Monday, January 17, 2011


I must first make a confession. Although I am a Manchester United fan I have a soft spot for Tottenham Hotspur.

You see, I worked in London and lived in Tottenham High Road about half a mile away from the Spurs ground.

For many years I would be found at White Hart Lane watching the stars of the day. I saw Manchester United with Sir Matt Busby arrive, with Bobby Charlton, George Best, Dennis Law (My favourite player) etc beat the Spurs. Dave Mackay ensured games were hard with muddy pitches. Players, spectators and more importantly referees accepted that football was a contact sport.

That said yesterday’s game at White Hart Lane disappointed me greatly. Whilst Manchester United played well, especially the defence who were magnificent, Spurs players were all determined to get the United players booked or worse. Gareth Bale, who was not allowed to play his normal game, became a wimp, screaming every time he was tackled. He sounded worse than either of the Williams Sisters playing tennis! Van Der Vaart showed us all what he had picked up from playing in Spain, that rolling around feigning injury gets free kicks.

It is all so frustrating. I wonder what such players would have done facing the Tommy Smiths, Nobby Stiles, Jack Charlton or Dave Mackay! But my main criticism is towards referee’s. When will they learn that if someone is really injured they will never roll over and over. They will fall down and stay down. When will they give cards to the disgraceful, yet growing, habit of players waving their hand with an imaginary card towards the referee, in an attempt to get an opponent sent off? But wasn’t it wonderful to see Rio Ferdinand give Da Silva a ticking off for doing just that! That was responsible and the more players that do that to team mates the better the game will be for them!

The Liverpool man on duty, as the referee, Dean, was, as usual in my humble opinion, poor and should be relegated immediately to the second division. Four yellow cards and one red card for Manchester United and two yellow cards for Tottenham was quite ridiculous.

I do hope Manchester United appeal against the red card for Da Silva, it was the worst decision and a wrong decision. Even Redknapp accepts it was not a foul! One would have hoped that Dean, the referee, would rescind the Red card on seeing the video of the incident. But I will not hold my breath.

Am I the only one who, when watching Carrick, is reminded of Ray Wilkins? Wilkins would continually pass across the pitch or backwards to the defence. Carrick hardly ever passes forward these days!. Nani didn’t turn up! Leaving Fletcher alone in midfield in effect.However, if it was not for Gomes Manchester United could have won.

I did expect Tottenham to beat United. But on the day they were not up to it, especially when we were reduced to ten men. It was a good game ,but it was not a dirty game, spoilt by the acting and poor sportsmanship by Spurs! and, not the first game, sadly, by the referee.

The referee’s acquiescence of the Spurs players tactics does raise the question IS football a contact sport or not?

Strapworld. 19:27. 17th January 2010.


  1. What a ridiculous article. All United players ever do is pressure the referee and try to get players booked or sent off. By the fifteen minute mark yesterday the Saint of English football Ryan Giggs had shouted at the ref and both linesmen. You talk about unsporting conduct - i didn't hear any of that when Ronaldo dived for a penalty at White Hart Lane a few years back. Or when Vidic screamed at the linesman. Or Rooney. Or when Rooney clearly dived for a penalty at Old Trafford against Arsenal last season. Seems Man U fans have selective blindness just like their manager. As for the contact sport rubbish - Rafael should clearly have been sent off for the first one! If it had been Palacios on Rafael then we all know it would have been red.

  2. It is but Man Utd were playing a very cynical game and they did get away with a lot of fouls too, the red card had to be given by the letter of the law, he tripped a player who had the beating of him whether he meant it or not and the ref probably remembered before being lenient that Rafael was waving imaginary yellow card around earlier in the game. VDV, Rooney and Carrick all lived quite dangerously and I think the ref did well to only dish out one red. The referee was by no means towards United as he missed cynical fouls by United but he was just a bit incompetent all around.

    I don't think Fergie can say Gerrard should have gone and the defend Rafael when his first yellow would be enough to trigger a red in some people's opinion (not mine though.)

  3. To answer your question first,

    No it's not, and you sound like an old fan, so funny you dont kow this.

    Every sport, where the ball has to be free to move around, there is not any contact, like football, basketball. The more you can move with the ball locked, the more contact you can have, like Handball, where you can take 3 steps with the ball locked. The most extreme is the NFL or Rugby, where there is full contact due to no limit on steps with the ball locked.

    So, the answer is, NO, you have to play the ball!

    As for the article. Man U pulled shirts, tripped faster more technical players, fouled them in violent ways, harassed the poor refs as they always do, parked the buss, and played basically worse than Mancini could ever do with City... There was only one team wanting and trying to win, and it was spurs...

  4. If not for Gomes United would have won? Ha ha ha

  5. You are joking right?

    The team that bought us the ever-so-sturdy-on-his-feet Mr Ronaldo?

    Please say this is a joke?

  6. So you dont think Raphael was lucky to still be on the pitch after the first challenge? And you didnt see ManU players kick the ball away 4 times when VdV got booked for doing it once? You also didnt see Vidic nearly rip VdV's shirt off in the box. But then your selective myopia matches that of Webb, Clattenburg and co. How you have the gall to complain about refereeing decisions after Mendes, the pen that Webb gave you, Nani's juggling act with the ball etc etc etc? Unbelievable! And you wonder why everyone despises you?

  7. You moron, Rafael should already have been sent off for the high tackle on Palacios, or at least had a second yellow for waving an imaginary card. And what acting and poor sportsmanship are you talking about?! Nice to see you have such perfect role models like Rafael and Rooney, ranting and raving like a pair of lunatics at the referee. I hope the F.A throws the fucking book at them.

  8. Your softspot for Spurs is well hidden. De Silva should have been sent off when showing his imaginary card to the ref - the foul he eventualy was sent off for is not cruel, but he comes from behind-contact is made and Ekotto falls. Yellow card.
    You ask if football is a contact sport? Vidic got away with quite some cantact on VdV - trying to swap shirt before the game was over. And both Vidic and Rooney showed, again, how manu gets off easy-both yelling and swearing to the refs. Rooney got a yellow, but continued his rambling. I would have given him a second yellow...
    VdV was booked for kicking the ball away - I think it was Giggs? that did the same - no booking.
    If you think the ref was harsh on manu, maybe you should watch the game one more time...

  9. Red,

    Rafael won the ball and even United hater Andy Gray said "he was unlucky to be booked!". Gray also pointed out that Crouch made a similar tackle on Carrick but he got away with it. IF Dean booked Rafael then he should have booked Crouch

  10. Joe,

    You need educating: There is NO comparison between the Gerrard and Rafael tackle.

    Gerrard launched himself into TWO footed tackle and they are potential leg breakers.

    Rafael won the ball and even United hater Andy Gray said "was unlucky to be booked!". Gray also pointed out that Crouch made a similar tackle on Carrick but he got away with it. IF Dean booked Rafael then he should have booked Crouch

  11. Oivind,

    With ref to Gerrard, read my comments above. With ref to shirt pulling, I think you're referring to Vidic being pulled up but Tyler stated that BOTH players were at it.

    Dean is a poor ref who caved in too easily under extreme pressure from the home crowd.

  12. Loyd,

    You are not on your own, but you too clearly do not know the difference between a two-footed lunge (Gerrard style) and a fair tackle. Rafael won the ball.

  13. Strapworld,

    Fletcher has been playing well below his best for a few weeks now. Ferguson is sticking with him for now, but unless he improves quickly I predict a spell on the bench starting with our next game. Scholes will replace Fletch.

    IT is supposed to be a contact sport, there wasn't a bad tackle in the Spurs game despite what the North London Ladies on here are claiming. It wasn't a dirty game. Dean is one of our worst refs and that is the top and bottom of it.

  14. Sometimes you have to wonder exactly what the referees are looking at when they give these decisions, and how they can give one player a yellow and another nothing.


  15. I disagree with most comments. I guess it's a great article. Had it been in Spurs' hands, the entire team would have got sent off. It was just ridiculous.

    Look, I have written an article and I hope your blog does the job of making people aware of this. This is because people really need to know the article is named, "For Eery United fan who has ever dared to call ManUTD, Man U"

    please have a read

    Love :)

  16. @Red
    Funny you should mention Palacios. Take a look at this:

    This was the same game your lot love whining about- if Carrick's penalty was 'lucky' Palacios was luckier to be on the pitch. For the record, Palacios got away with a warning for this two-footed lunge.

  17. And as far as being hated goes, noone hates a team that wins one major trophy every twenty years. United, on the other hand, have won just about everything there is to win and you expect me to still feel sad because the supporters of the second best club in North London hate us for it? Oh well...

  18. For the Spurs fans here. Before you start slating Rafael - a player who got a red card remember, he was punished! - take a look at the gif Dela posted of Palacios' filthy challenge. If that had connected then you are looking at a potential broken leg. So for all your whinging about Rafael just remember he was punished for what he did wrong and you got away with your dirty challenges. We ended the game with 10 men. You've got nothing to whinge about.

    I really rate Rafael, think he is a fantastic prospect but ever since the Bayern game he seems very risky in big matches. Seems to have a very rash side to him and it needs to be stamped out of his game before he becomes as big a liability as Gary Neville.

    As for the other stuff about us being very defensive. Is that at all surprising? We were playing away against one of the best sides in the league, a team considered title contenders, a team that can also boast possibly the best attacking midfield in the league with Bale, VDV, Modric in the form of their lives. Oh not to mention an undeafeated run we are eager to protect. Did you expect us to take risks going forward and trying to hammer you guys. Be realistic here you would be happy with a point at Old Trafford under the same circumstances.
    Besides were we defensive or was it more a case of our midfield/attack being a bit crap in that game while our defense was watertight?

  19. Dela/Dave,

    That Palacios tackle was indeed a potential leg breaker; That is exactly the sort of challenge that needs to be stamped on (ahem).

    As for Rafael, I really like him and I think / hope he wouldn't find himself in so many of those 'do or die' situations if he were played in midfield.

    Rafael would do better than Fletcher for certain, his passing is dreadful.

  20. So you start chanting about a game you won months ago and pointing out potential redcards? Wow, that's a new one... I guess you were all in all pleased with your favorit ref (the one who couldn't give us victory at your groud ages ago...) in that game. Nani clearly handles the ball and the ref says play on. And once again one of your players (Rio that time) are alowed to bash the ref without consequenses.
    Well, no need to get excited. We Spurs fans know you are a better team. What we don't like is how your players get away with the bitchin and whining to the refs. And just to be clear: we know Palacios was lucky to avoid a red card, and we know that in the end of the season we to have had our lucky moments with ref decisions.
    And when did someone decide that ManU is wrong, and ManUTD is the right way..?


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