elbow in the face of an opposing player but we should all just forget about it because it was a ‘simple coming together’. On the other hand, we are being told to sharpen our pitch-forks in the hunt for the real ‘bad-men’ of the game – Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. What did they do wrong? Well, the worst offence in sport of all of course, they called somebody a bad name. Dear, oh dear…
Yes, I know, we should all be respecting the referee and other participants of this most civilised of games. But when did we all become so soft? I’m not condoning what either Ferguson or Wenger have recently been saying, and to be honest, I too am tiring of hearing their constant moaning. Let’s be honest, Arsenal were outclassed by Barcelona, that’s the be-all and end-all and Manchester United were nowhere near good enough to take anything away from the games at Chelsea or Liverpool. Anyway, that’s another debate. My point is, hasn’t anyone ever heard of the phrase, ‘sticks and stones’? It would appear not.
This argument is all relative, of course. Compare what is going to happen to the United and Arsenal managers, compared to what has happened to Rooney and Cole. It’s ridiculous. Samir Nasri has recently become another victim of these double standards, as he also called the official in Barcelona a naughty word. Nasty Nasri!
Let me put it into context. Ashley Cole has been given a slap on the wrist and probably will have to do some fake PR stunt for shooting work placement student, Tom Cowan, with an air rifle. Nine years ago at Sunderland, John Oster ended the career of a young full-back, Mark Maley, by shooting him in the eye with the very same type of weapon. Both have claimed they didn’t know it was loaded. Well, that’s okay, then! The Chelsea star should be thanking his lucky stars his victim wasn’t more seriously hurt and isn’t now milking the incident for every penny he can get his hands on. The shooting has been taken out of the FA’s hands somewhat by the Police. But now they have decided they can’t be bothered with the scrutiny charging a famous footballer brings, surely now the game’s governing body should stand up and make a point of such idiotic behaviour? Or are they just waiting for Cole to call him a pudding before they take action?
It all stinks of double standards. We could even go further and look at the hype surrounding the mess of the Old Firm at the moment. Am I the only one thinking the Scottish government have more important things to discuss other than how to get Neil Lennon and Ally McCoist to make ‘friends, make friends never, ever, break friends‘? Apparently they’ve been meeting because the clash of the SPL’s two biggest sides brings about increased levels of domestic violence, but experts have proved this wrong and labelled the powers that be ‘lazy’ for laying the blame at football’s door.
There are some real issues that need sorting in football, and I for one am bored of the FA wasting their time making an example of the big names just because they have been found guilty of being ‘disrespectful’. If that is the buzz word of the season, let me ask another question: is diving not disrespectful to your opponent? Isn’t cheaply elbowing someone, or lunging in with an intentional two-footed challenge also not slightly disrespectful? By all means, if these issues are all sorted, then move on to finding out who called who a name first and then show us highlights of Wenger and Ferguson shouting “but he started it!” at each other. It might actually interest and amuse me then.
For the time being though, maybe it’s time the FA had a quick glance in the mirror before they charge Fergie and co with another bout of ‘improper conduct’. The only thing that is ‘improper’ is they insist on tackling an issue which isn’t really a priority. Managers like Wenger and Ferguson do need to grow up a little and accept that they are not going to win every game, but I’m getting bored of seeing them get in trouble for showing a little passion for the game. Mind you, if they want to escape further punishment, maybe they should just shoot the ref after a game if they aren’t happy. Sticks and stones, and all that…
Want to help me putting the FA to rights? Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@joino