What on earth was Cristiano Ronaldo thinking when he mysteriously felt the need to handle the ball in the Manchester derby to earn a second yellow card and sending off? The answer, according to SAF, was that the Portuguese international was trying to protect himself. “He tried to stop the ball from hitting his face,” said Ferguson. “He thought he had heard a whistle, he got a little push as well and it is not as if he punched the ball. The crowd played a part and he got sent off.” What complete nonsense. Yes, we’ve all done it and probably have no idea why but nonetheless it’s deliberate hand ball and the referee, Howard Webb in this case, applied the law. As it happens, there’s a good argument that Ronaldo shouldn’t have even been on the pitch at the time anyway. After picking up his first booking he couldn’t resist giving Webb some ‘ironic’ applause. Mr Webb could have made a decent case for sending him off there and then.
What is it with TV companies getting a hard time from supporters? England fans have sung songs in protest at the coverage provided by Setanta and now Leeds fans have got in to the act by having a go at ITV. During the FA Cup tie away to Histon, a group of Leeds supporters removed a pitch side microphone, smuggled it in to the stand and starting singing “ITV are f*****g s**t.” Now swearing is a bit like Ant and Dec. Not big and not clever, but in terms of some of the rubbish we are served up by TV pundits and experts, you could argue that however unsavoury the fans assessment , it was at least short, sweet and to the point.
I have a dream
Arsenal’s Niklas Bendtner has always harboured a dream. Since childhood in fact. If you haven’t heard about it don’t get too excited as it isn’t to alleviate world poverty, put an end to global terrorism or even feed the starving in Southern Africa? No. In a recent interview the Danish international stated that he’s always wanted to play in pink football boots. You might feel that it was somewhat fortuitous then that his boot company Nike came out with the Mercurial Vapor IV Berry. That or he’s been given some seriously dodgy media coaching from the Nike PR machine.
Long time, long throw
If a goal keeper took almost 35 seconds to take a goal kick, how long do you think it might be before the referee ran out of patience with him and brandished the yellow card for time wasting? So why is it that Stoke City’s Rory Delap can take an age over his long throws? He seems to amble over from the other side of the pitch, collect a handily placed towel and then carefully dry the ball before hurling it in to the opposition penalty area. Hull’s Phil Brown might have been a bit hot under the collar after seeing his side pegged back by a controversial penalty – one of those “I felt a touch and went down” jobs from Ricardo Fuller – but he had a moan and he’s got a valid point. True, Stoke may have been behind for much of the game but time is time and it shouldn’t matter what the score is. Just for good measure, Hull were apparently denied the use of the towel when they got a throw. Of course as they were leading 1 – 0 when Paul McShane demanded equal access it was more a time wasting effort on his part than a genuine need, but shouldn’t it be a level playing field for both sides?