Posted on Sunday, 27th February 2011 by Steve Crabtree
There’s an issue with Wayne Rooney’s temperament. I wish he’d concentrate on his form instead of his bad attitude and I make no excuses for him in the elbow incident that is taking all the headlines in the media. He was daft, stupid, and was very lucky not to see red for his sign of petulance against James McCarthy of Wigan yesterday.
On the face of it, Rooney was out of order. But that’s one issue out of two that happened in the incident yesterday, and although I’m not supporting Rooney’s actions one bit – that’s not the point of this post.
Watching replays of what happened at the DW Stadium, a second issue was evidently clear to me that has gone completely un-noticed by fans, media and anyone associated with the game.
McCarthy wasn’t as innocent as he may seem. Yes, he got straight up and didn’t make a meal of the blow to the head – but I’m not going to praise him for that at all. He’d already done himself an injustice in the seconds leading up to the clash, watching Rooney’s diagonal run and knowing where he was heading for.
A more wholesome player with moral fibre would have done the right thing for his club, and tracked Rooney’s run – limiting the options for the striker, performing first class defensive duties and in general just doing his job right. However, McCarthy knew exactly what he was doing in moving over and leaning in to Rooney to block him, impede his run, and foul him. He unfairly stopped him from running to his desired position on the football pitch, and if you notice, this was the first offence in the incident.
This was no accidental collision, it was a calculated clash by McCarthy, and no-one has noticed.
Niggly things like this grate on me. It spoils the game. Fair Play…Respect…incidents that jeopardise these initiatives are rife, and when they never seem to be addressed, it makes a mockery of these campaigns.
But, things like this aren’t new, and aren’t right. It’s sneaky, and it’s cheating. Whether or not someone reacts to them is a separate issue, and shouldn’t over shadow the fact that cheats sometimes do prosper.
If I was stood next to a shop doorway, and saw someone about to walk in to the shop and I shuffled over towards them getting in their way ‘accidentally’, knocking them in to the door frame, I couldn’t really complain if I got a smack in the face. It wouldn’t have been right, but I’d have provoked the assault and would have felt pretty silly if I’d have complained about it.
Different scenario maybe, but same concept as the McCarthy foul. And the thing is, sneaky and niggly cheats have always gone un-noticed.
Alan Shearer was the master of the little push in the lower back in the box, before heading in a goal and Denis Bergkamp was all hands, arms and shirt pulls on the blind side of referees.
Dennis Wise slid his hands up Nicky Butt’s shorts and pulled his pubic hair in one incident at Stamford Bridge which caused Butt to kick out at Wise, and earn a red card.
So, while the media criticise, chastise and ‘electrocute’ Wayne Rooney, there’s another issue which is long standing in the game, and completely ignored.
If the media are successful in their agenda of getting the FA to look at this incident again and take retrospective action, I’m all for it. As long as they are consistent and look at the FULL incident, which would not only mean throwing the book at Rooney for his retaliation to being impeded, but also give a suitable punishment to the provocative James McCarthy for cheating.
I already know that the actions of McCarthy isn’t an excuse for what Rooney did, and he should have curbed this problem he has a long time ago. But what are your thoughts on unsporting schemers getting away with it?