This article originally appeared in MEHSTG Vol. 2. Issue 30 (December 2002)
will get you … suspended. Or
so the video panel seems to regard things, if you are Dennis Bergkamp.
So, when Ledley King was accused of stamping on a bit of pink fluff
on the pitch recently, it was all so much hot air.
East Stan looks at the phenomenon that is sweeping the
Is it so long ago that “stamping” was
never a problem in our game ?? I
am not sure that it is a new thing, but players appear more inclined to
imprint their colleagues thighs with their studs than they were in days
gone by. The big difference is that people didn’t use to
intentionally injure fellow professionals and the injured party didn’t
use to react by whinging if they did get trampled on.
Even in the lowest levels of Sunday morning football, there were
incidents where you got injured while on the floor, but rarely did you
think anything of it, unless someone had gone out of their way to carry
out a premeditated act. Not
that it was a part of the whole “man’s game” thing, but more than it
was an accepted part of the game, that is you are prone on the floor, you
might accidentally get trodden on.
this is where the big difference comes.
The complaint lodged against King’s incident with Ljungberg was
no doubt driven by the suspension that Dennis Bergkamp received for his
stamp on Blackburn Rovers’ Nils Eric Johansson.
Having been missed by the referee on the day, the Video Review
panel spotted the offence, as did the TV cameras and was also heavily
featured on the Premiership programme that evening.
Arsenal felt that this was unfair, as they feel their misdemeanours
are being highlighted more than any other team’s.
the nature of Bergkamp’s stamp were completely different to that of
Ledley’s. It could be that
Bergkamp seems to think that the tackle that came in was late and that
something should have been done about it.
It is at this point that he appears to take the law into his own
hands (or feet) and looks down and puts his foot down into the Swede’s
upper thigh. He actually
looked to see where the player was before the “stamp” took place.
Arsenal Swede claimed that he had stud marks in his knee that came from a
deliberate impact from the young Tottenham defender. When it is seen on TV, his own momentum carries the player
forward and he is unable to avoid contact with the player who was already
on the floor. He did not look
down to ensure that he would tread down on him and the nature of his
movement was not that he made a thrust downwards with his foot to intend
was probably the thinking behind the FA’s decision not to punish King,
while Bergkamp was brought to task. It
is not enough for Arsenal to try and throw a smokescreen around things
that happen to tar others with the same brush.
They should be called to answer their actions that they undertake
on the pitch (and sometimes off it too).
And Ledley is not the sort of player to get involved in
mini-vendettas against fey looking midfielders.
I have rarely seen him get flustered and certainly not get involved
in any sort of handbags or fisticuffs.
Arsenal picked the wrong player to try and blame for any injury Red
Fred suffered. Ledders
actually admitted he trod on the Gooner, but that he did not deliberately
do so and that he could not avoid it.
What more could you expect from a player with just one booking to
his name (in a Worthington Cup match) and what more would you expect from
an Arsenal side who are desperate to be loved.
are players at Tottenham who sometimes lose it and get involved in the
side of the game that is not what we want to see.
Taricco is the main culprit and he should be punished for the
things that he does that have no place in the game.
And he was when the incident that lead to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
in the Worthington Cup semi-final second leg was analysed. And when sent
off unjustly for a pull back on Scholes at Old Trafford.
And when he got involved with a bit of nonsense with Le Saux in the
league match at Stamford Bridge.
in the match against Manchester United on December 7th, there
were things going on that the ref missed, but the cameras caught.
Just because they weren’t spotted by the officials, which is no
reason why the players should not be punished for them.
Keown clearly threw a punch at Ruud van Nistelrooy off the ball.
It is not the first time he has done it and he has managed to get
away with it in the past. Will
Wenger claim persecution and pull out the mantra that he “did not see
it” ? Will he say that he
doesn’t know what a foul in England is (well, he should as his team
appear to be pretty good at committing them) ?
Will he say that they are not as bad as their terrible disciplinary
record shows (47 red cards and counting) ?
Their sportsmanship (or should that be gamesmanship) doesn’t need
Wenger or Vieira to let us tell us about it … it speaks for itself.
In the incident when van Nistelrooy had been grounded by Keown, it
was left to Manchester United’s own player to put the ball out for him
to get treatment. When play
resumed, you don’t really need to be told whether the Arsenal player
taking the throw (Cole I think it was) gave it back to the home side.
Whatever he says, it won’t change things, as the team seem to carry on in the same vein season after season. It is a bit arch that they are trying to label other team’s players as aggressors, when their own appear to be imposing a foul reign of terror on the Premiership. Maybe Arsene should take up a more sedate hobby like stamp collecting … or maybe he already has !!
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