I MUST confess to being a little perplexed by the current spat between Saints, the FA and the referees’ governing body and also the “outrage” of Tottenham Hotspur fans following the “2-0”
gesture of the unfortunate Theo Walcott in the recent FA Cup tie.
I say this both as a lifelong Saints fan and someone who is still very much involved in grass roots football despite, shall we say, advancing years.
Taking the Lallana incident first. Yes, it looks as if he had a good shout for a penalty, and if I read reports correctly, Adam used the odd expletive in his appeal to Mark Clattenburg.
Clattenburg decided he was not going to award a penalty and instead of waving Lallana away, made what he thought at the time was a humorous quip so that the game could move on.
Surely Adam’s reaction should have been something like “well you’ll never play for England anyway”, jog away and get on with it. Now, battle lines are drawn with Saints suggesting that they do not want Clattenburg to referee their games in the short term.
It is an impossible situation. If clubs can pick and choose who is (not) to referee their games, noting also Brendan Rodgers’ recent comment about Greater Manchester officials refereeing Liverpool games, where does that leave us?
What if, next time Clattenburg referees a Saints’ game, he gives us what looks like a “soft”
penalty, imagine the post match outburst of the aggrieved opposing manager. Equally, if a “stick on” penalty for Saints is denied, Poch is likely to say “fue penalti, por cierto!”* Turning to Walcott. No doubt he suffered pretty strong abuse as he lay on the turf in front of the Spurs contingent, seriously injured, as it now turns out. To suggest that he should be punished is to my mind, ludicrous. Away from a football stadium, throwing missiles at someone on a stretcher would be considered dangerous as well as anti social and it would be the perpetrators facing sanctions.
I would love to know how many Spurs fans have been charged, or were ejected on the day.
Time for football to get real.
* “That was a definite penalty.”
Ian Ritchie, Hampshire