At the end of a beautiful yet bestial weekend that epitomised what is right and wrong with elite English football, we could not celebrate the glorious exuberance of matches such as those won by the Manchester clubs without acrimoniously debating side issues featured on television, notably the dismissal at White Hart Lane of Paul Scholes, which Sir Alex Ferguson and others deemed harsh, and the continued presence of Emmanuel Adebayor on the City of Manchester Stadium pitch after his boot drew blood from the face of an outraged Robin van Persie.
In some quarters of the moral maze, this was not the worst of Adebayor’s afternoon and the apology he made in front of the cameras concerned his expression of joy and relief after scoring a crucial goal for City against Arsenal. That he ran, ignoring missiles, to face the visiting fans who had spent most of the previous season at the Emirates Stadium abusing him was stupid and undignified, no doubt, but I thought this a relatively trivial matter.
Fans lose their right to be offended when they go on the offensive. If they cannot take it — these miserable products of a sick society who consider a player’s family fair game for the vilest insults and yet, because of their numbers, are allowed to continue to serve as football’s audience — they should not give it. Adebayor did say sorry and the implication that he will take care not to repeat an offence for which he was rightly shown a yellow card by Mark Clattenburg should be the end of the matter.
The Van Persie incident was different. The Dutchman accused his erstwhile colleague of a “mindless and malicious stamp” that might have endangered an eye and Clattenburg, when he is shown the video, is expected to confirm that he would have shown Adebayor a red card had he discerned it. This, under the FA’s simplistic disciplinary rules, renders Adebayor liable to a three-match suspension. Thus the same punishment would be applied as if Van Persie had merely had his shirt tugged while running through on goal.
But the rights and wrongs are a lot more complicated than that. Check the video again and you will see that the challenge by Van Persie that preceded Adebayor’s dig was itself a red-card candidate. As was the potentially leg-breaking assault, masquerading as a tackle, for which Scholes was shown his first yellow card against Tottenham Hotspur.
Van Persie is also culpable for shouting profenities at the city fans after he scored, but that hasnt been deemed worthwhile to print in the media! Lets not forget this is the same RVP who kicked FC Thun player in the face, or elbowed Keiran Richardson without punishment or vilification in the press!
Hughes has come out also in defence of Adebayor.
“Emmanuel Adebayor sustained a tremendous amount of personal abuse from the kick-off but strongly maintains that there was no malice intended in the challenge on Robin Van Persie and apologised to him when he hugged him on leaving the field of play at the end of the game.
“The referee had a great view of the challenge from Ade and the one that preceeded it by Van Persie and deemed at the time that neither were worthy of either a yellow or red card.
RVP press statement was a pre meditated move to put Adebayor in the dock, it was in far too much detail for a man who was facing the ground when the incident took place! Adebayor will get a deserved ban, but i hope Arsenal will be punished and RVP for their part in spoiling what was a great victory for a weakened city side!