Manchester United's Rooney Must Be Punished For His Manchester City-Baiting Adebayor Slide
Earth breaking headlines and calls for City to now play behind closed doors as a pocket of fans marred another hard fought derby. Frustrating, really, that after 90 minutes of such brilliant end to end action, the game was overshadowed by a minority of fans who stole the show from those on the pitch.
You've probably heard by now of the deplorable behaviour from pockets of both sets of fans, throwing any number of objects at one another, from pennies to mobile phones, the former putting a dint in the head of Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand. Inexcusable though it is, one must query whether any such trouble would have occurred should Wayne Rooney had celebrated with his other 10 team mates instead of running to the Manchester City end and sliding on his knees. Provocative? Yes. Excusable? No.
It is essential to look at the balance of responsibility between fans and players, should both share equal responsibility or are the players totally blameless? After a game of high tension and flared tempers, the sight of Rooney sliding towards the already angry home fans did little to diffuse the growing hostilities, and I'd go as far as to say without such irresponsibility, the succeeding trouble wouldn't have occurred. This being said, Rooney did take a lot of stick from around the ground throughout the game, but it is a derby game between the fiercest of rivals, what do you expect? Here is not the place to respond with “if you can't take it don't give it”, because that is the same for fans and players: Ferdinand may not have had to take it if Rooney didn't give it out.
9 fans were charged, equal in numbers from both home and away fans; not least the fool who ran onto the pitch to face up to Rio Ferdinand. In a show of infrequent unity between sets of players, Joe Hart stepped in and saved what may have been quite ugly scenes, and may have saved the young tool from a prison sentence rather than a ban.
As the inquest goes on and the witch-hunt for the Ferdinand coin tosser continues, Gareth Barry has since been charged for 'using abusive and/or insulting language towards a match official'. The farce continues. In a match which saw crunching tackles, terrible offside decisions and patchy advantage calls from the officials, Barry's temper was understandable, if unacceptable. In the final seconds of the game, Tevez swiped out at an opposition player, an act which has since gone unpunished, and so the inconsistency of officiating and post-match charges remains mystifying. I'll ask you to cast your minds back to 2009, in a game which saw Emmanuel Adebayor race towards the travelling Arsenal fans and slide across the pitch, as bottles, coins and lighters rained down upon him. Adebayor was given a 2 match ban and a £25,000 fine, which the media called 'lenient', as the Commission stated “players have a responsibility to conduct themselves in a proper manner and that such celebrations are unacceptable and have the potential to cause a serious public order incident.” If Rooney escapes similar actions, it brings the FA into disrepute and asks further questions regarding their consistency and integrity. I'm not asking for Rooney to face a 10 game ban and a £1m fine, just a little uniformity.
Whist we're talking about consistency, many in the media and many fans have typically short memories. When Bellamy came under fire from Manchester United fans, a bottle missed him by inches as a coin cut his face. The man who threw the coin was arrested but the entire incident escaped much media attention; Bellamy's reputation had preceded him and the media weren't bothered. An English centre half receives similar treatment and the press call for fences and Manchester City playing behind closed doors. Consistency? M.I.A.
There will always be a tiny minority of football fans who will do idiotic things, the media giving them front page news is good for nobody. Leave the police to deal with them and for once, talk about the game of football.