The Season of the Kicks (Same old same old)


Rich makes his debut @Whatsinaname81

Close to halfway through the first season of the new era – Post AW, AAW, whatever- at Arsenal. A period of great change. Some, myself included, hoped that change might just include both a new beginning with the officials who oversee our matches, and other influential parties. It’s still relatively early, but recent events suggest that on that front it is, alas, whatever the Spanish or English is for ‘plus ca change’.

Aggression against us has spiked in recent games and, on the whole, been rewarded. The teams using extra aggression and foul play have gained benefits from it, meaning a commensurate loss for us – in terms of the odds of a good result, and those of staying injury free- and none of the referees involved appear to have had the capacity to deal with this properly.

We have lost one key player to a 9 months to a year injury from a clear foul, unpunished, and seen another 3 leave the pitch injured, with one directly the result of a foul, and the other two of unknown origin. We saw our recently returned club captain left hobbling from what looked a nasty, late deliberate foul, unpunished.

 Our emerging young French talent was fortunate to leave the field in one piece after an utterly wild and out of control smash on him which should have yielded red, but didn’t. For good measure, late in that game he was, well, an opponent stopped him by grabbing hold of his hair. Not quite one to make the blood boil, as it carried no injury threat, but all the same an offence recently judged worthy, in the cold, retrospective light of day, of a red, but here a free kick would do.

Then, of course, the rotational fouling, or just the fouling. A constant. So much so that it’s almost a surprise when an opponent doesn’t grab, push or kick when in position to do so. These for the most part, are viewed as nothing, free kicks given less than half the time, avoiding totting up procedure entirely. Given how unconcerned the refs are with them, you wonder why the opponents keep doing it, as presumably it confers no advantage. Silly them.

There is the argument- if you believe any of this is accurate- that the only solution is to reciprocate in kind – if you can’t beat ‘em…- but, judging by how it went when we tried joining in and seeking the benefits of the play-acting, unnatural fallin’ etc, that is rife in the league, that may not go so well.

In truth, I’ve tried a number of times to leave this thinking behind, to experiment with seeing it differently, up to taking the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind treatment if it comes on the market. To no avail. I tend to be doing alright- suspiciously- when the going is good and we are getting results. But the real killer for me is should a serious injury occur as a result of clear foul play. In that case, I’m off. With the new injury joining those that have come before, and all the old grievances, distrust and anger rising back up.

And so to Holding. Categorically not in the same league of foul play as the worst of the past, and when measured only by itself…a what? Yellow for me, given it was so late, was cynical, evidently did lead directly to plenty of harm, had to be deliberate, and the ball was nowhere near. But, no, clearly I would not have been angry about it as, for instance, I was Rojo’s foul, had it not led to a big injury. I wouldn’t have even known there had been a foul had I not seen the quick replay afterwards as they checked what had happened to Holding. Crucially, though, to my discontent, I would not have known it was a foul either- the fateful late kick around Holding’s shin, causing the knee to buckle, had I not spotted it myself, then recorded it and watched it back a number of times.

This was the chief cause of unhappiness for me in the days that followed : it was not described as a foul anywhere. Not by the commentary team, and not by anyone within the media. And yet, there it is in the video, a clear foul. So, why does that even matter?

It matters to me, a lot, because it allowed there to be no connection made between our opponents aggression on the night and our player picking up the bad injury. That’s aggravating on the justice front but far graver is how it fits into a pattern stretching back over a decade, which has done us serious harm as a club, and had a dramatically negative effect on at least three top international players of ours. That matters.

The pattern, in short, is of teams being allowed to push and break the rules in terms of aggression fair and foul, penalising us within games and leaving our players at far higher threat to injury than they should be. Crucial to this, aside from the input of referees, is how our games are covered and reported. It would not be possible, the approach to us, in my opinion, if we could only rely on fair, honest, accurate and reasonable reporting, the type which, among other things, draws attention to the connection between foul play against us and the statistic-busting (three horror injuries from horror fouls in 4 seasons at one point. Not normal) injuries we receive from foul play. The Holding incident fits perfectly into that pattern.

Imagine if it had simply been reported, without any particular vehemence nor condemnation, that Utd, in line with their manager’s battle cries beforehand, were extremely aggressive in the match; that the ref was highly lenient in a variety of ways (totting up, yellow threshold, red threshold); that one of the fouls led, unfortunately, to a very serious injury, although it was not an especially bad foul, the injury could not be predicted, etc (however you can imagine your imaginary commentators saying it, with any degree of conviction you like, that Rashford, although guilty of a foul, was not to blame in a serious sense for the injury, which was sheer rotten bad luck).

Still imagining, these commentators also note, calmly and without condemnation, that Rojo was surely lucky to escape a red, as he has done a number of times previously for wild, dangerous lunges, and that Guendouzi,too, was lucky not to get a bad injury, as he so easily could have.

They also, though this is stretching it now, note that the hair-pulling from Fellaini was- as well as great banter!- an offence an opponent of his was handed a retrospective three game bad for, so if the ref saw it, and he did give a free kick…who was wrong…the team who administered retrospective punishment- red offence- for the pull of Fellaini’s hair, or the ref who saw the same  as a free kick only? Or, hell, muse on whether the rules have since changed, or if he did in fact actually see it. (or, later now, in the days after, whether this whole retrospective system is badly flawed, given the huge inconsistencies the ‘seen it, can’t re-referee it’ loophole insists upon). It was a Mcmanaman commentary so no one could claim there’s no time for such musings as other, better things are being said.

If we’ve imagined that far, we can try imagine what impact that commentary- including the plain acknowledgement of the long-term injury caused by a foul, and the narrow escape from a dangerous foul- would have on the post-match discourse, public opinion, Marriner’s performance review, Riley and Scudamore’s morning coffee (perhaps together in the offices they share)…and from there, rival premier league managers and players, including those about to play us.

Would it shape the next fixture, and the next? We’re deep in the realms of (imaginary) probability, but yes, absolutely, and in our favour. Reduced injury risk. More pressure on refs to punish foul play appropriately and discourage foul play. A narrative which recognises how teams look for an advantage through fouls, and the clear and obvious link between this, permissive refereeing of it, and serious injuries.

So there we have it, wild, wild impossible imaginings of what, simply, should be. A simple, neutral description of reality would have drawn attention to those things, the facts of the game, the reality of it. And yet it is, sadly, entirely unimaginable. So the cycle continues, endlessly rolling on until who knows when. The [my opinion all, of course] strangely bad refereeing, the simpatico coverage of it, essential to its continuation.

The year lost to the foul which was not a foul. The small yet real contribution that makes to the likelihood of more bad refereeing, increased injury risk, etc. On and on. Plus ca change, amigos. I think only years of intense, sustained, bone-deep cynicism, pitched at precisely the same level as the opposition, in all departments, on and off pitch, could alter the landscape. Hope not but I canimagine anything else doing the trick.



42 comments on “The Season of the Kicks (Same old same old)

  1. For me a great debut Rich, deserving of a place in the first 11. I just hope the booting at Old Toilet and against the Hudds wont be the pivotal moment in our season, the moment when we were starting to be taken seriously and then got a good kicking.
    More from you soon, I hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said Rich.
    Some of these refs are either on orders, direct or perceived from above, or they are shit at their jobs, one of which should be protecting players.
    Many of these fouls are not disguised and right in front of officials yet they do nothing, until at least the second half. This provides an open invite for lesser cloggers as well as the more skilled practitioners to kick our players out of the game. These refs are not following or applying the rules of the game. I would love to know why their blind eye is so selective, let’s see what happens if a bunch of cloggers tried to kick, say Liverpool out of a given game, as well as how the media would report it.
    And I don’t have the stats, but is it a case, the longer our unbeaten run went on, the more of a threat we became, the worse it got? Perhaps the NLD ruffled a few more feathers.
    Sadly, I think it has got to the time of putting a few more shitkickers who can play in our side to add to the one or two already, not because I want to see this, but perhaps there is just a chance such an approach might make those under orders to hit our players think twice. The going down easy route clearly won’t work for our players, for whatever reason we are treated very different to Liverpool, City and Tottenham on that front.
    But even more important, representitavives of the club, armed with what I am sure are readily available stats should be taking this on.
    For reasons that I am convinced go along way back to Fergies pomp, Mike Riley isn’t going to change anything for the better, certainly for this club. It cannot help that the PGMOL in this country are effectively governed by the Prem League rather than the nations football federation either, not saying the FA are perfect btw.
    If he hasn’t done so already, would hope Raul and co are being a little more proactive and perhaps less political behind the scenes than their predecessors appeared to be. Always wondered if the club used to put up with a lot of crap, including issues Wenger regularly spoke out against as they had the blanket of CL football, well, they don’t have that now. Time to protect the players.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great read Rich. It really annoys that pundits and journos deliberately ignore the connection between aggressive tactics and our resulting injuries in the absence of the erroneous narrative that it’s caused by faulty training methods – which were the go-to during the Wenger years.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cheers for comments folks. Now tell me, what’s an acceptable figure for a debut blogger to check in on their creation?

    Think it’s 3 times so far in an hour (ok, 7 or 8).

    By the way, I approve of and like the pic (gif? animation?) chosen to accompany the piece, but if I’d had wherewithal might have gone for LaRusso’s nemesis being told to sweep the leg * or maybe a shot of Daniel himself poised for the crane kick in competition, or reflectively practicing it at the beach.

    *aye, probably sweep the leg most fitting.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I saw the Rashford foul describes as ‘A Collission’ on an online commentary. Utter bollocks

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Collision, challenge, tackle, falling awkwardly, language that veers towards player injuring- ‘Wilshere twisted his ankle again’; ‘Holding fell by the touchline and twisted his knee’- himself.

    Very much in line with how the horrible Mcnair foul on Wilshere wasn’t called a foul anywhere, which is so much easier to do when a free kick isn’t awarded, let alone a card.

    I didn’t know how an ankle could come back for top level sport from that one, and it may not have done properly.


  7. Good write up and clearly the media and refs are gradually showing it is about arsenal… for the bias; maybe they cant recall that AW is out if that was the reason why…

    Hope the team rallies from these past defeats

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We are certainly taking on the right opponent for a conversation on refereeing bias this weekend. Dyche has been fuming at out last two wins at Turf Moor, with our late winners coming through somewhat “controversial” circumstances.

    As for the Ems games against The PieEaters the banning of Wenger for pushing the 4th official followed by the ref ( Mossy?) awarding a 96th minute winner did not do Dyche’s blood pressure any good.

    No bias in any of the games of course imo. Move along.

    Football eh – don’t you love it ?


  9. Andy, you do love that old stopped clock argument.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Matthew 7:3-5 King James Version


  11. Thank you Rich.
    I wish I could write as well as you do. You’ve expressed everything i’d want to articulate and more

    A forensic and objective account of the Narrative in recent weeks.

    For comparison, you recall the bleating from these very same hacks after Columbia tried to clog their way past England in the knock out phase of the WC.

    A telling contrast.

    I don’t recall any obvious red card howlers from the official, and the penalty that was correctly given if I recall for the fouls that are made makes a difference in the these matches (please refer to the Huddersfield boondangle), which is why we have Penelties in the sport. To penalize teams for excessive hacking, especially in the box. I refer one and all to the pelanty count for AFC and their touch count in huge box these past 15 years.


    Liked by 1 person

  12. Heh. Autocorrect is not my friend!:

    < and their touch count in the box these past…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks Rich
    Excellent stuff and a glorious debut. I wish what you had written wasn’t so, but I’m afraid it probably is. The BBC report on Wednesdays CC game is already talking about familiar Arsenal softness despite the match stats suggesting otherwise. I’m going to the Ems tomorrow and shall keep a lookout for the off the ball stuff seldom picked up on TV.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Fins

    Thanks, and yep I remember that Columbia game. They were wild and cynical but I thought England damn near matched them, and Kane put on an absolute masterclass of ‘winning’ free kicks.

    It’s some of the more obscure moments that make an impact on me as well.

    Watched some of the City Leicester game midweek and comm’ Hinchcliffe picked out a very standard Kyle Walker moment- opponent released ball and Walker kept moving forward so his knee/body crashed into back of him with a good bit of force.

    Hinchcliffe condemned it as dirty act, and ended criticism of Walker by saying ‘he really wouldn’t like it if someone did it to him’

    It was all simple, fair appropriate criticism, with the odd thing, as ever, that it was so odd to hear one of those moments so accurately described- you know, if someone crashes into opponent after ball released, it’s normally completely deliberate (players have far better than average control of their bodies, surely), ranges from a little bit dirty onwards, shouldn’t be ignored by refs, etc, etc, and depending on whether or not it carries an injury risk, the fouler would of course dislike it being done to them commensurately to the risk, as all players rightly dread injuries.

    Man’s game and whatever but all falls down and becomes bollocks if a ref isn’t fighting the good fight to spot and correctly punish advantage-seeking foul play. As I said in post, they surely require media allies if they are routinely not doing so properly.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Excellent work expressing the sentiments of many. This perspective creates a dilemma for me – support the team in spirit by continuing to devote precious time to watching matches or get depressed when the matches are unwatchable due to the actions & inactions you so artfully describe. Must admit I walked away from the Southampton match upon making this calculation at 30 minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. So the malcontents blaming Wenger for the poor defensive display during the, season and particularly after the two back to back defeats. I have no words for there biased opinions as when the team was on a unbeaten run it was UE as the saviour and as soon as results were negative blame was shifted to Wenger .
    These idiots have split the fanbase for the last decade and will continue to do so in the days to come. These idiots did not took into account that UE has already changed the defensive line by his own signings as 1 GK 1 CB 2 DMFs are brought in post Wenger so blaming Wenger for any poor defensive display is utter idiotic. I would rather blame UE for not playing our most skillful AMs Ozil & Ramsey on a consistent basis which IMHO has resulted in unsettling our forward play with half of the season gone. I think if the pattern continues as it seems we are selling these 2 we may miss on the Top4 this season. I guess the malcontents will put the blame on Wenger again if we missed top4.

    Rather I would say that if Wenger was allowed to build on the team of 15/16 with a long term contract for the great man we would have been challenging for the title by now surely.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Good one Rich. That is what depresses me about watching football, the apparent lack of equality in calling fouls compounded by one sided or agenda based reporting by the media. Last week we discussed VAR and as AN5 rightly said, yes the technical calls may improve but if a ref keeps carding only one team (or calling fouls on only one team ) then nothing really will change from our perspective…plus ça change, plus c’est pareil as we say here…while they are at it regarding technology, I wish they’d use tech for offsides to, surely a chip could be added to shoes/jerseys where needed to determine an offside or not?

    So will we see our 2 best players starting tomorrow or more BS? I want to give UE my support but am not happy with the selections nor the strategy…we seemed to be playing not to lose for the last few games of the winning streak and now that we have lost I hope we pick up the pace. I know injuries have ravaged the defense but wouldn’t Nacho or El Neny been better in the middle of the D? At least they had played there before….anyways what do I know….


  18. Arsene would have done better with this squad, Torreira would have propelled us along and Wengerball would have flourished.
    Imo, of course. Still, no good deliberately spilling milk then crying about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Good one Rich. That is what depresses me about watching football, the apparent lack of equality in calling fouls compounded by one sided or agenda based reporting by the media. Last week we discussed VAR and as AN5 rightly said, yes the technical calls may improve but if a ref keeps carding only one team (or calling fouls on only one team ) then nothing really will change from our perspective…plus ça change, plus c’est pareil as we say here…while they are at it regarding technology, I wish they’d use tech for offsides to, surely a chip could be added to shoes/jerseys where needed to determine an offside or not?

    So will we see our 2 best players starting tomorrow or more BS? I want to give UE my support but am not happy with the selections nor the strategy…we seemed to be playing not to lose for the last few games of the winning streak and now that we have lost I hope we pick up the pace. I know injuries have ravaged the defense but wouldn’t Nacho or El Neny been better in the middle of the D? At least they had played there before….anyways what do I know….

    I want my Arsene back too but unfortunately that ship has sailed

    Liked by 2 people

  20. George agreed. The idiot Wobs think they have got UE and he is an upgrade on Wenger but let me say that UE will struggle to fill the great man boots.
    We are 5th in the league now and the Wobs desire to win the league after Wenger’s exit seems to have taken a massive nosedive.

    Let there evil plan fail……..


  21. Being a good coach, in fact being an employed coach, is about solving problems. We shall see what problems Burnley pose tomorrow and how the coach, through the players, respond. From the “rumours: (ahem) it seems our German midfield maestro will be on the field. It would certainly gladden my old Arsenal heart to see Mesut put in a stellar performance, or even just a pretty good one. Surely teams like Burnley were created for teams like us to play, and footballers like Ozil to shamelessly torment ?

    Or have I misunderstood …!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Anicoll will be great to see Ozil on the pitch.

    Can we expect Ramsey on the pitch as well tom?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. No reason why not Ro – We face a club with just one in the past ten PL games. Back three ? Defensive midfielders ? My arse.

    The last time we dropped a point against a team at home in the PL relegation zone was 2008. I want to see a bit of ‘go’ in the players from the first whistle. Let us rattle up a proper score.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. We need Ozil, Ramsey and creativity . Let’s go in leading at half time for once and get the flowing game back

    Liked by 1 person

  25. rich you make an interesting point about players knowing what they are doing when they keep their momentum going so that they can crash into the back of an opponent, its along the lines of something Johnny Giles has said many times, he stated that its not normally accidental when a player rakes or even stands on an opponents leg or foot, cos any half decent pro footballer knows exactly where they are putting their foot, and that its wrong for ex pro pundits to make excuses for such incidents.

    whatsinaname I would say that you have underplayed the guendouzi hair pull by MF, now I will admit that I have not got a good recall of the incident, so can’t remember how fast Guendouzi was traveling, but if he was running fast then being stopped by a pull of his hair would have been very dangerous, its the sort of thing that is a straight red in the oh so macho sport of Rugby, cos such a foul snaps back the neck, very much in the same way a clothes line tackle does, maybe even worse. Of course the less speed the player is running at the less likely its to cause major injury. By the way as you said Huth got a 3 game ban for pulling Fellaini’s hair, and that was in a more static incident at a dead ball freekick. But in the Guendouzi case as the Ref seen it and did not take card action and did not have the honesty to admit in his report that he got the punishment wrong then the FA could take no further action.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Disgraceful – Guendouzi could have been severely injured by his hair being pulled – by reason of physical or psychological impact it could have been the end of his career as a professional footballer.

    As could have been the catastrophic effect on Fellaini when someone pulled his hair.

    Thank god both of them recovered from the follicle assault and seem, on the surface at least and so far, to have managed to get back to playing a bit of football again.

    At least a three game ban, if not a much heavier penalty and much more severe to ensure it never happens again, seems the bare minimum imo.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. your usual response anicol, laughable attempt to distort the point made,


  28. Andy, I’ve spent most of my life learning how to hurt people, And when you grab their hair, they don’t feel the grab. and so are unprepared for what happens next . Now when running at a pace if “what happens next” is that your head stops, and your body keeps going, a lot of damage can be done.A broken neck could easily be the result. That is exactly why it’s regarded totally unacceptable in Rugby.
    It’s not because rugby players are little girls and can’t take a tug on their barnett.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Kolasinac back in training today, Mustafi and Mkhitaryan are doubts for tomorrow, Mavropanos has returned to training as has Smith-rowe

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I have spent a fair wedge of my life reading medical reports and meeting people who have had serious spinal injuries George – if they weren’t serious no one would bother getting me to talk to them.
    I have no problem about the potential seriousness of the sudden and unexpected cervical spinal insult. Acceleration/deceleration- even organic brain injury could in theory be caused.
    I have never, ever heard of a single case of a person’s hair being grabbed, entangled, gripped any substantial spinal injury being the result. It may of course have happened – but I’ve never come across it.


  31. Well it would happen if it was allowed as a way of stopping athletes in their tracks on the field of play. It’s basically a clothes line technique where they can’t see or feel , the clothes line.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Serious spinal injuries do happen and the cervical bits are more vulnerable than other bits of the back because you have a big heavy round bit attached.

    But to create the mechanical forces to fracture or dislocate a vertebra or pair of vertebrae by grabbing a handful of hair is much more likely to result in the hair coming away from the skull rather than the bone structure of a healthy athlete giving way.

    Imo obviously as I’m improvising here

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Ps I’ve got no problem with a standard 3 game ban. Hair pulling, spitting, slyly grabbing the opposition by the bollocks is all deserving of proper punishment

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Not yet time to start seriously worrying about Invincibles record, but I would hate to see Pool get within ten games of it.

    Just a hunch, but at the moment, it’s only offsides I’ve noticed them doing fantastically well on, but if they are still pushing hard through 2nd half of season, think they’ll start getting big calls at same rate as their last title push- 12 pens that year, majority 2nd half of year. Leics only team to have more- 13- in prem last 20 odd years. Momentum.

    They’re in a good place with a good team, but chances are so much better if protected from an away kicking, nearly every close offside going your way, little or no prospect of an untimely ropey pen against, etc, etc.

    Anyway, think that’s them still at 100% win record for non top 6 opponents this year. Shiiiit

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Oh great, a medical row.

    Tremendous debut Rich, very thoughtful and sadly accurate.

    This isn’t a criticism of the piece but it just feels like we’ve been here for maybe a decade and a half? I’ve lost track. I can’t recall the last time I was more annoyed with a rival fan than the commentary. The continued sanitisation by pundits of serious foul play in that faux jokey fashion of the snide ex-professional has largely ruined the game for me at some level.

    Wenger’s gone so nothing would please me more for AFC to turn into the most cynically brutal side of the league if only to get some kind of extended payback. I remember when Arsenal, for a time, mixed brutality with poetic finesse and how we were hated for it with our ‘indiscipline’, the demonisation of Patrick Vieira, our cards, yellow and red, all given equal prominence as our victories, our leagues and cups and trophies.

    At the very least I’d just like to see our entire team turn on the guy who puts a player out for the season, pulls someone’s hair (regardless of the medical repercussions), dives and lies. Only by making a massive deal out of this shit can the pundits and governors of the game stop ignoring what everyone else sees.

    And let’s face it, at the end of the day we all want to see a spade called a spade with the appropriate sanctions applied at the time.

    Roll on next season, and you know what …

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Think that cynical and all for one attitude could well be coming AA, as UE gradually makes more of his own mark on the team and develops/imports players of that ilk .
    In some ways, it will be a shame, but as you say, Wenger is no longer at the club, and UE is under pressure to get results

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Andy, sorry but in your never ending defence of refs you are once again missing the point. Hair tugging, spitting, biteing even raising your hands or head towards an opponent are straight reds and yes if we want something out of the game then logically extra bans should be in place.
    It’s quite easy if there is something we don’t want in football then ban it out of existence. Once again if the shortsighted refs can’t see it then retrospective action should be taken. The if a yellow is given you can’t look at it rule needs to go and technology should help the refs. Clubs should also be given statements to help explain decisions after all transparency is the friend of honesty and trust.
    Also the picture of that big fat ref from the league cup game should be put of the fridges of all officials as an incentive to keep fit.

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Folks, these interventions never work and don’t want to come over power-crazed after one above the line appearance, but my vote is for leaving ref stuff disagreements among ourselves tonight if poss.

    I’m actually darkly amused or just disappointed with myself that I had to go and have my Liverpool moan just then, when I had the strong feeling earlier that I’d said my bit and would be happy to leave it at that for some time.

    Proof again, I can’t bloody help myself. So long as the games keep coming, teeming with distrust as I am…

    Anyway, hopefully a reprieve from all that tomorrow. One of those early onslaughts I’m not sure we’ve had yet this year would do nicely.

    Ramsey, Ozil, Laca, Auba; Xhaka and Torreira united again; (we’ll forget defence for now as I’m not in mood to think what we can patch together!)

    Liked by 1 person

  39. If you want something out of the game then punish the offence, in this case hair pulling, for what it is, stupid, unprofessional and/or childish behaviour, rather than trying to claim it is an action that will end an opponent’s career.

    As I said I have no problem with a three game ban for hair pulling or spitting or diving in a penalty area or feigning serious injury and trying to get an opponent sent off.

    I do not however think the only way, or even the best way, to deter those unacceptable behaviours is punishment. The best way to improve players’ behaviour is to ensure their employers ie the football clubs have, and enforce, proper standards of conduct.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. New post up


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