Why I Don’t Blame Ashley Young For Diving

Ashley Young has been earning himself quite the reputation the past few weeks, but it’s a reputation that will ultimately come back to haunt both him and Manchester United in the future. There is a reason that he is allowed to get away with his Tom Daley impressions on the pitch and we all know what that reason is. We all know what needs to be done to prevent people from diving and baiting the referee into giving penalties and free kicks, yet it appears that the majority of football federations would much rather remain in the stone ages instead of utilizing the technological advances we have at our disposal today. It’s a problem that plagues every league on every continent and even with the proper technology available and in place there will still be the bold few who continue to dive. It’s something that will always be a part of soccer no matter how much we all bemoan it and say it’s wrong.

I don’t condone players who dive or make a meal out of a challenge because of what it takes away from the game. However I personally don’t blame the players for doing it. We can call them cheats, crooks and actors until we’re blue in the face, but until there is a way to deter such actions then the players are doing something that is gaining them a competitive advantage. The old adage “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying” is something that only the bold would subscribe to, but with the “Win Now” mentality that is employed in every major sport you cannot be surprised when someone will do anything to achieve their goals. The fact of the matter is that Manchester United is within touching distance of the Premier League title and they’re going to do everything possible to make sure that they can win it. If Ashley Young earns a penalty from a dive, is there going to be an asterisk next to the title in the history books? Is Sir Alex Ferguson going to say at the end of the season as he is holding the trophy that they “didn’t deserve to win it”? Are the millions of United fans going to feel shame for winning the trophy because of some controversial calls? The answer to all these questions is no. That’s because winning is the magical elixir that cures all that ails you. Years from now people are going to forget that Ashley Young got Shaun Derry sent off for a hammed up challenge. All that matters in the end is that United won the title and put even more distance between themselves and Liverpool as the most successful club in English Football.

If the old curmudgeons who are in charge of all the major football federations do decide to act and employ the appropriate measures to punish such actions, then you will see a dramatic reduction in the amount of dives. Right now as it is, if a player is caught diving, most of the time he’ll only receive a yellow card, which is not really much of a deterrent at all. But if a player is retroactively penalized and given a harsher punishment, such as a red card or a three match ban, then the incentive of diving is almost negated. Sure he might get his team a penalty and a goal, but in the long run he’ll end up hurting his squad by not being available for selection. It’s impossible to rely on referees to determine what a dive is and what isn’t. If they determine a player has dived and the call is judged to be wrong then they come under the same scrutiny than if they had called it the other way. It’s safer for them to assume the penalty because even if it results in a penalty kick, there is still a chance for the other team to prevent the offenders from scoring, therefore letting them off the hook for a questionable call if they don’t score.

The flip side of the coin for Ashley Young is that his new reputation as a dive master is going to hurt Manchester United in the long run. Referees are going to be more watchful of him and the next time he goes down, one would think the referee would think twice before automatically awarding the penalty. It’s the story of “The Boy who cried Wolf” and may end up costing him a deserved penalty. If the title race comes down to Man United not getting a result because of Young’s new found reputation, then he will have no one to blame but himself. Like all things diving works when you’re winning. But if you dive and lose, then you’re not only a cheat, but you’re a loser as well.

We all know what needs to be done to try and eradicate diving from the sport, even the heads of the federations know what needs to be done. Whether they’ll admit it is another story altogether. But until that day comes when replays and retroactive punishment are enforced to the fullest extent, we’re left with just yelling at our TV’s and taking to Twitter slandering players and clubs alike. I don’t blame Ashley Young for doing everything he can to get ahead, it’s something we all do. But if United don’t achieve their ultimate goal, then all of a sudden Ashley Young turns from a player who will do anything to win to just another run of the mill cheat.

18 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Blame Ashley Young For Diving”

  1. It’s a sorry state of affairs. For me, I’d rather not win something unless it was fair and square. If I had to cheat my way to something then it loses its great appeal. There’s a difference with calls and certain things going your way from time to time – that’s just called luck. When players like Ashley Young feel the need to plain cheat their way (and like on Sunday, decide the outcome of a match within 10 minutes!) then it’s wrong on every level.

    Manchester United are (said through gritted teeth!) a great team and they don’t need to cheat so it’s very sad they have done so lately. Fergie will leave a huge legacy when he leaves that club and he got them were they are today through proper hard work. He re-built that club from the ground up and he turned them into a team everybody was genuinely afraid of, the same way people viewed Liverpool in the 70s & primarily the 80s.

    On the flip side though, the rules are there and if there is contact you’re entitled to go down. Shame these grossly overpaid ‘professional’ players don’t act like the teams of past decades and play gritty football taking all the other rubbish out of the equation. The best thing the officials should do is show a yellow card to the offending diver and he won’t do it again during that match for fear of being sent off. He does it in the next match, show yellow again or perhaps that time even contemplate a red… he’ll soon get the idea. They’re grown men who people pay a fortune to watch in person (and also a fortune to watch courtesy of TV subscriptions) and it’s just not on.

  2. Just to clear things up, it is not a dive if there is contact. There was contact against Villa. He did go down with flair but it wasn’t diving like Suarez against Arsenal’s Szczesny where there was zero contact.

    1. Like Kody says, be a man. The ‘contact’ making certain players go down is so minimal it barely passes for anything and it’s certainly not enough to make a player go down to the ground! Let alone in the dramatic manner of some Premier League players! Be a man and stay on your feet… you never know, instead of play acting they might even be able to maintain control and put the ball in the back of the net the way it should be done!

    2. “…it is not a dive if there is contact.”

      Simply can not agree. There is lots of legal, rough contact in soccer that does not result in a foul or a player even hitting the ground. Guys like Young are actually initiating the contact themselves (no matter how minor) and then dropping to the ground as if they had been poleaxed, hoping to draw a card. That’s a dive pure and simple.

  3. so the handball by Henry and Suarez are okay since they were trying to win at all cost,and you have no problem with that.some point integrity has to play apart or whatever you can do and not get caught is fair play.if the players knew that all matches would be reviewed and suspensions could be handed out after the match that would cut down on this crap and the handball situations would be the intentional one’s to stop goals or gain advantage.

    1. Technically, the Suarez handball was clearly seen, called, and ruled against. He was sent off the pitch for it… unlike the Henry goal of shame, which counted and sent France to embarrass themselves in the World Cup and sent Ireland back home.

      Agreed however that simulating dives, especially in the box should be fought against. Suarez is an awesome player, but every time he drops to the ground is an opportunity lost for him to make something out of nothing. Diving needs to be eradicated.

  4. A Divers mindset: since it’s obvious I can’t make it on talent alone… here goes!

    Detest them all… and may the true men of football find reward for their integrity.

  5. “I don’t condone players who dive or make a meal out of a challenge because of what it takes away from the game. However I personally don’t blame the players for doing it.”

    What? How does that even make sense?

    Young was touched very softly in the box and made a total dive the GB diving team would be proud of.

    When Sir Alex says you dived, end of.

  6. While I understand the spirit of the article, it still feels like cheating is condoned.

    I agree that one should take advantage of a situation but not at the cost of one’s integrity.

    It’s bad enough that officiating is shoddy as it can be without players taking things too far.

  7. Football is a contact sport, the idea of there being contact so it’s ok to dive is utter nonsense. it has to be a foul and a foul for a direct free kick at that, NOT just contact. For the second week on the trot Ashley Young has cheated, there are no other word to describe what he did. He’s a cheat, hopefully this will even it self out over the next few games, I won’t hold my breath though!

  8. This whole diving thing REALLY bugs me. In this case Young definitely exaggerated things but he’s a very light weight player and he jinks around a lot, if you run fast and change direction you can fall over just avoiding someone, that doesn’t make it a dive. In this case he was DEFINITELY touched. All the pundits on BBC Monday Night Club agreed that this was a penalty (John Motson, Steve Claridge etc.), it’s just that he played for it, by leaving his leg behind, and then dived like an idiot.

  9. Its a shame when players like Young can dive and not get in trouble for it, but players like Tevez, who this weekend was given a yellow for “diving” in the box but the replay showed contact. Way more contact than the challenge on Young. Look it up. Its also horrible that The FA turns down Derry’s appeal when QPR are battling for their life at the bottom and need all the players they have available to play. Maybe it’s the conspiracy theorist in me but I think the only reason The FA rejected Derry’s appeal is because Young’s English. If they accepted the appeal they would be admitting that Young dived. That would go against everything the English stand for. The English ad suppose to stand tall, not go flying when someone barely touches them.

    1. What you have said here Noah shows the mind set of referees regarding the two Manchester clubs and has been the difference all season. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, if City do go on to win the league they will have been twice as good as Utd and not just the point or two they would win it by.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *