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Gareth Bale should have been sent off for reaction to diving at Fulham – Graham Poll

Bale is not yet in Ronaldo's class (for diving) but he should have been sent off at Fulham

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UPDATED:

08:21 GMT, 3 December 2012

Gareth Bale is unquestionably a brilliant player. He is a superb athlete who makes and scores goals for Tottenham and Wales.

As a result he is understandably a marked man – but by opponents or referees

His fourth caution for simulation in two seasons makes him the worst offender in the eyes of referees but his manager claims he is being unfairly victimised as his reputation is going before him.

Sarcastic: Gareth Bale was booked for diving against Fulham

Sarcastic: Gareth Bale was booked for diving against Fulham

More from Graham Poll…

Graham Poll: Sportsmail's expert guide to the referees in charge of this weekend's big games
30/11/12

Sportsmail's expert guide to the referees in charge of the big midweek games
27/11/12

Graham Poll: Foy should know there are consequences for ignoring dissent… just ask Bernie Angell
25/11/12

Sportsmail's expert guide to the refs in charge for this weekend's big games
23/11/12

Graham Poll: Throw the book at Chelsea after false Clattenburg claim
22/11/12

Graham Poll: Adebayor had to go, but 'Jekyll and Hyde' Suarez should also have seen red
18/11/12

Sportsmail's expert guide to the refs in charge for this weekend's big games
16/11/12

Sportsmail's expert guide to the refs in charge for this weekend's big games
09/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

I was called by a Spurs fan who claimed
that Bale’s caution for diving on Saturday at Fulham was a scandalous
decision. I watched the highlights with interest.

Irrespective of whether you think the decision right or wrong, I think all would have to agree that at the pace it was played and the amount of contact with the opponent being questionable, it was a very difficult decision.

Andre Villas-Boas raised a fair and valid point when he said that Bale has suffered a lot of injuries and often tries to avoid contact as the pace he plays at leaves him susceptible to knocks even after slight contact. It is also very difficult for him to keep his balance at such electrifying pace.

Referees will be looking for unnatural falls and the way Bale goes down is dramatic and often not consistent with the amount of contact.

There are obvious comparisons with former Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo, who in his early days at Old Trafford also used to hit the turf on a regular basis.

Having refereed both, I have to say that they are different players at different points in their careers. Ronaldo was new to English football, having come from Portugal where players going to ground is an accepted practise – he thought that was right. Bale understands the Premier League and the expectations within it.

Referees need to study the DVDs of Bale very closely and think about their approach towards him. Why, for example, would he dive in a neutral position in midfield

Tumble king: Cristiano Ronaldo, now at Real Madrid, used to hit the turf with regularity while at Man United

Tumble king: Cristiano Ronaldo, now at Real Madrid, used to hit the turf with regularity while at Man United

Could it be that he is wary of getting
injured and is pulling out of challenges – not to ‘con’ the referee into
giving a free-kick, but to avoid injury

Is he appealing for the free-kick or just getting up and on with the game After all, when a referee is unsure there is nothing wrong with playing on in such a situation.

Perhaps a meeting between a senior referee and Bale and his manager would help each other see the opposing viewpoint. At that meeting, I would hope that the referee’s side would point out that whatever the decision, Bale should not applaud sarcastically as he did on Saturday. That should have resulted in his dismissal for a second caution.

Good week for… Mark Clattenburg

He made a brilliant and vital decision at the Emirates on Saturday. As Oliver Giroud appeared to go clean through, Chico Flores made a great tackle and clipped the ball away from the Frenchman, who then went to ground. Without seeing the contact, Clattenburg would have had to give a free-kick and send Flores off. His communication was excellent and explained the reasons for his decision clearly.

Good week: Mark Clattenburg had a tricky call to make and acted appropriately

Good week: Mark Clattenburg had a tricky call to make and acted appropriately

Bad week for… Platini and co (again!)

A pulsating first half at Reading was almost spoiled because there is still no goal-line technology in place. Robin van Persie ‘scored’ Manchester United’s fifth goal of a crazy half but it was not given due to the pace of the ball. There’s no blame on the assistant or referee because it is almost impossible to say for CERTAIN when watching live that the ball was over the line. It ‘probably’ was or ‘I think it was’ is not enough. When will this crazy situation be resolved

Gareth Bale should have been sent off – Graham Poll

Bale is not yet in Ronaldo's class (for diving) but he should have been sent off at Fulham

|

UPDATED:

23:01 GMT, 2 December 2012

Gareth Bale is unquestionably a brilliant player. He is a superb athlete who makes and scores goals for Tottenham and Wales.

As a result he is understandably a marked man – but by opponents or referees

His fourth caution for simulation in two seasons makes him the worst offender in the eyes of referees but his manager claims he is being unfairly victimised as his reputation is going before him.

Sarcastic: Gareth Bale was booked for diving against Fulham

Sarcastic: Gareth Bale was booked for diving against Fulham

More from Graham Poll…

Graham Poll: Sportsmail's expert guide to the referees in charge of this weekend's big games
30/11/12

Sportsmail's expert guide to the referees in charge of the big midweek games
27/11/12

Graham Poll: Foy should know there are consequences for ignoring dissent… just ask Bernie Angell
25/11/12

Sportsmail's expert guide to the refs in charge for this weekend's big games
23/11/12

Graham Poll: Throw the book at Chelsea after false Clattenburg claim
22/11/12

Graham Poll: Adebayor had to go, but 'Jekyll and Hyde' Suarez should also have seen red
18/11/12

Sportsmail's expert guide to the refs in charge for this weekend's big games
16/11/12

Sportsmail's expert guide to the refs in charge for this weekend's big games
09/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

I was called by a Spurs fan who claimed
that Bale’s caution for diving on Saturday at Fulham was a scandalous
decision. I watched the highlights with interest.

Irrespective of whether you think the decision right or wrong, I think all would have to agree that at the pace it was played and the amount of contact with the opponent being questionable, it was a very difficult decision.

Andre Villas-Boas raised a fair and valid point when he said that Bale has suffered a lot of injuries and often tries to avoid contact as the pace he plays at leaves him susceptible to knocks even after slight contact. It is also very difficult for him to keep his balance at such electrifying pace.

Referees will be looking for unnatural falls and the way Bale goes down is dramatic and often not consistent with the amount of contact.

There are obvious comparisons with former Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo, who in his early days at Old Trafford also used to hit the turf on a regular basis.

Having refereed both, I have to say that they are different players at different points in their careers. Ronaldo was new to English football, having come from Portugal where players going to ground is an accepted practise – he thought that was right. Bale understands the Premier League and the expectations within it.

Referees need to study the DVDs of Bale very closely and think about their approach towards him. Why, for example, would he dive in a neutral position in midfield

Tumble king: Cristiano Ronaldo, now at Real Madrid, used to hit the turf with regularity while at Man United

Tumble king: Cristiano Ronaldo, now at Real Madrid, used to hit the turf with regularity while at Man United

Could it be that he is wary of getting
injured and is pulling out of challenges – not to ‘con’ the referee into
giving a free-kick, but to avoid injury

Is he appealing for the free-kick or just getting up and on with the game After all, when a referee is unsure there is nothing wrong with playing on in such a situation.

Perhaps a meeting between a senior referee and Bale and his manager would help each other see the opposing viewpoint. At that meeting, I would hope that the referee’s side would point out that whatever the decision, Bale should not applaud sarcastically as he did on Saturday. That should have resulted in his dismissal for a second caution.

Good week for… Mark Clattenburg

He made a brilliant and vital decision at the Emirates on Saturday. As Oliver Giroud appeared to go clean through, Chico Flores made a great tackle and clipped the ball away from the Frenchman, who then went to ground. Without seeing the contact, Clattenburg would have had to give a free-kick and send Flores off. His communication was excellent and explained the reasons for his decision clearly.

Good week: Mark Clattenburg had a tricky call to make and acted appropriately

Good week: Mark Clattenburg had a tricky call to make and acted appropriately

Bad week for… Platini and co (again!)

A pulsating first half at Reading was almost spoiled because there is still no goal-line technology in place. Robin van Persie ‘scored’ Manchester United’s fifth goal of a crazy half but it was not given due to the pace of the ball. There’s no blame on the assistant or referee because it is almost impossible to say for CERTAIN when watching live that the ball was over the line. It ‘probably’ was or ‘I think it was’ is not enough. When will this crazy situation be resolved

London 2012 Olympics: Keri-Anne Payne seeks to add a splash of gold

Payne heading in the right direction as GB swimmer seeks to add a splash of gold

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UPDATED:

21:31 GMT, 8 August 2012

For an event that takes two hours and often sees athletes heading in the wrong direction, the open water 10km swim has seen some dramatic finishes.

In the last Olympics in Beijing, Keri-Anne Payne missed out on gold by little more than a second, while she won the world title in Shanghai last year by a similar margin.

No Payne, no gain: Keri-Anne trains in the Serpentine

No Payne, no gain: Keri-Anne trains in the Serpentine

Payne was in the Serpentine in Hyde Park yesterday, having one last look at the course before she tries to win Britain’s first swimming gold of these Games today. And she claims she has a knack for navigation — handy, given her preference for leading from the start.

‘I just have great directional skills,’ she said. ‘I know where I’m going and everyone knows that, which is why they are happy for me to lead. It works for me because I prefer leading.’

Payne has been provided with 3D software of the course, but said: ‘I don’t concentrate on it much. Every swim, even in the same location, can be different depending on the weather and currents. It’s better to just make decisions on the day.’

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London 2012 Olympics: Nicola Spirig wins triathlon in photo finish

Disappointment for Jenkins as Spirig wins dramatic photo finish in triathlon

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UPDATED:

11:28 GMT, 4 August 2012

Nicola Spirig of Switzerland edged out Swede Lisa Norden in a photo finish in a dramatic end to the women's triathlon in Hyde Park.

Britain's Helen Jenkins was in a leading pack of five on the 10km run before being dropped by Spirig, Norden, Australia's Erin Densham and Sarah Groff of the United States in the closing stages.

Spiring and Norden then sprinted for the line and could only be separated by a photo finish.

Cheered on: Jenkins was in the running for much of the race

Cheered on: Jenkins was in the running for much of the race

Photo finish: Spirig of Switzerland just beat out Swede Lisa Norden

Photo finish: Spirig of Switzerland just beat out Swede Lisa Norden

Manchester"s third club – Hyde

On the road: The Jekyll and Hyde club who are red… and blue

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 29 April 2012

It has become known as the strange case of doctored Hyde: the club that was wound up, then saved by a bucket; the club which changed its name and its colours, escaped relegation and then zoomed to promotion. All in the last two-and-a-half years.

Manchester may be fixated with the City-United match on Monday night, but over in the east of the city, up the hill at Ewen Fields in Hyde, they are relaxed.

Their season’s work is done and in August Hyde will be playing in the Blue Square Bet Premier, one step from the Football League.

Comeback: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made his return from injury at Hyde's ground

Comeback: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made his return from injury at Hyde's ground

Hyde, formed in 1885, have never been in the League, they have never been as high as the Blue Square Bet Premier, not as Hyde, nor as Hyde United, the club’s name from 1919 to 2010.

But then Hyde have never been so close to Manchester City, so close that the City crest sits beside Hyde’s on the main stand, so close that the seats there are City blue, so close that the only advertising at the ground is for Etihad, so close that the magnificent-looking pitch was installed by City.

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And, most controversially, so close that the red and white of Hyde United became the blue and white of plain Hyde.

Walking around the ground, Hyde’s club secretary Andy McAnulty explains the background.

‘We were wound up in September 2009 and City very kindly let us go to Eastlands for a Monday-night game for a bucket collection.

‘That brought us several thousand pounds and kept us afloat. We had been wound up but we managed to get it back on appeal.

‘We’ve always had a good relationship with City, their reserve side played here for a number of years. In close season 2010-11, the previous board reached an agreement with Manchester City that they would, in effect, renovate the stadium and change it from red to blue. City wanted it to be a home from home.

‘They pay us the going rate. At this level, anything helps. They pay for all the advertising around the ground and they sponsor the shirts.

‘They play 20 to 30 games a season here. We had the NextGen game between City and Barcelona here, then Carlos Tevez making his comeback a few weeks ago.’

Special guest: Carlos Tevez has also made a comeback of sorts at the ground

Special guest: Carlos Tevez has also made a comeback of sorts at the ground

Season 2010-11 also happened to be
Hyde’s 125th anniversary. They had been formed as Hyde but were known
for 90 years as Hyde United. They wore red.

For the anniversary season, they
reverted to the original club jersey, which was white. But navy shorts
and socks were added. Red went. ‘United’ went. In protest, so did some
of the 350 regulars.

Hyde avoided relegation from the Conference North on the last day of 2010-11. Eight days ago they won it. The co-incidence of City’s investment seems obvious. There is also a link to Glenn Hoddle’s Spanish academy.

‘People who say we are where we are because of City’s money are incorrect,’ says McAnulty. ‘It’s down to the management and players. We are in existence because of City’s money — but the budget is still tight. For us to do what we’ve done this season is phenomenal.

‘We’d be bottom-half of the division in terms of budget. Next season we’ll get more money but we’ll still be bottom-half. Fleetwood Town, we aren’t.

‘This is the highest position we’ve been in 126 years. To stay up next season, that’ll be our target, fifth- bottom. With all due respect you’re going from playing Vauxhall Motors to playing Luton Town.’

Link: Glen Hoddle's academy is linked with Hyde

Link: Glen Hoddle's academy is linked with Hyde

There will also be a derby with Stockport County. Not so long ago, Stockport used Hyde for reserve games too. But then so did Manchester United. Six years ago the big comeback story was not Tevez but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. That was at Ewen Fields.

With City’s massive training ground development underway, the contract with Hyde expires at the end of next season.

‘United’ could return.

But the Abu Dhabi City money means debts of 250,000 are now zero. A new clubhouse, 3G community pitch and academy are planned.

Rivals would love such good fortune. But it is not just shekels at Hyde, McAnulty is a volunteer like everyone else.

There are no staff, just graft and short-term contracts.

Plus, after that 125th anniversary season, the shirts went back to red. The blue shorts and socks stayed, though. In kit at least, Hyde have united the city of Manchester.

Mac men down and out

Hyde will play Macclesfield Town next season in another North West derby.

Fifteen years after Sammy McIlroy hauled Macclesfield to the Football League, they lost at home to Burton Albion on Saturday to seal relegation.

Brian Horton (former Manchester City manager) had been brought in for the last nine games to save the Silkmen.

It worked before, in 2004, but not in 2012.

Horton will leave Moss Rose, but Macclesfield still have a game on Saturday at Southend.

It is a big one, because if Southend win at home and Crawley and Torquay don’t win away Paul Sturrock’s side will leap into third place.

Automatic promotion is at stake and Crawley and Torquay will not be expecting a shock at Roots Hall. Macclesfield Town’s relegation came because they have not won once in 2012. Not once.