Tag Archives: blunder

Brian McDermott refused entry at Bournemouth reserves

Who are ya Bottom of the league and snubbed at Bournemouth reserves… new low for Reading boss McDermott

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UPDATED:

08:50 GMT, 20 December 2012

Snubbed: Royals boss McDermott

Snubbed: Royals boss McDermott

Things went from bad to simply ridiculous for Reading manager Brian McDermott on Tuesday when he was denied entry to watch his reserve side at Bournemouth.

The day after his struggling Royals had been beaten 5-2 by Arsenal, keeping them rooted to the foot of the Barclays Premier League table, McDermott headed down to Dorset to watch his second string in a friendly held behind closed doors.

But a steward at the ground refused to allow him to enter as he could not prove his identity, according to The Sun. The blunder was later realised, but not before the embarrassing incident had left both McDermott and the steward red-faced.

McDermott's reserves went on to win the game 3-0, but he must be wondering when his luck is going to turn with his side already six points adrift of safety.

Bottom of the pile: Reading conceded five against Arsenal on Monday night

Bottom of the pile: Reading conceded five against Arsenal on Monday night

Chelsea staff warned after Rafael Benitez"s tactics taken from bin

Chelsea staff warned to be extremely careful after Rafa's tactics were picked out of the rubbish

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UPDATED:

22:42 GMT, 18 December 2012

Chelsea staff have been told to be extra vigilant after confidential paperwork depicting the team’s tactical secrets were made public.

Scraps of paper revealing the carefully planned tactical ploys of manager Rafa Benitez were recovered from the floor of Chelsea’s empty dressing room after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by Corinthians in the Club World Cup final in Japan.

The scrunched-up pieces of paper are said to have been retrieved by Brazilian journalists and have since been made public.

Insight: This tactics sheet shows how Chelsea plan to defend corners

Insight: This tactics sheet shows how Chelsea plan to defend corners

The Stamford Bridge club will not be
investigating the blunder but members of the first team have been asked
to be extra careful in future.

The pieces of paper show Benitez’s tactics for attacking and defending corners.

In one sheet, which demonstrates Chelsea defending a corner, Ashley Cole is
charged with sprinting out and preventing the short ball, while Juan
Mata lurks on the edge of the area to pressurise Corinthians’
Allesandro.

Offensive: A second sheet shows how Rafa Benitez wants his players to attack corners

Offensive: A second sheet shows how Rafa Benitez wants his players to attack corners

When Benitez arrived he praised the ability of Fernando Torres to defend
corners and he uses the Spanish striker as a key defensive weapon.

Each players is clearly partnered with a player to mark and there is an
instruction from Benitez that reads: ‘Immediately up after we clear 1st
ball.’

What a mess: It is claimed the sheets were taken from Chelsea's dressing room after they left

What a mess: It is claimed the sheets were taken from Chelsea's dressing room after they left

In the second sheet, which shows Chelsea’s tactics at their own corner,
Benitez has written in giant red writing: ‘Be aware of counter attack’
as he was obviously concerned by the pace of the Brazilians on the
break.

Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz and Gary Cahill all attack a zone
coloured yellow when the ball comes in, while strikers Fernando Torres
and Victor Moses split in different directions to pull defenders away
from the danger area.

Liam Ridgewell pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

Ridgewell's bum note: West Brom star apologises after being pictured wiping his backside with pile of 20 notes

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UPDATED:

10:09 GMT, 2 December 2012

West Brom defender Liam Ridgewell has apologised after an embarrassing picture emerged of him wiping his backside with a wad of 20 notes.

The former Aston Villa and Birmingham defender claims the picture was taken to wind up a friend after he won a bet and he never intended on it becoming public.

Ridgewell told The Sun: 'The photo was taken in the privacy of my home around eight months ago as a joke to wind up a mate, who I had just won a personal bet with.

Blunder: Liam Ridgewell was pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

Blunder: Liam Ridgewell was pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

'I only intended him to see the photo but now it’s public, I can understand how it will be viewed. I am sorry for any offence it causes.'

The picture showed the 28-year-old squatting over a toilet with nearly 1000 worth of 20 notes scattered over the floor.

Apology: Ridgewell has said sorry for any offense caused

Apology: Ridgewell has said sorry for any offense caused

The West Brom player earns around
20,000-a-week and the picture is sure to anger fans – especially as
that is the average annual salary in the West Midlands – one of the most
deprived areas in the country.

The picture was sent to the newspaper by a fan who asked not to be named, he said: 'The people of West Bromwich earn a fraction of what this idiot earns yet he makes a mockery of his good fortune like this. It makes me sick.

'We’ve always thought footballers were arrogant, overpaid buffoons and this just proves it.’

The club distanced themselves from the issue saying it was a private matter.

They told The Sun: ‘This is a private issue for Liam that has become public.

'It does not put the club in a good light and we will deal with the matter internally.

'Since Liam joined us 11 months ago, his conduct on club duty has been exemplary.'

Andre Villas-Boas dismisses Hugo Lloris complaint from Didier Deschamps

In one ear, out the other! AVB dismisses Deschamps' complaint over Lloris

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UPDATED:

07:21 GMT, 9 November 2012

Andre Villas-Boas brushed off Didier Deschamps' latest barb over Hugo Lloris after the Tottenham goalkeeper made his first high-profile error in Thrusday night's 3-1 win over Maribor.

Deschamps renewed his attack on Villas-Boas, claiming Lloris was losing his sharpness after being used in a rotation system with Spurs No 1 Brad Friedel.

The France head coach had twice previously questioned the wisdom of Lloris' decision to swap Lyon, where he was guaranteed first pick, for Tottenham.

Blunder: Hugo Lloris was at fault as Tottenham conceded against Maribor

Blunder: Hugo Lloris was at fault as Tottenham conceded against Maribor

'He does not have enough playing time,' Deschamps was quoted in the French media as saying at a press conference.

'He plays one game per week in the Europa League. It is a situation that is cumbersome and not ideal. He is a competitor and he cannot simply play two or three matches.'

When asked how he felt about Deschamps' constant commenting on his goalkeeper, Villas-Boas pointed to his head and said: 'It goes in one ear and comes out the other.'

Lloris' failure to clear a Kyle Naughton backpass allowed Robert Beric to equalise just before half-time in Thursday night's Europa League Group J meeting at White Hart Lane.

Naughton's pass was heavy, leaving Lloris with little time to clear before Beric closed him down, but the France skipper still did not take the opportunity to clear the ball to his side – a move that would have certainly prevented the Slovenians from scoring.

Villas-Boas insisted Lloris still has a chance of making Spurs' team for Sunday's game at Manchester City despite the error.

He said: 'Sometimes things like this happen.

'It happened to us at Chelsea with Petr Cech last year. It's mistakes that make you evolve as a player and I have no problem with that.

'It could happen to any goalkeeper during any game. It will not affect my decision-making.'

Andre Villas-Boas

Didier Deschamps

Loggerheads: Andre Villas-Boas (left) and France boss Didier Deschamps

Who was to blame for the Maribor strike proved inconsequential in the end as Tottenham ran out comfortable winners thanks to Jermain Defoe's hat-trick.

The 30-year-old's triple strike meant he moved ahead of Teddy Sheringham in to eighth place in Tottenham's all-time top goalscorer list.

'That's special on a personal note as Teddy was a player I watched as a kid,' Defoe told ITV.

'He was a great player for club and country.

'It was amazing [to score a hat-trick]. As a forward you get judged on scoring goals. It's the best thing in the world but it was important we won the game tonight.'

Hugo Lloris defended by Andre Villas-Boas after blunder at Norwich City

AVB defends Lloris after blunder hands advantage to Friedel in No 1 battle

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UPDATED:

09:10 GMT, 1 November 2012

Andre Villas-Boas has refused to lay the blame for Tottenham's Capital One Cup exit at the hands of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

The French international No 1 struggled with Grant Holt's header in the dying embers of Spurs' 2-1 defeat at Norwich, allowing Simeon Jackson to net the winner.

But Villas-Boas refused to criticise Lloris, despite the blunder adding weight to Brad Friedel's claims to keep the No 1 jersey ahead of him.

Blunder: Jackson beats Lloris (left) to slot home Norwich's winner

Blunder: Jackson beats Lloris (left) to slot home Norwich's winner

Asked about Lloris, the Portuguese said: 'He did extremely well in the game. He had a good solid performance. It is difficult for goalkeepers in situations like these.'

Speaking of his disappointment at seeing his side conceded lose a 1-0 lead handed to them by Gareth Bale, Villas-Boas admitted: 'It is obviously something that is in our mind at the moment.

'It is obviously difficult but the further you train these situations sometimes the worse it becomes.

Disappointed: Villas-Boas (right) saw his team throw away a 1-0 lead

Disappointed: Villas-Boas (right) saw his team throw away a 1-0 lead

'You cannot match the emotion and concentration players face during the game. We obviously have to do better and try to improve things for the next game.

'It’s a pity to see the game slip from our hands. We had a good performance.'

Luke Varney miss of the century for Leeds – video

VIDEO: Leeds striker Varney offers up contender for 'miss of the century'

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UPDATED:

14:49 GMT, 31 October 2012

Tuesday night may have brought us game of the season in Reading v Arsenal but the Capital One Cup fourth round also produced a contender for miss of the century…well, according to Neil Warnock anyway.

Leeds were looking to upset Premier League side Southampton but fans probaby thought it wasn't going to be their night after Luke Varney’s horrific first-half effort.

At 0-0, El Hadji Diouf had done all the hard work by hooking a ball across the six-yard box, but the Senegal forward and just about everyone else inside Elland Road were left stunned when Varney somehow turned the ball back across the face of the open goal and wide from just a yard out.

Thankfully for the Championship side, it
was to be a rare error from the former Portsmouth star, as the
30-year-old inspired Leeds to a 3-0 victory.

Scroll down to watch the video

Surely not... Luke Varney somehow managed to miss this chance

Surely not… Luke Varney somehow managed to miss this chance

Good and bad: Luke Varney (left) had a blunder and a belter for Leeds against Southampton

Good and bad: Luke Varney (left) had a blunder and a belter for Leeds against Southampton

Varney played a vital role in the lead up to Diouf’s opener and was a constant menace to the Saints defence as the hosts dominated.

Leeds boss Warnock didn't hold back, praising Varney’s massive contribution and getting stuck in to his blunder.

He said: ‘I thought Luke Varney epitomised our performance. He came up with the miss of the century yet was still man of the match for me.

‘He wasn’t feeling well and was sick at half-time. I asked him for another 15 minutes and he gave me 40. That’s his attitude through and through.’

Rio Ferdinand and Sir Alex Ferguson anti-racism t-shirt row – Martin Samuel

Racism debate is too big for T-shirts and tweets, Rio

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UPDATED:

06:55 GMT, 22 October 2012

Rio Ferdinand is right. We're not going to T-shirt racism in football out of existence. Then again, we’re not going to tweet it into oblivion, either. Education, discussion, action. We evolve from there.

Ferdinand, and other black players, may find the white cotton gesture politics of the anti-racism pressure groups facile, but so is trying to make a complex, nuanced argument in a medium of no more than 140 characters.

Some of us preferred the old days, when Ferdinand conveyed his thoughts with a statement more substantial and eloquent than the odd succinct hashtag.

In the red: Rio Ferdinand did not wear the Kick It Out t-shirt before Manchester United played Stoke

In the red: Rio Ferdinand did not wear the Kick It Out t-shirt before Manchester United played Stoke

We're in: Anderson and Wayne Rooney (right) wore the anti-racism t-shirts during the warm-up

We're in: Anderson and Wayne Rooney (right) wore the anti-racism t-shirts during the warm-up

More from Martin Samuel…

A-levels are hard. Just ask my poor son
18/10/12

Martin Samuel: Cagey Roy faces his moment of reckoning after Poland draw
17/10/12

Martin Samuel: English football can teach Serbia how to tackle racism
17/10/12

Martin Samuel: Plumbing the depths of flood and blunder in Warsaw
16/10/12

Martin Samuel: Let's grow up, and stop treating our managers like children
16/10/12

Martin Samuel: Armstrong's cheating means great British cycling boom feels rotten
14/10/12

Martin Samuel: Rubbish like San Marino must be thrown out
12/10/12

Martin Samuel: Compromised FA can't lecture us on booze and betting
11/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Sir Alex Ferguson may now wish he had
spoken at length with Ferdinand before giving his guarantee that every
Manchester United player would mark Kick It Out’s day of awareness in
the appropriate apparel, but the requirement to talk does not just exist
within the confines of the Carrington training complex.

The Football Association, the
Professional Footballers’ Association, the Kick It Out campaign, the
Premier League and Football League, all have a pressing need to consult
with the disaffected black players and ask: what exactly do you want

For while most would support
Ferdinand’s right not to rally beneath a standard in which he does not
believe, his motivation for losing faith in some very decent people is
rather less clear.

Does Ferdinand truly think racism is not taken seriously in this country That the efforts of the FA are insincere What more does he feel anti-racism campaigners could do

These are questions that need
answers, that demand detail, precise and insightful; a perspective with
a little more insight than the ill-considered retweet with which he
attacked Ashley Cole.

If Kick It Out are failing black footballers, so are many of the highest profile rebels by not framing specific grievances.

The presumption is that black players
were protesting about Kick It Out’s failure to address the lenient
treatment of race-related offences: John Terry’s four-match ban,
Chelsea’s endorsement of him as captain, UEFA’s weakness when
confronting racism in Serbia, the punishment and traducing of victim
Danny Rose.

If so, say it. Say what should have
happened. Offer a way forward. Public discourse over race has rarely
felt less cerebral. It has descended to the levels of pulp fiction. A
never-ending soap opera of snubbed handshakes, costume changes and
soundbites, offering few solutions and creating ever greater divisions.

Domestically at least, the complexities are so much richer than these crude gestures allow.

Take the Terry case, from the point
of view of the FA. They as good as tore up their rulebook to bring a
charge against the former England captain, once he had been found not
guilty at Westminster Magistrates Court.

It would have been very easy, at that
moment, to consider the case closed. Instead, the FA pressed ahead, and
lost Terry’s valuable services as an England player as a result.

Following suit: Rio's brother, the QPR defender, Anton Ferdinand also warmed up without the shirt

Following suit: Rio's brother, the QPR defender, Anton Ferdinand also warmed up without the shirt

Following suit: Rio's brother, the QPR defender, Anton Ferdinand also warmed up without the shirt

The four-game ban, while considered paltry by some, was the result of a three-man commission taking into account the individual circumstances around his offence.

It could be argued that race-related transgressions should carry a statutory 10-match ban, and maybe they will in future, but the hearing worked with the boundaries as they are now. The alternative is to surrender to lynch mob justice, bending to a media or public outcry. We have to be above that, no matter the appeal of easy populism.

Then there is the timing — Terry’s confrontation with Anton Ferdinand has passed its first birthday now — and the widely held view that the case dragged on too long and the FA should have pre-empted the trial by the Chief Magistrate. Luther Blissett said as much only last week.

Yet, once the police had asked the FA to suspend their investigation to let events in court take precedence, what were they supposed to do

What if the FA had pressed ahead and found Terry guilty and his Westminster trial had subsequently been deemed prejudiced The FA would have been blamed and vilified. They had to comply with the police request.

Of course, many aspects of Terry’s case were unsatisfactory, but they certainly do not show an authority who are unconcerned with race issues. Quite the opposite.

When placing any individual indictment under the microscope there will always be flaws. Not every criminal trial concludes in a way that chimes with the public mood, either, but that does not mean the justice system is unconcerned with right and wrong.

You may wish for sterner retribution for miscreants, but that does not make your more liberal local magistrate uncaring or complacent.

Similarly, the FA commission did not ban Terry for four matches because they thought racism inconsequential; they reached what they considered to be a fair punishment in the circumstances. You are entitled to disagree; but there is no conspiracy.

Not on: Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott (centre) had no intention of wearing the t-shirt

Not on: Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott (centre) had no intention of wearing the t-shirt

Standing his ground: Jason Roberts did not wear the yellow t-shirt at Anfield

Standing his ground: Jason Roberts did not wear the yellow t-shirt at Anfield

Red in black: Luis Suarez

Red in black: Luis Suarez

We don’t care about racism Consider
Terry’s true punishment. Not four matches, but a stigma that will remain
throughout his life. Without substantial rehabilitation, it will be
very hard for him to remain in football beyond his playing career and
almost impossible for him to pursue work in the media.

Could Terry be offered the job Gary
Neville has for England, or the position Alan Shearer occupies at the
BBC Not without the same outcry that has accompanied Chelsea’s
decision to retain him as captain.

There would be a chorus of
disapproval: reaction from Kick It Out, furious back page controversy,
negative commentary and analysis, a lightning vox pop of prominent black
players. It would be a circus.

Just as it is for Luis Suarez,
ignominy is Terry’s real sentence, and it is for all time, not four
measly matches. So, yes, we’re damn serious about racism in this
country.

On October 6, Marvin Sordell of Bolton
Wanderers said on Twitter that he, and several team-mates, had been
racially abused by Millwall fans at The Den.

To date, there has been no public
confirmation of this: from Bolton players, Millwall players, Bolton
officials, Millwall officials, police or stewards.

Nothing even from the other players
Sordell named: Lee Chung-yong, Darren Pratley and Benik Afobe. But there
is an FA investigation.

Not to doubt Sordell’s words, but this
is at present a single source story. The Leveson Inquiry would not
approve; nor would any self-respecting GCSE history teacher. Yet the FA
are investigating. As they should: because allegations of racism have
to be taken seriously, and are.

Indeed, the problem English football
seems to have is that, in its efforts to do racism justice, it has
become fragmented in how best to act.

It is the Judean People’s Front,
arguing with the People’s Front of Judea. T-shirts: on or off Hand:
outstretched or by side Four games or eight Punishment or
rehabilitation

Jason Roberts of Reading thinks Kick
It Out are weak and should be an angry, righteous force agitating for
change; former England goalkeeper David James believes Kick It Out are
redundant busy-bodies and simply keeping themselves in employment by
unnecessarily amplifying every dispute.

Last week, it was said that Kick It
Out were under pressure to exclude Terry from Saturday’s T-shirt parade,
if he was available to play for Chelsea against Tottenham. Then Terry
accepted his four-match ban and missed the game.

Immediately, this was reinterpreted as
a snub to an organisation who were, possibly, going to snub him anyway.
The snubbee was suddenly the snubber.

So what was it to be Reject Terry in
protest, include him as a way of showing his contrition, or the Holy
Grail — wait for him to ask to be included, in order to reject him in a
blaze of publicity. Whatever was intended, is this really the best we
can do

When we see what happened to England’s
black players in Serbia, is there not a higher ground, a finer way of
addressing racism than with glorified media stunts

Speaking up: Marvin Sordell was targeted online after claiming to have been racially abused by Millwall fans

Speaking up: Marvin Sordell was targeted online after claiming to have been racially abused by Millwall fans

The most worrying aspect of the
T-shirt protest is that the demand seems to be simply for more
punishment, punishment, punishment, rather than punishment followed by
education and rehabilitation as an example to society.

We presume that Ferdinand is outraged
because Terry was not banned for longer, not because current FA
sentences do not include a process whereby a player can be allowed to
admit his mistake, have what was so wrong explained to him — by his
victim or a proxy — and in time then return to spread the message,
having learned an important lesson.

Punishment followed by banishment is
how we deal with race issues, which is why each malefactor denies his
crime to the bitter end.

This also explains the strange role
reversal in which the offender is portrayed as the real victim, because
the odds are considered to be stacked against him.

Ultimately, instead of bringing the communities together, too much is contentious.

Put it this way: after a year of focus
on race issues are we further advanced If not, then the system is
wrong and the punishment- banishment axis alone is not working.

Even Ferdinand’s collision with
Ferguson has the nuances of the race debate at its heart. Ferguson said
on Friday that his players would support the Kick It Out movement. He no
doubt feels supportive of its good intentions, having endured the
fall-out of the Suarez-Patrice Evra affair.

Maybe he had heard rumours of
Ferdinand’s planned protest and felt by making that statement publicly,
he would box his player into a corner, where he would have no option
but to go along with his manager’s wishes. It was a presumptuous
announcement without consultation, but nobody would dispute Ferguson’s
sincerity of purpose.

In also saying he would back any of
his players who left the field due to racist abuse, he has gone further
than many managers, and certainly further than UEFA president Michel
Platini. Ferguson and Ferdinand are on the same route, but different
paths.

That this will quite possibly play out
as the beginning of the end for Ferdinand at Old Trafford would make
him another casualty of a toxic episode for English football.

‘He’ll be dealt with,’ warned
Ferguson, darkly, which was an unfortunate choice of words to say the
least. Why should Ferdinand be dealt with for sticking to his
principles

Officials stance: Referee Mike Jones and his assistants warm up wearing the anti-racism t-shirts at Swansea

Officials stance: Referee Mike Jones and his assistants warm up wearing the anti-racism t-shirts at Swansea

Did Ferguson not once admire independence of thought as a worker in Glasgow’s shipyards

Whether one agrees with Ferdinand’s stance, or finds it misguided, he is entitled to freedom of expression.

Ferguson may feel the protest a
distraction — and he certainly won’t have been happy that the second
Stoke City goal came straight through the heart of his defence on
Saturday — but surely he should be proud of the fact that his players
are leaders, not followers, in football’s community

Joleon Lescott, now of Manchester
City, has not endorsed Kick It Out in five seasons. He has his reasons
and no manager is entitled to instruct him otherwise.

So Ferguson clearly under- estimated
Ferdinand’s depth of feeling, and in doing so ended up embarrassed when
the player publicly disobeyed him.

Now the issue is one of control. Ferguson does not tolerate dissent, and those who go against him rarely last long at United.

The pair are believed to have talked
yesterday and, short-term at least, their working relationship is
maintained. Ferdinand’s contract is up this summer, however, and at 34
he could be in his final season at the club.

He would have known the potential
ramifications when he made the decision to defy Ferguson and it shows
how deeply he cares. Is it too much to ask, then, that he now
articulates those views, privately or publicly, to the people who
matter, that he discusses the way forward, that he assumes the
responsibility of a man in his influential position

If the FA are to stand accused of not
taking racism seriously, what of those who reduce the subject to a
T-shirt, a handshake, a slogan or a pithy tweet

Martin Samuel: Rio Ferdinand, tell us what to do

If this is all wrong Rio, tell us what you think we should do

|

UPDATED:

21:45 GMT, 21 October 2012

Rio Ferdinand is right. We're not going to T-shirt racism in football out of existence. Then again, we’re not going to tweet it into oblivion, either. Education, discussion, action. We evolve from there.

Ferdinand, and other black players, may find the white cotton gesture politics of the anti-racism pressure groups facile, but so is trying to make a complex, nuanced argument in a medium of no more than 140 characters.

Some of us preferred the old days, when Ferdinand conveyed his thoughts with a statement more substantial and eloquent than the odd succinct hashtag.

In the red: Rio Ferdinand did not wear the Kick It Out t-shirt before Manchester United played Stoke

In the red: Rio Ferdinand did not wear the Kick It Out t-shirt before Manchester United played Stoke

We're in: Anderson and Wayne Rooney (right) wore the anti-racism t-shirts during the warm-up

We're in: Anderson and Wayne Rooney (right) wore the anti-racism t-shirts during the warm-up

More from Martin Samuel…

A-levels are hard. Just ask my poor son
18/10/12

Martin Samuel: Cagey Roy faces his moment of reckoning after Poland draw
17/10/12

Martin Samuel: English football can teach Serbia how to tackle racism
17/10/12

Martin Samuel: Plumbing the depths of flood and blunder in Warsaw
16/10/12

Martin Samuel: Let's grow up, and stop treating our managers like children
16/10/12

Martin Samuel: Armstrong's cheating means great British cycling boom feels rotten
14/10/12

Martin Samuel: Rubbish like San Marino must be thrown out
12/10/12

Martin Samuel: Compromised FA can't lecture us on booze and betting
11/10/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Sir Alex Ferguson may now wish he had
spoken at length with Ferdinand before giving his guarantee that every
Manchester United player would mark Kick It Out’s day of awareness in
the appropriate apparel, but the requirement to talk does not just exist
within the confines of the Carrington training complex.

The Football Association, the
Professional Footballers’ Association, the Kick It Out campaign, the
Premier League and Football League, all have a pressing need to consult
with the disaffected black players and ask: what exactly do you want

For while most would support
Ferdinand’s right not to rally beneath a standard in which he does not
believe, his motivation for losing faith in some very decent people is
rather less clear.

Does Ferdinand truly think racism is not taken seriously in this country That the efforts of the FA are insincere What more does he feel anti-racism campaigners could do

These are questions that need
answers, that demand detail, precise and insightful; a perspective with
a little more insight than the ill-considered retweet with which he
attacked Ashley Cole.

If Kick It Out are failing black footballers, so are many of the highest profile rebels by not framing specific grievances.

The presumption is that black players
were protesting about Kick It Out’s failure to address the lenient
treatment of race-related offences: John Terry’s four-match ban,
Chelsea’s endorsement of him as captain, UEFA’s weakness when
confronting racism in Serbia, the punishment and traducing of victim
Danny Rose.

If so, say it. Say what should have
happened. Offer a way forward. Public discourse over race has rarely
felt less cerebral. It has descended to the levels of pulp fiction. A
never-ending soap opera of snubbed handshakes, costume changes and
soundbites, offering few solutions and creating ever greater divisions.

Domestically at least, the complexities are so much richer than these crude gestures allow.

Take the Terry case, from the point
of view of the FA. They as good as tore up their rulebook to bring a
charge against the former England captain, once he had been found not
guilty at Westminster Magistrates Court.

It would have been very easy, at that
moment, to consider the case closed. Instead, the FA pressed ahead, and
lost Terry’s valuable services as an England player as a result.

Following suit: Rio's brother, the QPR defender, Anton Ferdinand also warmed up without the shirt

Following suit: Rio's brother, the QPR defender, Anton Ferdinand also warmed up without the shirt

Following suit: Rio's brother, the QPR defender, Anton Ferdinand also warmed up without the shirt

The four-game ban, while considered paltry by some, was the result of a three-man commission taking into account the individual circumstances around his offence.

It could be argued that race-related transgressions should carry a statutory 10-match ban, and maybe they will in future, but the hearing worked with the boundaries as they are now. The alternative is to surrender to lynch mob justice, bending to a media or public outcry. We have to be above that, no matter the appeal of easy populism.

Then there is the timing — Terry’s confrontation with Anton Ferdinand has passed its first birthday now — and the widely held view that the case dragged on too long and the FA should have pre-empted the trial by the Chief Magistrate. Luther Blissett said as much only last week.

Yet, once the police had asked the FA to suspend their investigation to let events in court take precedence, what were they supposed to do

What if the FA had pressed ahead and found Terry guilty and his Westminster trial had subsequently been deemed prejudiced The FA would have been blamed and vilified. They had to comply with the police request.

Of course, many aspects of Terry’s case were unsatisfactory, but they certainly do not show an authority who are unconcerned with race issues. Quite the opposite.

When placing any individual indictment under the microscope there will always be flaws. Not every criminal trial concludes in a way that chimes with the public mood, either, but that does not mean the justice system is unconcerned with right and wrong.

You may wish for sterner retribution for miscreants, but that does not make your more liberal local magistrate uncaring or complacent.

Similarly, the FA commission did not ban Terry for four matches because they thought racism inconsequential; they reached what they considered to be a fair punishment in the circumstances. You are entitled to disagree; but there is no conspiracy.

Not on: Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott (centre) had no intention of wearing the t-shirt

Not on: Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott (centre) had no intention of wearing the t-shirt

Standing his ground: Jason Roberts did not wear the yellow t-shirt at Anfield

Standing his ground: Jason Roberts did not wear the yellow t-shirt at Anfield

Red in black: Luis Suarez

Red in black: Luis Suarez

We don’t care about racism Consider
Terry’s true punishment. Not four matches, but a stigma that will remain
throughout his life. Without substantial rehabilitation, it will be
very hard for him to remain in football beyond his playing career and
almost impossible for him to pursue work in the media.

Could Terry be offered the job Gary
Neville has for England, or the position Alan Shearer occupies at the
BBC Not without the same outcry that has accompanied Chelsea’s
decision to retain him as captain.

There would be a chorus of
disapproval: reaction from Kick It Out, furious back page controversy,
negative commentary and analysis, a lightning vox pop of prominent black
players. It would be a circus.

Just as it is for Luis Suarez,
ignominy is Terry’s real sentence, and it is for all time, not four
measly matches. So, yes, we’re damn serious about racism in this
country.

On October 6, Marvin Sordell of Bolton
Wanderers said on Twitter that he, and several team-mates, had been
racially abused by Millwall fans at The Den.

To date, there has been no public
confirmation of this: from Bolton players, Millwall players, Bolton
officials, Millwall officials, police or stewards.

Nothing even from the other players
Sordell named: Lee Chung-yong, Darren Pratley and Benik Afobe. But there
is an FA investigation.

Not to doubt Sordell’s words, but this
is at present a single source story. The Leveson Inquiry would not
approve; nor would any self-respecting GCSE history teacher. Yet the FA
are investigating. As they should: because allegations of racism have
to be taken seriously, and are.

Indeed, the problem English football
seems to have is that, in its efforts to do racism justice, it has
become fragmented in how best to act.

It is the Judean People’s Front,
arguing with the People’s Front of Judea. T-shirts: on or off Hand:
outstretched or by side Four games or eight Punishment or
rehabilitation

Jason Roberts of Reading thinks Kick
It Out are weak and should be an angry, righteous force agitating for
change; former England goalkeeper David James believes Kick It Out are
redundant busy-bodies and simply keeping themselves in employment by
unnecessarily amplifying every dispute.

Last week, it was said that Kick It
Out were under pressure to exclude Terry from Saturday’s T-shirt parade,
if he was available to play for Chelsea against Tottenham. Then Terry
accepted his four-match ban and missed the game.

Immediately, this was reinterpreted as
a snub to an organisation who were, possibly, going to snub him anyway.
The snubbee was suddenly the snubber.

So what was it to be Reject Terry in
protest, include him as a way of showing his contrition, or the Holy
Grail — wait for him to ask to be included, in order to reject him in a
blaze of publicity. Whatever was intended, is this really the best we
can do

When we see what happened to England’s
black players in Serbia, is there not a higher ground, a finer way of
addressing racism than with glorified media stunts

Speaking up: Marvin Sordell was targeted online after claiming to have been racially abused by Millwall fans

Speaking up: Marvin Sordell was targeted online after claiming to have been racially abused by Millwall fans

The most worrying aspect of the
T-shirt protest is that the demand seems to be simply for more
punishment, punishment, punishment, rather than punishment followed by
education and rehabilitation as an example to society.

We presume that Ferdinand is outraged
because Terry was not banned for longer, not because current FA
sentences do not include a process whereby a player can be allowed to
admit his mistake, have what was so wrong explained to him — by his
victim or a proxy — and in time then return to spread the message,
having learned an important lesson.

Punishment followed by banishment is
how we deal with race issues, which is why each malefactor denies his
crime to the bitter end.

This also explains the strange role
reversal in which the offender is portrayed as the real victim, because
the odds are considered to be stacked against him.

Ultimately, instead of bringing the communities together, too much is contentious.

Put it this way: after a year of focus
on race issues are we further advanced If not, then the system is
wrong and the punishment- banishment axis alone is not working.

Even Ferdinand’s collision with
Ferguson has the nuances of the race debate at its heart. Ferguson said
on Friday that his players would support the Kick It Out movement. He no
doubt feels supportive of its good intentions, having endured the
fall-out of the Suarez-Patrice Evra affair.

Maybe he had heard rumours of
Ferdinand’s planned protest and felt by making that statement publicly,
he would box his player into a corner, where he would have no option
but to go along with his manager’s wishes. It was a presumptuous
announcement without consultation, but nobody would dispute Ferguson’s
sincerity of purpose.

In also saying he would back any of
his players who left the field due to racist abuse, he has gone further
than many managers, and certainly further than UEFA president Michel
Platini. Ferguson and Ferdinand are on the same route, but different
paths.

That this will quite possibly play out
as the beginning of the end for Ferdinand at Old Trafford would make
him another casualty of a toxic episode for English football.

‘He’ll be dealt with,’ warned
Ferguson, darkly, which was an unfortunate choice of words to say the
least. Why should Ferdinand be dealt with for sticking to his
principles

Officials stance: Referee Mike Jones and his assistants warm up wearing the anti-racism t-shirts at Swansea

Officials stance: Referee Mike Jones and his assistants warm up wearing the anti-racism t-shirts at Swansea

Did Ferguson not once admire independence of thought as a worker in Glasgow’s shipyards

Whether one agrees with Ferdinand’s stance, or finds it misguided, he is entitled to freedom of expression.

Ferguson may feel the protest a
distraction — and he certainly won’t have been happy that the second
Stoke City goal came straight through the heart of his defence on
Saturday — but surely he should be proud of the fact that his players
are leaders, not followers, in football’s community

Joleon Lescott, now of Manchester
City, has not endorsed Kick It Out in five seasons. He has his reasons
and no manager is entitled to instruct him otherwise.

So Ferguson clearly under- estimated
Ferdinand’s depth of feeling, and in doing so ended up embarrassed when
the player publicly disobeyed him.

Now the issue is one of control. Ferguson does not tolerate dissent, and those who go against him rarely last long at United.

The pair are believed to have talked
yesterday and, short-term at least, their working relationship is
maintained. Ferdinand’s contract is up this summer, however, and at 34
he could be in his final season at the club.

He would have known the potential
ramifications when he made the decision to defy Ferguson and it shows
how deeply he cares. Is it too much to ask, then, that he now
articulates those views, privately or publicly, to the people who
matter, that he discusses the way forward, that he assumes the
responsibility of a man in his influential position

If the FA are to stand accused of not
taking racism seriously, what of those who reduce the subject to a
T-shirt, a handshake, a slogan or a pithy tweet

England players took sleeping pills before Poland match

Caught napping: England keeper Hart suffers nightmare in draw with Poland… but were sleeping pills to blame

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UPDATED:

07:15 GMT, 18 October 2012

England nodded off in Poland on Wednesday and dropped two vital World Cup points after some players needed sleeping pills to cope with the game’s 20-hour delay.

Wayne Rooney headed his team into a first-half lead but Kamil Glik equalised 20 minutes from time and manager Roy Hodgson was relieved to hold on to stay top of Group H.

Some England players, who routinely take caffeine stimulant tablets before matches, had struggled to unwind after Tuesday’s game was rained off and those suffering most were given sleeping tablets.

Blunder: Poland's Kamil Glik beats Joe Hart to the ball to score the equaliser in Warsaw

Blunder: Poland's Kamil Glik beats Joe Hart to the ball to score the equaliser in Warsaw

Goalkeeper Joe Hart shouldered responsibility for Poland’s goal after coming out to punch a corner, only to be beaten to the ball by centre half Glik.

‘I came out and didn’t get there,’ said Hart. ‘It’s my fault and that’s cost us the three points.'

But questions will be asked about the impact taking sleeping pills can have on a player’s performance.

Poland mastered the sodden pitch better than the English players, who looked to have suffered more from the disruption of the game being put back because of a waterlogged pitch.

Hodgson said: ‘I had the impression earlier in the week that the players were looking sharp and lively. I didn’t have that impression today. I don’t know if that’s due to the extra night, the sodden pitch or that we didn’t play well on the day.

Main man: Glik celebrates after heading home the equaliser for Poland against England

Main man: Glik celebrates after heading home the equaliser for Poland against England

‘There are days when you don’t hit the heights. You just have to make certain you don’t go away ruing that fact. A point in Warsaw is not to be looked down upon.’

Midfielder James Milner said: ‘You have all your meetings, you go into the dressing room and have your massages, put strappings on, boots on, tie-ups on, are ready to go out and then you’re told to wait and the game is called off. It’s not ideal but you have to be professional and prepare again.’

Hodgson took his team for a walk and a stretch on Wednesday morning and no-one tried to use the delay as an excuse. Captain Steven Gerrard said: ‘When you’re fired up, pumped up and you’ve had your massages and you’re ready to go and then don’t play, that’s not ideal. But we’re professionals. We’re playing at the top level and we had to get ourselves up for this but I didn’t think we were totally at the races.

‘The pitch was slippy, wet and cutting
up. I think it was laid a week-and-a-half ago. So it wasn’t ideal. Both
teams tried to make the most of it and they did it better.

Opening salvo: Wayne Rooney got his shoulder to the ball to put England in front in Warsaw

Opening salvo: Wayne Rooney got his shoulder to the ball to put England in front in Warsaw

‘The surprise was why they didn’t shut the roof the night before when it was raining. But that’s life. We get on with it. I won’t use the delay and conditions as an excuse. The reason we didn’t win was because we didn’t pass it when we went in front.’

The draw means England will be overtaken as group leaders if Montenegro beat San Marino next month and manager Hodgson is looking for a big improvement when his side travel to San Marino and Montenegro in March.

He said: ‘We didn’t play well. We’ve got to be satisfied we came away with a point. We were fortunate to be 1-0 up at half-time because we hadn’t played well.

‘The extra day and stay over, the sogginess of the pitch didn’t work in our favour. But we leave here with a point, on an unbeaten run, and hopefully we’ll continue to progress and get the points we need.’

England goalkeeper Joe Hart accepts blame for Poland goal

Hart admits to costly blunder as England settle for draw in Poland

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UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 17 October 2012

Goalkeeper Joe Hart took the blame for conceding the equalising goal as England had to be content with a 1-1 draw from their delayed World Cup qualifier against Poland.

Hart failed to make contact when he came to punch clear a corner which allowed Kamil Gilk head in and cancel out Wayne Rooney's first-half opener with 20 minutes left.

'I came and didn't get there and the lad did a decent header,' Hart told ITV.

Blunder: Poland's Kamil Glik beats Joe Hart to the ball to score the equaliser in Warsaw

Blunder: Poland's Kamil Glik beats Joe Hart to the ball to score the equaliser in Warsaw

'It's my fault, I should have punch it or stayed in goal. I didn't do either and it cost us.'

Regarding the result, Hart added: 'We've got to believe that's a good point. It's a tough place to come.'

England boss Roy Hodgson conceded the performance was one of his side's worst since he took charge in the summer.

Despite that, the point kept England top of the standings and Hodgson believes it could be vital when the group is decided.

'I don't think it was one of our better performances,' he said.

Main man: Glik celebrates after heading home the equaliser for Poland against England

Main man: Glik celebrates after heading home the equaliser for Poland against England

'There were lots of factors for that situation.

'It was a soggy pitch, a pitch suited to long balls rather than a passing game. There was also the extra 36 hours or whatever we've had to stay after the rain yesterday.

'Having said that I'm pleased with the point. I think a point here away when the group is decided next October may be good.'

Asked if his side gave away possession too cheaply, he added: 'We gave the ball away a number of times but so did the Polish. We can excuse the players because of surface.

'It wasn't one of our better performances but we did get the result. It does give me heart that we still showed character.'

Opening salvo: Wayne Rooney got his shoulder to the ball to put England in front in Warsaw

Opening salvo: Wayne Rooney got his shoulder to the ball to put England in front in Warsaw

Steven Gerrard admitted Poland had adapted to pitch conditions better than England.

'I thought they handled the pitch better than us, which is disappointing but we're not going to grumble,' he said.

'We're disappointed not to take three points and our points tally at this stage could be better.

'But a point here is not a bad result.'