I don’t normally write much here about football despite it being a big part of my life. It’s a bit like the rule on pub conversations — don’t venture into religion or politics, and in blogdom you can probably add football, particularly if, like me, you happen to be a ManU supporter. Doesn’t exactly draw the sympathy vote.
But I’ve bitten my tongue long enough over this Ronaldo is a cheat business. I should preface my comments with the hope that I’m not blinded by bias and that I would say the same had the situation be reversed. My red credentials in the open (and before you ask, a fan since I was a boy, as was my father before me and his father before him) I say this:
- It wasn’t a penalty; the keeper didn’t touch him.
- The referee got it wrong.
- Ronaldo didn’t dive, he stumbled.
Watch the replays. He doesn’t throw himself chest first on the floor. He puts his hands out in an attempt to regain his balance and fails. The referee gives his wrong decision and United go 1-0 up and unless footballers have been schooled in reverse psychology by feigning an attempted recovery while diving, then Ronaldo is in the clear. And Alex agrees.
If there is a question to be asked, it isthis: if a player stumbles, knowing that the goalie or whoever hasn’t touched them, and the ref awards a penalty, what are they supposed to do? Go to the ref and say, “No, no, you got it wrong”?
I can only recall one apparent example in football. I think it was Michael Owen (Though I stand to be corrected) who seemed to be brought down by a keeper and waved his hands in a “No, no” sort of way, although it was in the early clampdown on diving and I still think the denial was of a dive, not the potential penalty.
Blatant honesty might have a place in sports still played in the Corinthian spirit, but how many are there these days? None than I can think of. And had Ronaldo done the decent thing, can you imagine Taggart’s hairdryer? Or the fans come to that.
The answer, they say, is technology — tv replays, transmitters in the ball to say whether it crossed the line or not. Not me. Give me the uncertainty of bad reffing any day. Life isn’t certain or fair and footie has always reflected that. That’s its magic.
At the end of the day, you take each game as it comes, in two halves as it does, but if the players turn up for the manager, and whether sick as a parrot or over the moon, these decisions even themselves out over the season.
Just not in the Chelsea away game, I hope.