Assault at the DW
I haven't done one of these in a while. A combination of laziness and football being an incredibly mixed bag in recent months. You have the highs of last Thursday night, with a last second winner (literally) that had 45,000 people who would never normally tap their feet to Status Quo go absolutely crackers to it. Then you have the lows - where you watch one of your players blatantly assaulted by some two-bit clogger from Wigan Athletic.
It seems the world and his dog are crying out to have their say on the incident right now, so forgive me if you feel like there's some kind of echo in here - but this assault (I refuse to call it a tackle, no matter what the man who oversaw the beginning of the decline of his beloved empire JJB says) still has me raging two days later.
I refuse to acknowledge that this was an accident. It wasn't. The silence from Callum McManaman says it all - at the time and now. Plus, any footballer with an element of common sense and decency about him DOES NOT go into a challenge knee high. We've seen it before with Roy Keane on the unsuspecting Alfe-Inga Haaland, and that didn't end well did it?
Compare and contrast:
Both are equal in malice, carelessness and outright brutality. I'd like to hope that the FA will throw the book at him and give him a long term ban, but I suspect it will be a paltry 3 match suspension, by which time Massaido will still be finding pieces of his knee cartilage in his shorts. The automatic "3 match ban" thing is flawed beyond belief anyway. By the logic of the FA, a leg breaking challenge is as bad as a player slapping another.
So often we've witnessed players get away with challenges like this. Nigel de Jong on Ben Arfa springs to mind. Even as recently as the Spurs game recently that saw Gouffran fall victim to a heinous challenge from an unpunished Kyle Walker. These are just two challenges I can think of on our players! Both challenges were absolutely horrifying at the time, but neither made me wince in the same way that McManaman's challenge on Massaido did. Not that my wincing is any kind of barometer.
Since the incident, we've had the odious Dave Whelan claim the challenge was as "clean as a whistle". The same Dave Whelan's who also had his career ended by a horror tackle - something he still moans about when given the opportunity in newspaper interviews today. We've also had the "People's Eyebrow", Roberto Martinez trot out the same old bull about him "not being that kind of lad" rather than admitting that his player was massively in the wrong. I hate to urinate on your chips Roberto - but this article suggests otherwise. Two horror challenges at the ripe old age of 21. Not that type of player is he Roberto? I've always had a lot of time for Martinez, but he has caught the Dave Whelan bug of being a bit of a delusional fool.
In any case, even if it wasn't intentional (and this may be the key point here), if you're going to have that much disregard for an opponent's safety when going in for a challenge "honestly", you probably shouldn't be allowed to play football full stop.
The counter argument from many Wigan fans (all 13 of them) and even a few Sunderland fans who seem keen to get one up on Newcastle (on an incident like this of all things) by pointing out that the likes of Tiote are also guilty of reckless challenges. That isn't the point. This is not a defence of Tiote, I am not defending anyone. The point is, challenges like the one made by McManaman need to be stopped. As a result, a long term ban must be handed out. There's no way he should be given the chance to play at Wembley this season when Hadeira's own dream of appearing in some big European games are in tatters.
An apology would also be nice Callum - even if it may be a case of too little too late after 48 hours.