When Is A Bad Tackle Not A Bad Tackle?

By Dan Buxton
Last updated : 18 October 2010

Well clearly the answer is “when an Arsenal player commits the offence”.  

It’s fair to say I am absolutely disgusted with the old boys’ club that is the F.A. Premier League. The double standards that exist in the elite division are sickening to genuine football fans.  

In this weekend’s game at the Emirates, Jack Wilshere was sent off for a tackle that was as bad (if not worse) than the challenge that broke Eduardo’s leg in 2008. I say possibly worse because of how far Wilshere was away from the ball when he attempted his studs up, lunge on Nikola Zigic. The main difference of course is that the Serbian striker wasn’t seriously injured but that just goes to show that sometimes players are simply unlucky when they get badly hurt in tackles. Martin Taylor certainly didn’t do anything outlandish in his challenge other than simply being a fraction late but the outcry that followed that tackle was embarrassing to say the least.  

The ridiculous comments that emanated from Arsenal and their manager after that day at St. Andrews were of course mirrored after Ryan Shawcross challenged Aaron Ramsey at the Britannia Stadium early this year. Ever since that game Ryan has been vilified by both Arsenal’s fans and manager. With the recent discussions about “dangerous” tackling, Shawcross’s name has been unfairly dragged through the dirt once more.  

The main problem I have is that the majority of the media (and certainly Mr Wenger) have somehow managed to dismiss the Wilshere incident as “mistimed” because the young midfielder clearly has a huge future ahead of him for both club and country. Now I have no wish to get on Jack Wilshere’s back about a tackle that is simply part and parcel of football but the whole thing smacks of hypocrisy. My issue is that in Ryan Shawcross we also have an excellent up and coming player who has a potentially exciting career at the highest level but he has unfairly been cast as the Antichrist.  

Sadly the more people like Wenger and his sycophants peddle their myths, the more people will start to believe them. On the way to Bolton I heard TalkSport’s inane reporter, Ian “The Moose” Abraham talking about Stoke and the recent Danny Murphy comments. He wondered that if there was a bad tackle or a red card involving Stoke whether people would say that Murphy was correct. Well to that end, we didn’t see either so using his logic presumably that now means Murphy is wrong?  

After the weekend’s games we have of course seen Arsenal drop further down the Fair Play League after their third red card in eight games. With Blackburn riding high in fourth and Stoke occupying a mid-table position I find it interesting that a league table that prior to this season was seen as the “Gospel according to St. Arsene” apparently now “doesn’t tell the whole story”.  

The Premier League has many mini-leagues within it with teams striving to achieve vastly different goals. It certainly isn’t a level playing field with the “haves” and “have nots” never being equal in any way, shape or form. What you would hope is that the media would be even-handed over the coverage of the clubs in the top flight but they are not even close to that. This weekend the Mirror’s Michael Calvin stated that Aaron Ramsey had been a “victim of brute force and ignorance” whilst claiming that our previously highly respected first team coach, Gerry Francis was now nothing more than a Showaddywaddy look-a-like! Well Mr Calvin, I think if I’m going to listen to anyone’s views about football, I’ll choose a former England captain over an attention-seeking, tabloid hack if you don’t mind.  

I honestly don’t know what we can do other than accept that the southern- based media will always pander to the London clubs so I guess the best way to even the score a little is for Stoke to stay in the Premier League and keep on being an itch that they just can’t stop scratching.  

Stay loyal, proud and Stoke!

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