Normally on here i wouldn’t be getting het up on non WHUFC football stuff, but after watching Ashley Young secure a championship for Manchester United, with his second dive in a week, i felt compelled to comment.
I remember football on muddy pitches and when men were men and all that. Would i like to regress to overly tough football? No!. The skill level and speed and all round facilities are light years away from the 70/80’s, and this has be applauded (and paid for !).
But the histrionics that come with the modern game are outrageous. Some years ago (over 20) Jurgen Klinsmann came over to Tottenham from Europe, as one of the greatest strikers in the world. After one season he was tagged as a diver, by a confirmed parochial English press, due to his tenancy to drop to the ground within 2 yards of any opponent. In England this was not acceptable, and known as a “foreign disease” (Bear in mind the “English Disease” at the time was running around Europe fighting with Police and opposition fans”) . This was the first wave of europeans to enter the premier league, and the things they brought with them was not well received. Diving, ref intimidation, pasta, and extra training.
The years that passed brought more players from foreign shores and made the premier league the best in the world. However, the more diluted it became the more diving became fashionable. From Ronaldo to Di Canio (there i said it), and inbetween, people were dropping like flies. Top flight English players of the like of Owen were happy to go down, and in Owen’s case defend it, and said they would be happy to do it at England level, as well. It was now accepted practice, along with foul throws and shirt pulling.
Now i would estimate about 70% of the premier league are happy to dive, and it is a regular talking point every week. This has to stop, and the only way it can is to punish immediately. Bring in the video evidence for the fourth official. The time it takes to blow up and get people organised is longer than the time taken to review 3 angles of the same incident. If you are guilty you get a yellow. 3 times in 10 for diving / simulation you get a 3 match ban. That will stop it immediately. Remember the elbow business. They mad e raised elbows a sending off offence and after about a month of chais it was eradicated. Well here there will be no chaos, as cheats should be sent off.
While we are blaming Ashley Young, remember he has no personal knowledge of football without simulation, for him it has always been there, and at that level it is accepted practice. He is not the only one , but he is the current poster boy for cheating.
It doesn’t happen on a Sunday morning on Hackney Marshes and it shouldn’t happen on a sky game. One reason it doesn’t happen on in the amateur game, is that the lad would rather run past or around the defender and try and score, therefore taking the chance for some glory. Professional sport is all about winning (rightly) and less these days about real sportmanship (wrongly).
As i watch this game Ashley Young has been subbed off, i assume to hope we forget the incident prior to Fergie’s interview ! I really wonder what Paul Scholes will say to him back in the dressing room ! I imagine nothing, as United won, but I can hope.