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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Why the serious injuries will continue to occur


I want to pick up on a theme that's being developed over at www.arseblog.com with regards to the sort of serious injury suffered by Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo. As has been stated by my blogging colleague the injuries will continue to happen like this until someone takes the issue seriously, and realises that the perpetrators of the tackles need to be more seriously dealt with. How can there be justice (or an effective deterrent) if Ryan Shawcross and Martin Taylor get only a three match ban when the person they assaulted is out for over a year? Another reason why we'll continue to see bad injuries as a result of reckless tackles is the fact that it's deemed acceptable among talentless dinosaurs who are somehow cultivating a career in the media. Step forward Chris Coleman and Robbie Savage.
I was in the car before the game yesterday and listening to the build-up on Radio 5. Savage was the "expert" employed to give a Welsh perspective on proceedings. Shortly before the teams emerged from the tunnel he was asked by the presenter, Mark Chapman, what Wales would have to do if they were to get a result against England. Savage's reply (and anyone who has listened to his inane ramblings in 6-0-6 will recognise this patois) was "smash in to them." Now this is right up there with the old English phrase of "let them know you're about." Savage went on to say that when he was at Blackburn Mark Hughes would instruct his players to get out there and "smash in to" the opposition - this would explain Blackburn's tactics in the 2005 FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal (lead by the odious Savage they went about assaulting the entire Arsenal team - I particularly remember Cesc Fabregas being welcomed to the game by a foul above the knee from Savage). This sums up the problem. Instead of aspiring to play football like those with a bit more talent, the stock response is to go out and stop them playing by means of physical intimidation. I have heard Savage espouse this "tactic" as the way of beating Arsenal on more than one occasion this season. I can't understand how the BBC can countenance spending licence-payers money on this kind of "expert opinion" (they did, of course, denounce the Dutch team in the World Cup Final for "smashing in to" their media darlings, Spain).
When I got home I watched the game, with Chris Coleman as the co-commentator on Sky. He was asked the same question with regards to how Wales could get a result. Again he responded that violence (not in so many words) was the answer. Given that Coleman himself saw his career ended by a broken leg (albeit from a car accident, rather than on the football pitch) I find this fairly sickening. It was strange, then, to hear Coleman describe a foul by Wayne Rooney as "a bit naughty." I can only deduce from this that it is okay, in Coleman's book, for the less talented to make nasty fouls, but when a quality player goes out and kicks someone then it's rather bad form. It doesn't make Rooney's behaviour right, but it shows the warped thinking of people like Chris Coleman.
The point I'm trying to illustrate, and the point made over at Arseblog, is that all the time this attitude prevails in the media then the leg-breaking tackle will continue to be made. It is noticeable that the most notorious of these incidents over recent years have involved fouls by English players (Smith, Taylor, Shawcorss), made against non-English players (Diaby, Eduardo, Ramsey). It is surely also no coincidence that they have all involved Arsenal players on the receiving end (see Savage's 6-0-6 remarks). I have to conclude that the only way it will be properly addressed is when an Englishman has his leg snapped in two by a foreigner - just you wait for the fallout from that incident.

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