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Red Card Rising

Not since the fall of the Soviet Union has there been a menacing force like the red card. It somehow magically appears out of thin air, from the referee’s pocket to rear its ugly head. The red card is to football players, what Valhallawas to the Vikings. A place where the souls of the dead would sweep you away to the after life. No footballers were hurt in the making of this article. Remember how the Soviets would always try and get one over on their opponents whether it be drugs, psychology, politics or the threat of a global war. They always seemed to rear their ugly head at the most opportune time. What’s to stop the red card from every showing its ugly head? Maybe nothing. With that, let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Conspiracy? We all remember the Juventus fiasco with Luciano Moggi. The wire tapping of match officials, which included a lot of bribery. One week players would get sent of for a heinous tackle then magically appear the next week as if nothing happened. Small calls would be made in favour of Juventus such as a foul here and there leading towards the opponents goals. A good opportunity for a scoring chance wouldn’t you say? A little help from the referee never hurts. From what we have learned from our Mediterranean friends, who’s not to say the same can’t happen in England with match officials and the F.A. I beg to differ.

Just this past week Brad Friedel’s red card was rescinded by the F.A. out of thin air. This isn’t new in England. Chelsea players including Lampard, Terry, and others have also gotten their cards rescinded just like that. Liverpool’s Gerrard for his actions at the nightclub in Southport was dismissed completely. As if nothing happened. If you watch matches in the Premier League you can see referees making small calls here and there in favour of certain clubs. Remember the big clubs can intimidate referees and get the call their way. They don’t seem obvious to someone who hasn’t been watching the game forever. I know an act when I see one. Why doesn’t Vidic’s or Rooney’s card get overturned? Makes you think. Being one of the most provoked players in the Premier League it wouldn’t be a surprise for Rooney to be public enemy number one. If you’re the opposing team and the referee is in your pocket, why not? Case in point Rob Styles.

It came to my attention that Rob Styles was on the board of directors for a paving company in London. While this was made public, he continued to referee games involving Chelsea and still does. A great friend to have as well. So the act continues. Whatever happened to Clattenberg? Oh yes! He was fired but then magically his sentence got reduced to eight months. Give me a break. I can’t wait for the lid to blow on English football, the game that I love so much. It’s only a matter of time. If the F.A. can overturn red cards, players acquitted of criminal acts are let free, and have the referee in your pockets (i.e. Roman), then God help the beautiful game.

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  1. todd

    March 26, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    well for that ill agree, it is surely up for debate since we are getting into player and ref’s heads. however if like you said, the ref was frustrated with ronaldo and gave rooney his 2nd yellow, perhaps once cooler heads prevailed.. they could rescind his as well.

    look, i took no issue with this.. until they overturned brad friedel’s. by doing that, they bring up the merit of many other cards. and we start considering the intentions and temprements for each player.

    but i appreciate your calm demeanor

  2. GC345

    March 26, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Full disclosure here: I appreciate Rooney’s talent and have been a United follower for a long time. I definitely do not have a bias against the club and I like to think that I am not biased for the club either. I have no problems saying they played poorly (which they did in the 1st half against Fulham). I also follow Boro in EPL Division 2 🙂

    If we disregard whether he threw the ball at the ref or not, the replays you can find on youtube show that he picks the ball up and instead of ‘nicely’ returning it for the free kick, he winds up and fires it for all he’s worth. It was definitely not in the spirit of the game and to suggest otherwise seems a bit naive. It was an act of frustration and was childish on his part. He knew he was on a yellow and yet decided to act out. There was simply no need to put himself in that situation where he could be booked. Perhaps this will be a wake-up call to him that he is not above the rules of the game.

    You ask why Ronaldo’s behaviour from that match is relevant? The ref is human too, perhaps he was fed up with the constant complaining and dissent that was coming from the United side. On at least two occasions Ronaldo was in the referee’s face asking for another player to be booked. That is supposed to now be a bookable offence itself. Dowd was lenient and warned him away.

    I agree with you that there are some real grey areas, judging what is or is not a foul or booking is very subjective but that’s what gives us fans something to debate ! 🙂

  3. todd

    March 26, 2009 at 12:37 am

    also, the mentions of ronaldos actions are moot. it has no bearing on rooney, scholes, vidic, friedl, fergie or even obama. why must we consider emotions or situations when judging a foul? if we consider situations, then a player taking the ball to the corner would be time wasting? it isnt, because its an acceptable action in the field of play. as long as your actions are in line with the spirit of the game, why should you be punished? rooneys actions before or after the ‘foul’ have no bearing unless by throwing the ball, he caused the match to be halted or hindered the other team in some way. would there not be a foul if he threw the ball slower? if so, does the pace in which he threw the ball indicate a foul? thats a grey area no?

  4. todd

    March 26, 2009 at 12:32 am

    how could a replay show you the intent of rooneys actions? did you see some replay that showed his thought process? and the ball he ‘hurled’, was it directed at the ref? or did he simply throw the ball at a quicker pace to the spot of the foul for your liking? lets be fair, it was a situational foul… what he did appeared to be a foul. but in the act, itself, he did nothing wrong. a player who kicks the ball away to waste time, a player who obstructs play to gain a competitive advantage. these are fouls. rooneys ‘error’ was simply in the fierceness of his actions. the act itself is no worse than a keeper who picks up a ball and tosses it forward to take a quick free kick. quit judging what rooney meant by his actions.. and judge the action itself.

  5. Patrick

    March 25, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    I’d like to get some clearity here, based on an almost two year old Times story about a company that Styles is connected, that we are talking about?

    I mean I read a good bit of English press and if there was anything to this they’d be on it like wolves. right?

    You may have a point that certain refs are intimidated by names/ big clubs, but after hearing Phil Brown moan about spitting, and blown calls in this FA cup loss, alot of this is just sour grapes and really poor sportsmanship.

    Maybe we could bring that back.

  6. GC345

    March 25, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    The FIFA Laws of the Game have a statement that covers poor sportsmanship. A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he commits any one of
    seven types of offences. Two of those types are unsporting behaviour and dissent by word or action. Rooney’s action qualified as both. He hurled the ball back angrily and the replay I watched made it look like it was directed at the ref. He escaped further punishment because no report of verbal abuse was made by the referee.

    United were lucky to not also have Ronaldo sent off for repeatedly showing dissent to the referee.

  7. todd

    March 25, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    when has the inability to control your temper been a yellow card? what foul did he commit exactly? why does his freaking reputation or “temper” have anything to do with it. it was nothing directed to the ref, another player, or the fans.

  8. Paul Bestall

    March 25, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Definately, if the ref had a chance to have seen a replay before showing him the red card, it would have been a yellow. It was a clash, a penalty, but never a professional foul or a red card in a million years.

    Rooney clearly deserved his card, even after all these years, the lad still can’t control his temper. A wonderful player, but needs to sort his on field discipline out.

  9. GC345

    March 25, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    The rescinding of Friedel’s red card was correct. The original decision to show him red was wrong. He came out to play the ball and couldn’t get out of the way of the oncoming attacker. A penalty kick and a yellow card certainly would have been acceptable punishment but not a red.

  10. todd

    March 25, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    ive heard many people try to explain how they managed to get in brad friedl’s head and determine his intentions, yet apparently, paul scholes was equally trying to audition for edwin van der sar’s job??

    look, both players denied a goal from going in the back of the net. both should accept their red card, else we see many players claiming to not mean to in the future… a sort of reverse diving. if you stop the other team from scoring a goal, and you do so in a manner that is considered a foul, its a red. i dont care if friedl spent the whole game, sat in that one spot. in that play he struck the man and did not get the ball. end of.

    now ill say this. both teams, villa and united, stopped the other side form scoring what would be a clear goal. both got a player sent off. both gave up the goal anyway by penalty kick, and both looked to be without their respective players services for one match. why on earth would a keeper who didnt use his hands be allowed to play, and a field player who did, not.

    dont get into a perspective discussion either. scholes motion was every bit as reactionary and impulsive as the one with friedl. i dont care which one ‘meant’ to stop the ball from hitting the net more. ask yourself this.. if your team was about to score the goal to win the champions league, and the other team denies you that chance, for whatever reason… would you actually consider the players intentions when considering if its a foul or not? you have to ask yourself also, if any contact with a hand away from body in the box an automatic penalty? is taking a player down in any fashion when the ball is not touched first a penalty? now, if it stops a goal are these both equally a red? where does intent or circumstance come into the discussion.

    vidic and rooneys reds should stand, despite the fact that i think both second yellows were very soft.

  11. Paul

    March 25, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Rob, you make an interesting point in regards to the FA and its fishy dealings with rescinding red cards and Rob Styles link with Chelsea.
    I don’t think it is fair for the FA to take back red cards that are deserved, and keep those that do not even make sense. The article is entirely fact based disregarding some of the comments previously eluded. We need more people with positve thought and energy on a topic that some chose to negate.
    Keep up the interesting technique m8.

  12. Dano

    March 25, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    What does Gerrard’s nightclub actions have to do with a red card offense? His actions are punishable by law, not by the FA. Friedl’s card was rightly rescinded. When I watched the play occur I knew it the referee had to show him a card for denying an obvious scoring attempt, but it was harsh – it made sense for the FA to take back the decision. It isn’t a knock against the referee since he was following the rules, but it however a nod to Friedl’s play and the manner in which he accepted the card.

    Rooney’s red card on the other hand was not only warranted but should not and will not be rescinded. The emotion (read anger) shown warrants the suspension as he was not playing in the spirit of the game.

  13. Mark

    March 25, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    If you are trying to discredit this argument, I suggest you read this link. To save you time, Rob Styles is on the Board of a paving company that just paved the driveway of Chelsea moneybags, Roman Abramovich. . I’ll concede, it doesn’t prove anything concretely, no pun intended, but still sounds fishy. Rob gives Chelsea brakes on the pitch and concrete, and Roman supplies the money. We need more people like Rob, who aren’t afraid to speak out against the power of the F.A. and the London teams.

  14. Eric

    March 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I don’t agree with this Hank fellow. Facts such as Chelsea and Liverpool having their player’s punishments getting taken away, but others who play for United, like Vidic and Rooney don’t have that luxury. I don’t think this article was meant to blow the lid off anything or uncover anything completely, but this Rob guy brings up good points. Cheers mate, don’t give up the fight Rob.

  15. Patrick

    March 25, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    What am I missing in regard to Rob Styles and paving company and Chelsea. Is it cause its in London or controled by CFC??? I don’t understnd how an outside business interest has to do with how he calls a game. Mybe you could explin what you mean by singling out that one club and not all of the London clubs. Thanks.

  16. Dor

    March 25, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    An informative piece, great detail and commentary. Kept me reading!

  17. Hank

    March 25, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Sorry, maybe fact-free isn’t fair – but there’s very little evidence or critical analysis. This post reads like something I’d hear from the drunk fellow in the corner of the bar if I mistakenly made eye contact with him.

  18. Hank

    March 25, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    An startlingly fact-free piece of writing.

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