How FA’s new rule can wipe the floor with football’s blatant deceivers
In the rather majestically titled Gamesmanship or The Art of Winning Games Without Actually Cheating, there is a delightful little passage where the author, Stephen Potter, describes one of his favourite ways of putting off an opponent, especially a musically competent one, by “constantly whistling a phrase with one note – always the same note – wrong”.
It is certainly a grade above the old trick of standing in a snooker player’s line of sight and Potter has plainly given it a lot of thought because in the footnote he actually includes the musical notation of one possible sample. Potter goes for the Siegfried horn call from Wagner’s Ring. He changes the second note from an A to D. There is a rogue glissando and it isn’t difficult to imagine the bothersome effects it might have on an opponent’s concentration.
Welling striker is first to be charged by FA under new law on ‘feigning injury’ Read more
There is certainly nothing new about the art of gamesmanship or trying to get an advantage through means that are not necessarily taught in the manuals. It is part of sport, it is unshakeable and, to a point, it is hard sometimes not to admire the level of cunning that is applied to gain even a minor advantage. Potter’s book was first published in 1947, the idea originating from a doubles game of tennis when, losing against younger and fitter opponents, he and his partner noted how edgy they became at the other end of the court after being asked to clarify whether a ball was in or out (it was clearly out).
The author started to jot down his other “gambits” and “hampers” and no doubt would have approved, for instance, of the way Billie Jean King used to size up whoever she was playing. “If you’re up against a girl with big boobs, bring her to the net and make her hit backhand volleys,” King explained in her 1982 autobiography. “That’s the hardest shot for the well endowed.”
It is when the lines blur into hard‑faced cheating that our outrage reflexes are pricked and that is why, amid all the headlines for Wayne Rooney overhauling Sir Bobby Charlton’s England scoring record in midweek and then the resumption of the Premier League, featuring the small matter of Manchester United against Liverpool and the needle of Everton versus Chelsea, something happened a little further down football’s food chain that probably warrants more of our attention than it actually received.
In the grand scheme of things, Welling United’s 1-1 draw against Tranmere Rovers in the Vanarama National League would not ordinarily merit anything more than the small print of the results section, but if you get the chance type Sahr Kabba’s name into a search engine along with the words “feigning injury” to watch the moment when the Tranmere defender Ritchie Sutton backs into him inside the penalty area.
Kabba, as devious as a bag of weasels, goes down in the manner of someone who has just been clubbed round the head. are there any canada goose outlet stores It is all an act, but a pretty convincing one, and as he rolls around in pretend agony there are even a couple of anguished punches into the turf, Samuel Kuffour-style, for added effect. Sutton was sent off and Tranmere, who were winning 1-0, could not hold on. Welling’s equaliser came after 87 minutes, though feasibly it could have been even more of an injustice. The referee, duped into showing a red card, could conceivably have compounded the error by awarding best mens canada goose jacket a penalty.
Sutton’s red card has now been rescinded and, until this season, Kabba would have got away with it. Except a new rule is now in operation whereby the red card can be flipped back on to the player guilty of the amateur dramatics. Kabba has, in turn, canada goose coat 1000 bulbs taken the punishment from Sutton after a Football Association hearing on Friday when he was found guilty of “exaggerating or feigning an injury which directly led to an opponent being dismissed”. He and his club contested the case but the video evidence was overwhelming and he is now serving a three-match suspension. That, at least, is a start.
Kabba was born in Bristol, incidentally, and has previously played for Gloucester City, Lincoln City and Havant & Waterlooville, so let’s not go down the tired old route of thinking this is the domain of foreign players. His ban does, however, stem indirectly from a game last season when Wolverhampton Wanderers played Watford and Fernando Forestieri pushed Bakary Sako in the chest then threw himself to the floor, holding his face in faux pain and peeking through the gaps in his fingers to check the con had worked. Sako’s red card was wiped from the record books on appeal but Forestieri’s cheating was so utterly blatant, with nothing in the FA’s regulations to empower them to punish the Argentinian, that was the tipping point that led to the change in the rules.
Unfashionable as it might be, the FA’s disciplinary department deserves credit, even if it is playing catch-up to Scotland, where there was an infamous case a few years ago of Kyle Lafferty, then black canada goose parka at Rangers, pretending to be head-butted by Charlie Mulgrew, of Aberdeen, when there had actually been no contact whatsoever – call it a Glasgow miss – then winking to his team-mates after the red card had been administered.
At this stage, it is probably too early to be sure how effective the new law will be in eliminating future deceptions, but at least we are now in the clear position whereby any footballer thinking about trying it on will know the repercussions if the act is caught on camera. And if cheating can be picked up in a Conference match at Welling, it is not going to be missed in a Premier League game. Between them, Sky and BBC had 18 different cameras making sure Saturday’s game at Old Trafford was televised from every angle.
The clubs have their own fixed cameras and then, of course, this is football’s iPad and smartphone era, when there is always someone filming from the stands. In those circumstances, it would need remarkable daftness for someone to indulge in a spot of thespianism aimed at getting an opponent sent off.
Unfortunately, there is still plenty of daftness in football given the buy canada goose jacket edmonton squalid little exchange during Northern Ireland’s game against Hungary when Gareth McAuley, a 6ft 3in centre-half, tried to ham up a push from Tamas Priskin, once his team-mate at Ipswich Town, and went down in a way that was deliberately choreographed to influence the referee’s thinking.
McAuley should consider himself fortunate that Uefa has not penalised him under its rule, Article 15F, that players should be suspended for four matches “for acting with obvious intent to cause a match buy canada goose jacket online cheap official to make an incorrect decision”. And it’s a shame. The more players who are exposed, the more, presumably, that others will think twice before trying to set up a fellow professional for a red card, an act that was always a lot worse than whistling out of tune.
Neville not one for kneejerk verdicts
Gary Neville is lauded here as the doyen of modern-day punditry and one of the reasons for that is he has never been one to sugarcoat the truth about Manchester United just because they are his old club. That, in turn, has upset Louis van Gaal at times, with the Dutchman saying in the last few days that the criticisms from Neville and Paul Scholes “make me sick”.
Unfortunately for Van Gaal, the points Neville raises are precisely the ones that the more thoughtful supporters are asking. Neville is far from a hatchet man, either in print or on television, and openly dislikes the tendency in his profession to rush into kneejerk judgments.
His views, in my opinion, carry great weight and he is clearly startled by some of what he sees and hears. Neville was brought up in the Sir Alex Ferguson era when it was expected that United would operate with style, flair and audacity. Now he sees a club where excitement is restricted and times when players look “in fear of capital punishment” if they make a mistake.
He is unsure about Van Gaal’s man-management, saying he lacks the compassion of Ferguson, and sees the club’s transfer activity as best canada goose jacket for skiing disorganised at best. “It’s quite clear that all is not rosy now,” Neville can you wash a canada goose coat said in his Daily Telegraph column before the game against Liverpool, pointing to “player tensions and sometimes stagnant football”.
The most worrying part about this, possibly, is whether this is also Ryan Giggs’s view because that would mean Van Gaal is being questioned from within. “People might think I have an inside line,” Neville says. “I don’t. I’m looking from the outside.” Yet it is a legitimate question when Neville’s close friend and business partner is the assistant manager at Old Trafford.
Grealish and the cash conundrum
Jonathan Barnett, agent to Gareth Bale, laments that his client – and presumably himself given the hefty commissions that come as part of the job – has missed out on a small fortune in commercial interests by choosing to play for Wales rather than England.
“He could have qualified through his grandmother and I tell you that it has cost him millions and millions of pounds,” Barnett says. “You can imagine what it would have been like if he were playing for England next summer in the Euros.”
Barnett is also the agent for Jack Grealish, the Aston Villa player who is mulling over whether to start a new international career with England and, in the process, end his association with the Republic of Ireland, having played for them up to under-21 level. Grealish can choose between the two and related site, though it is not ideal that he is taking so long to make up his mind, it is probably better than rushing into a decision. It would, however, be a great pity if his mind were swayed best canada goose jacket review by money matters and the more lucrative deals that come from being an England player as opposed to an Ireland one. That wasn’t meant to be part of the dilemma.
Red alert for new Spurs recruit
The revelation that Tottenham Hotspur have instructed their new signing Son Heung-min not to turn up with a red car is plainly taking the sporting enmity with Arsenal too far, but it is not the first time a football club have been so preoccupied with their local rivals they have brought in a strict colour scheme.
Larry Lloyd tells the story about when he joined Liverpool in 1969 and the club offered him one of their houses to rent. What he did not expect was that Bill Shankly would turn up with the decorator on the first day and make it very clear there was not be a single fleck of blue in the house. Or as Shankly put it: “The colour of that other team across Stanley Park.” Lloyd ended up with a red front door, a red garage and white fence posts average cost canada goose jacket – by decree of the manager.
It wasn’t so long ago either that Manchester City’s staff were given an allowance for their company cars on the proviso that nobody chose red (for obvious reasons). I am, however, assured that the days have passed since City served blue ketchup in their hospitality suites.