Aston Villa boss McLeish gets shirty with goal celebrations
Bare truth: Agbonlahor was booked for this celebration
Alex McLeish has won the right to fine players who are booked for removing their shirts during goal celebrations.
The Aston Villa manager decided to clamp down after his stars continued to ignore his warnings about unnecessary yellow cards.
It follows striker Gabby Agbonlahor missing last weekend”s defeat by Liverpool through suspension having picked up five cautions, one of which was for taking off his shirt during a goal celebration against Everton at Goodison Park.
McLeish felt he had to act and wanted backing from the players” union, the Professional Footballers” Association, that players can be fined if they are cautioned unnecessarily.
“Gabby scored a great goal at Everton and had a booking for taking his shirt off so we have to try to eradicate these silly bookings,” said McLeish. “What he did does fall into that category.
“It sounds extremely unfair to do that to a player who”s just scored, especially to the ladies in the crowd who like to see a footballer”s bare torso!
“But, as a manager, I cannot afford it. Gabby was suspended last week partly because of his actions on Merseyside.
“So I”ve spoken to the PFA about it. There”s a code of conduct that now covers it. It might not actually apply on the day but if players are suspended – or sent off – because of it then it does come under, for want of a better phrase, silly bookings.
“It is now included in our own internal disciplinary code because I need to impress on our players that it might be seen by them as harmless.
“But suspensions through unnecessary cautions have cost me and I will need all of my experienced players this season.”
McLeish is one boss in the Premier League who has always given his players time off on Christmas Day and sees no reason to stop it as Villa do not play until Boxing Day evening at Stoke.
He said: “The players will be allowed to have the day to spend with their families.
“I”ve done that at my various clubs over the years and it has worked for me. I”ve always felt the benefits of being at home outweighed those gleaned from training.
“None of the players has let me down yet. And Stoke is only an hour up the road.
“Anyway, I enjoy Christmas Day. I”ve cooked the turkey for the past 20 years. I”m getting not bad at it!”