After all the media coverage of the Eduardo dive and the Henry hand ball, I truly expected Wayne Rooney to cop it following his pretty appalling dive for Manchester United against Aston Villa.

But no. Study the papers in the days since that game and not that much has been written. If you read the BBC Sport online match report the incident warrants 12 words. How can that be? Do we truly believe that diving in the Premier League is still a strictly foreign disease? If so, that’s strange, as the figures don’t stack up. Of the 11 players who have been booked for simulation (the Fifa world for cheating) in the EPL this season, 7 are from the UK or Ireland.

Perhaps all the national newspaper football reporters have been reading Footy Boots recently as it seems abundantly clear that I’m in the minority when it comes to wanting to banish diving from the sport. The majority of comments that have been posted on this subject seem to be along the lines of ‘it happens…its part of the game…get over it’.

wayne rooney dive aston villa

Well, sorry, but I can’t.

Writing for Yahoo Sport, Fulham’s Danny Murphy said:”There are situations in the game when players anticipate the tackle coming and there is a difference between that and outright diving.

Wayne isn’t a player who would actively look to go down under a challenge. After the incident, he was straight back on his feet and didn’t even appeal for the penalty.”

Rooney Dive – Video

Was Danny watching the same game as me? After the phantom challenge, Rooney’s first instinct was to look round for the referee’s decision. As for getting back on his feet, there wasn’t much point as the ball was out of play before he even hit the deck. A good enough reason in my opinion that, even if there had been contact, it shouldn’t have been a spot kick.

Not even Rooney can score when the ball is closer to the fans than to the opposing keeper.Rooney has got a bit of previous in this respect as well as Spurs, Arsenal and Blackburn fans will remember.

So it was a bit strange to read in the News of the World that this incident represented ‘uncharacteristic behaviour’ by the United striker, who, in their opinion, was United’s best player on the day. This from the same newspaper stable that ran the headline ‘Cheat-Ed’ and ‘Throw the book at him’ after Eduardo’s tumble against Celtic.

eduardo 'dive'

Eduardo was subsequently cleared by UEFA after Arsenal proved that there had been contact between him and the Celtic goalkeeper, though the contact was so slight it wouldn’t have bothered your little sister let alone a grown man.

Of course it could be that Rooney’s actions didn’t get more media coverage because it didn’t ultimately influence the game, unlike Henry’s hand ball. But does that make it less of a crime? Not in my opinion. Just because the officials didn’t ‘buy it’ doesn’t mean that he wasn’t trying to con them.

United fans will be quick to point out that Rooney is not the only guilty party of late and they’d be right. Another England international, Steven Gerrard, spent so long on the floor for Liverpool against Arsenal that I began to suspect that he was constantly looking for a lost contact lens or searching for buried treasure.

And there’s my point. It’s not just Rooney or Gerrard – it’s all of them. Different weeks, different players. Sometimes, even innocent players. Anyone else agree that Craig Bellamy wouldn’t have been dismissed last weekend if diving wasn’t so prevalent right now?

Going back to Danny Murphy’s piece on Yahoo, he goes on: “If players know their actions are punishable retrospectively, we would see far less diving in the game in my opinion. The game could possibly introduce a panel of experts, people with direct knowledge of the game such as ex-professionals. This panel would then analyse an offence deemed as diving after the game and determine the punishment accordingly.”

Seems like a plan to me.

alex ferguson rooney dive

How The Sun covered the Eduardo story

Finally, and just going back to the Eduardo incident one last time, I recall Rooney’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson being quoted at the time saying that Uefa were right to punish him (which they did before the ban was rescinded). So, will he, I wonder, punish Rooney if he feels that strongly about it?

Breath, holding, be, won’t, I, my – you can rearrange those words to make a sentence if you like!

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  1. says: Dalton Martin

    I dont really think it was a blatant dive. Im against diving and I do believe there is a place in the game for a ban against it. However, and I say this as a Liverpool supporter, if you watch the video closely enough you can see that the Villa defenders knee APPEARs to have hit Rooneys knee. Again that is what appears to me and it may not be true. I think Rooney was right not to appeal for a penalty, as IF it was a dive or a minor collision, it was definitely not a foul.

    Just adding in my two cents. Again a nice article by Andy

  2. says: Duberry

    Dalton, its hard to tell on the small video in this post, but having seen this on TV, there was absolutely no contact.

    When you say Rooney was right not to appeal, the first thing he did was turn and stare at the ref, applying pressure on the ref to award a penalty.

    It’s a clear attempt by Rooney to cheat a penalty.

    I agree with this article, he’s got away with it. The dive was far worse than the Eduardo one, yet Rooney gets little to no bad press.

  3. says: jimbob

    i dont think it was a dive any more than it was a pen. there was a small amount of contact (feet came together) but far less than in the average corner jostle.
    Duberry are you sure it was worse than someone who was closer to his own keeper when flying in the air!!

  4. says: Duberry

    Great to get kuuku’s endorsement…

    jimbab, I’m basing my opinion on the lack of contact on Rooney compared with the minimal contact on Eduardo.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Eduardo dived as well. My annoyance is with the furore aimed at one player (Eduardo) by the media and press, and lack of it with another (Rooney) despite the latter being a more blatant display of cheating.

    I’m pleased that footy boots are publicising it and I can add to the discussion.

  5. says: Aussie Lad

    Players should not be going down under that sort of contact anyway, some people are arguing that there is a very small contact, but big bl**dy whoop. Players should not be finding the floor as soon as they feel the feather hit them. It is a disgrace. I am 5’8″, very thin and quite quick. I invite tackles worse than what I have seen players go down under, and I will NOT ever let myself go down. If i am swept off my feet, I can’t do anything about it, but if I can help it, I will not go down. Professionals looking to win for their team by going down for a penalty is understandable, they want to do everything to win, but it does not make it acceptable. Don’t rationalise what they are doing, it is not acceptable.

  6. says: bob

    Gerrard didn’t dive against arsenal, it was a an actual foul on him.

    Anyways back on the subject, ronney doesn’t get criticised becuase he is the english tabloid love him and he plays for man utd and all tabloids love them. Football is bias and the fair play scheme by Fifa or whatever will never work.

  7. says: martincillo

    i agree with aussie, im very thin and tall, and i recibe fouls and i resist them and dont dive, so rooney that is a strong player, cant fall for that kind of contac, just impossible, yeah the contact could take his balance off, but he is strong enough to resist that and more.

    and really footy boot do you thin only american players cheat ????

  8. says: Dalton Martin

    I have to disagree with Aussie and Martincillo. I can tell you right now that when you moving at the pace of a professional player and a big defender clips you (even if it is just a small knock) you will go down.

  9. says: Ben

    Until you are in the players shoes you will never truly know what happened to them. I have played soccer for almost 30yrs now! (god, i am getting old). And I’ve had vicous tackles that didnt take me down and I’ve had slight bumps that due to not expecting them or being over balanced, sent me tumbling. I do agree that alot of the dives you see in the games lately due seem suspect though. I just find it hard to point the finger at someone without walking a mile in their cleats.

  10. says: kuuku

    Well Dalton, that might be true, or it might be what we are led to believe from seeing the professionals going down easily. Think about it. How much faster could they be going?

    In my old school there’s a guy who competes in track and field and wins the 200 quite regularly. In football he’s as quick as the wind but it takes a big hit to put him down. And you know how clumsy the defending in amateur football games can get. A clip/small knock will only make him stumble. But I assure you he’s traveling at “the pace of a professional player”….if not faster. The difference here is that he will gain no advantage by falling (no setpiece wizard is going to come and curl one in from 25 yards and the penalties are missed more often than not) so he struggles to stay on his feet at all costs; but for a professional player there is a ton of advantage to allow that stumble to turn into a lovely set-peice or penalty. I’m quite quick as well and invite my fair share of tackles but I refrained from talking about myself so as to provide some objectivity.

    You are right in the end. A professional players “pace” means he’ll go down after a clip but an amateur’s “pace” with the same velocity/speed means he’ll stay on his feet after an identical clip. I hope you see what I did there?

  11. says: Tyler

    he cheated, it was a simulated bad tackle and it was terrible. of course rooney would never be hung out to dry like eduardo was. coming from a villa fan, i thought rooney had a lot more class than that. if they had gotten a pen and luke young red carded off i would’ve been livid.

    i cant believe anyone is actually sticking up for rooney in this case, it was utterly dispicable. NO CONTACT, and if you think there was your mad. It’s terrible for the game. A person of rooney’s stature should never go down, he a raging bull and to go down at that lame tackle, he might as well just kept running because he had luke beat.

    stay out of the pool rooney, you’re classier than that.


  12. says: markymark

    im playing devils advocate here…

    but has anyone considered he turned to the ref because he heard a whistle? this is an instinct most players would do. im not saying he didnt dive, but to call that an appeal for a penalty… well, im not too sure.

  13. says: Mati

    i dont mind diving if there’s minimal contact/anticipation of a silly tackle, as i come from a culture where being cunning is not cheating. but when’s there’s no contact, 50-50 challenge, or a rivalo-esque faking it sucks to be a footballer. i’d like to point out to gerrard, who has been diving for as long as i have been playing football. i wont forget the one vs atletico madrid…and it gets worse when these players speake out against diving, and then…its just sad. and people should stop making up excuses like “maybe he heard a whistle”

  14. says: markymark

    Mati – when i said ‘maybe he heard a whistle’ I wasnt meaning thats an excuse for the dive. Maybe you should read what I said again??

    Do you hoenstly think looking at the ref is a big penalty appeal? No. It’s not. Wether he dived or not, he would turn to the ref if he heard the whistle.

    You yourself just defended diving, I didnt. I merely said there wasnt a big appeal. Perhaps read what others say before labelling us as making ‘excuses’.


  15. says: Hugh

    I am not going to defend diving but I will hopefully shed light on why footballers do it.

    Firstly, there is “diving” and there is “going down easily” but both get put under the term of diving. Going down easily, i think is acceptable. Sometimes it will prevent in injury and sometimes you will gain a big advantage from it. Also, the tackle is usually a bad tackle and quite a lot of contact anyway so getting a free kick from it is fair in the end as well. However, both Rooney and Eduardo dived. Minimal or no contact was made between the players and it was a blatant act of cheating. It is just as bad as Ngog’s dive, the only difference between Rooney and Eduardo was that they left there leg out so that contact was made. If anything what they did is worse.

    Also, “diving” or “going down easily” is a result of defenders tackling badly. I go down easily because i don’t want to miss the rest of the season and the possibilty of being scouted due to a broken leg, well, that’s my excuse. I also go down because I am the free-kick and penalty taker and I know that I can score. However, I would never ever go down under minimal or no contact. I dont intend to cheat when I go down. I have usually got past the player with a bit of skill or made a good run and get challenged and if he gets me then I go down. I dont go down if the guy misses me or I kick the ball to hard so it is about to go out, which is what Rooney and Eduardo did, I just accept that it was a bad touch and carry on with the game. However if I had 80,000 supporters relying on a bit of magic from me and i had an opportunity like Eduardo or Rooney and I took a heavy touch then I may have done the same. Unless you have experienced that sort of pressure you will never know what it is like.

    It is not right and i am not defending it but I think we should all take a minute to remember the pressure these guys are under, however if I was earning £100,000 a week to play football I would accept that pressure comes with the game and get on with it without cheating.

  16. says: Derek

    I can’t say I ever really understood diving, I’d rather just try to score. Even if I do actually get taken down in the box, I still make my best effort to get that shot off, why wouldn’t you? It’s hard to imagine maintaining self respect after diving to get a penalty when people will be mocking you the next day on youtube and making you look ridiculous…as they should. It won’t be long before some frustrated sweeper stomps the back of some superman diving drama queen and injures him with the self justifying statement of “Well if you’re going to pretend I hurt you, I may as well do it for real.”
    This really should stop as soon as possible, if you can’t beat the defender, throwing a temper tantrum is hardly the solution, next time just train harder.

  17. says: John

    I don’t think that Rooney was actually trying to dive here. He got slight nudge going at full speed that definitely wasn’t foul worthy and he just lost his feet. And you also have to consider the type of player Wayne Rooney is, he’s a gorilla that usually just keeps runnig even if he gets fouled because the only thing he wants is to see that ball hit the back of the net and he wants to put it there. So I think after Rooney’s 8 or so years of aggressive won’t stop till I drop football he deserves the benefit of the doubt. And that, I think, is the reason Rooney didn’t receive any bad press because they know, as do most of us, that Wayne Rooney isn’t going to let an outstretched leg that might trip him a little bit keep him from getting to that goal.

  18. says: zc

    I’m from aus and Australia was knocked out of the ’06 world cup by Italy thanks to a last minute Fabio Grosso dive. DIVING IS UNACCEPTABLE, GOING DOWN EASILY IS UNACCEPTABLE. I still remember Italy for the dive, Wayne Rooney dive was terrible and his reputation will be deservedly cut down. I can’t believe its being hushed up. IF Fergie doesn’t punish Rooney he will become the biggest hipocrith

  19. says: danny boy

    rooney never dives. u lot jus dun suport united and r jealos. if ur runnin ant full speed and then get light contact ur gonna trip up, itz not about strength its about momentom. drogba dive 4 no reason blatently about ten times each game and so does ballack but i dun see no posts made about them. Rooney did not apeal, if u goo down in the box ur gonna see wot the ref says about it, you might get yellowed! rooney got straight back up and did not appeal, cus he was not looking for a penalty, thats why he didnt dive. If rooney wanted a penalty he do a lot more than look at the ref! he would probably start a fight!

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