Thursday, 18 March 2010

Why should football be about cheating and gamesmanship?

Two telly pundits endorsed cheating in two separate shows on Sunday. In both cases, the reaction of Adrian Chiles and Richard Keys was a rather feeble "fair enough", even though it seemed to offend their sit-on-the-fence sensitivities.
They happened during Andy Gray's Final Word, then MOTD2.
Gray, whose view of the Premier League is now quasireligious, suggested Wayne Rooney's calmish discussion with the ref while walking off at halftime against Fulham, would encourage the man in black to think twice before ruling against him after the break. Another instalment in Manchester United's chipping away at the referee. Sledging, now endorsed by Gray.
Then Neil Warnock explained that Adam Johnson's brilliant equaliser in injury time for Manchester City at Sunderland should've been denied by deliberate handball. 
"The defender would've taken one for the team with a red card and missed a game", but according to Warnock, preferable for Sunderland to test the nerve of a City player taking a last minute penalty then accept a brilliant piece of skill.

That is cheating!

Johnson's winner has put him in Fabio Capello's thoughts on the day David Beckham's England career finished. His exceptional piece of skill would've been buried in that last-minute penalty rather than being enjoyed for a long, long time.

Rooney needed less than two minutes to score the opener for United as the second half resumed. He's got more than enough in his locker not to rely on hounding officials.

If you think I'm being namby pamby - and it should be accepted as "just gamesmanship" it is for me, the slippery slope. Football can't just be about abusing a position of strength over the weak - football matches must be won on merit and brilliance.

Football no longer teaches youngsters about integrity. People like Andy Gray have as much of a responsibility for the game's image as the players out there.

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