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Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Weekend Football: Do English players/managers get treated differently than the Foreigners?

Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United: Did Carragher escape much criticism from the press because he is English?

Its taken me a little longer to actually get down to writing something down after the debacle of Sunday's loss at Anfield. It was disappointing from the United boys to say the least, especially the lack of effort in the face of a fired up Liverpool side. Maybe the game at Stamford Bridge had taken too much out of the side, but it is now time to get back on the horse for the Red Devils.

At the end of the day, the side still leads the Premier League by 3 points, although they may just have left the door ajar for a late Chelsea push- personally I think the West London club have left it too late and the 1 point gained from a game at Fulham and the home game with Liverpool was where they lost too much ground.

However, the basis for what I am writing is down to the one thing that infuriated me more than any other at Anfield on Sunday- the 'tackle' Jamie Carragher made on Nani that left the Portuguese star with a 'very deep gash' in his leg.

It was reckless, it was high, it was late, and I still haven't quite figured out what Phil Dowd was thinking to ONLY award a yellow card. Would it have affected the end result? No one can honestly answer that because United were so poor in the first half, but what I do know is that they would have fancied their chances of getting something more from 10 men with 45 minutes left to play.

It was also amusing seeing the lack of criticism of the tackle- yes, the pundits labelled it a sending off offence and they said Carragher was lucky to get away with it, but reading through match reports following the game and you could be forgiven that such a pivotal moment had taken place.

Now maybe this was down to the media blackout imposed by Sir Alex Ferguson after the game? I am sure the manager would have made it a point to mention the reckless nature of the tackle and perhaps the media would have made more of it. BUT I am beginning to think there is something else happening here:

I find the English media is quick to label any foreign players as 'dirty', 'diving', 'cheats', who have been brought up in a 'different' way to English and British players- the British on the other hand are as 'honest' as the day is long and only use tactics like diving because the foreigners do. A frequently heard phrase is 'diving has only been brought into our game since the foreigners started arriving with more regularity'.

What pretentious bullshit! Take a look at games in the 70s and 80s and you see people diving and trying to 'con' referees- the only difference is that now we have almost 400 cameras at every game and analyse tackles from every angle, back then you would be lucky to have 1 camera to capture any diving.

I also began to wonder what the reaction of the media would have been if, for example, Manual de Pereira Costa made that lunging knee high tackle on Joe Smith, an England International? I'm pretty sure the Tower of London would once more have been open for business as hangings commenced.

Is this the lack of criticism aimed at Jamie Carragher a direct result of said Carragher acting as pundit for the company that showed the game live on TV? I think you can make your own minds up about that.

Ironic Moment of the Week: Kenny Dalglish on Friday said 'If you do something stupid you deserve to be sent off... You have to compete but it is a fine line as to how you do it, but it's got to be within the rules of the game'- Regarding the Wayne Rooney incident from the week prior involving James McCarthy

After the Manchester United game his view had become 'Football is more important than an incident in the football match'- Sidestepping the issue of whether or not Jamie Carragher should have been sent off for the tackle on Nani

So either he thinks the tackle was 'within the rules of the game' or now it doesn't matter because the referee has made his decision and Liverpool won? Perhaps 'King Kenny' should just concentrate on his own house from now on rather than having sly digs at the team from up the M62.

Harry Redknapp Complaining about a lack of funds to challenge the top 4: Are you sure Mr Redknapp?

It really caught my eye when I saw an article where Harry Redknapp was complaining about a lack of funds to challenge the top 4 in the Premier League- I wasn't sure whether the article was being ironic or geniune!!

But it does seem this is a genuine gripe Mr Redknapp has, but how can this be so? Tottenham have backed him to the hilt since he joined the club, spending sizeable sums on the likes of Wilson Palacious, Jermaine Defoe, Peter Crouch and Rafael Van der Vaart to name just some.

OK, I will say they don't have the same funding as a Chelsea or a Manchester City, but those two are the exceptions in recent seasons for the amounts they have spent, and even the former had been much quieter in the market up until the £70 million outlay on Fernando Torres and David Luiz in January.

Both Manchester United and Arsenal are a step ahead of Spurs in terms of experience and having their squad become familiar with one another over time, but both clubs have not outspent Spurs since Redknapp took over at White Hart Lane.

Arsene Wenger certainly has not spent as much as Redknapp, yet has his side challenging for honours and consistently in the top 4. Yes, Arsenal are further up the line than Spurs, but should Tottenham really be 9 points behind them considering the Gunners have dropped 27 points so far this season?

It also seems the media love building up the success Redknapp is having at the moment- yes, Tottenham are going places, but surely the attempts to purchase Midfielder Number 500, 501 and 502 (Mark Van Bommel, David Beckham and Charlie Adam) during the transfer window would have been a misuse of whatever funds Tottenham have? There is clearly a need for a couple of full backs, and another striker in my opinion rather than adding to a midfield that has the likes of Modric, Van der Vaart, Huddlestone, Lennon, Bale, Palacious and Krankjar already vying for places. I very much doubt that the three players he bid for would have been an improvement on what he has already.

Therefore, this complaint that Harry does not have enough money stinks to me as a way to get fans on his side. We have to remember that fans dont care about financial profit/loss sheets, but they do care about silverware. They will always back the manager who is enjoying success, especially when he claims he cant get to the next level because of a lack of money being made available to him, but Tottenham are a well run club and I dont think they will be bullied to 'do a Leeds' and break the back trying to achieve something that may just be beyond their means until they move to a new Stadium.

Tottenham fans should also be grateful they have a strong Chairman in Daniel Levy to limit the 'ambitions' of a manager that clearly has the England job in mind following Euro 2012- just take a quick look at the state of Southampton and Portsmouth, 2 clubs that allowed Redknapp to have his own way in recent seasons, and their financial problems? The Portsmouth one can be linked directly to the overspending Redknapp did at the club (he also seemed to have around 504 Midfielders there), yet good old 'Arry wont take the blame but send people towards a Chairman who let him spend the money.

Remember one thing Spurs fans- Daniel Levy will be there keeping your club going in the right direction long after 'Arry is turned into some sort of vegetable by the media following England's failure to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

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