Shane Long went on air after West Brom’s victory this week to say “I didn’t receive any apology over the [Alan Hutton] tackle.” To me this is disgraceful. Shane Long has been out for a month. And after that particular tackle from Hutton, surely he deserved an apology.
The Hutton tackle was an outrage. It was a tackle that could easily have ended in a red. Hutton was one lucky man to stay on that pitch especially when he had already committed numerous fouls and on top of that his fouls continued throughout the game, until his substitution in the 41st minute.
Long was always going to be injured before his enforced substitution he had already been fouled 2 or 3 times. Aston Villa had been sent out to target him, even Shane himself felt this he said “I can’t really say that (I was being targeted), but it felt like it anyway”. Now what I have a problem with is not that they were sent out to keep Long quiet, as West Brom’s danger man it would be common practice. However to target him by giving away foul and foul and eventually injuring Long, that just isn’t right, and for me the fact that Villa did not even apologize is disgusting.
Shane Long also went on to miss his home nation of Ireland’s most important matches in an incredibly long time. To have caused this injury ruling Long out of a match such as this and to not even apologize – I don’t need to say it again – but I feel it is completely unsportsmanlike. Could Hutton not have just sat down with Long at the end of the game or in the coming weeks and say ‘sorry mate’. It is not a particularly difficult request.
I feel football is a great sport and the best thing about it is the competitive nature of it, especially in the English leagues and I would not like to see the competitiveness of the game disappear. However I feel that to intentionally go out to injure someone is too far. I also think it seems obvious that if you have injured someone you apologize. To me Shane Long has got it right he is willing to leave what happened to him in that match on the pitch. Despite the fact he has no reason to forgive Aston Villa or Hutton. No one wants to relive the malicious and unforgiving nature of the Roy Keane and Alf-Inge Haaland feud (where Haaland fouled Keane and Keane 5 years later intentionally fouled Haaland and damaged his knee leading, eventually to Haaland’s retirement). That is not the way football should be played.
Long was injured by Hutton, regardless of intention he should be apologetic for that. Footballers playing in the Premier League are role models for many young children these children don’t just copy players ability on the pitch but also the attitude if the pitch.
We can only hope that the follow the example of players such as Shane Long and not Alan Hutton.