‘Leather’ refers to a football, grass is grass, not weed you rascals and All That Jazz is what happens in between or before or after the leather is put on the grass for the homo-sapiens to kick around of an afternoon or evening.
It has been quite a while since I last put words on a virtual page; almost seven months in fact. There’s been a number of reasons for that, the main one being that I was applying for jobs and started a new job in December. I also got engaged. So, it’s been quite a busy few months.
This week has seen some fireworks on and off the pitch. We had the the first leg of the Champions League semis; both seen the two German teams, Bayern and Dortmund , triumph comprehensively over the giants from Spain. Both results were slight surprises, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say both are safely through to the final. If Wigan can avoid relegation perennially, then Barca and Madrid can come back to triumph.
Now on to this week’s biggest news story; Suarez’s bite and the punishment that followed. I was determined not to discuss this absolute maelstrom, but felt compelled to write a few words about what Rodgers said yesterday regarding the handling of the affair. He said that the FA/the independent panel “punished the man” rather than the incident. I’m sorry, but what? The man committed the offense, the man gets punished. Its also safe to presume that the panel took into account, rightfully, past misdemeanors that Suarez has committed when coming to their conclusion. Think about a criminal in court, would you expect the judge to take into account past convictions? Of course you would. Liverpool at first handled this episode a lot better than the one involving Patrice Evra. They came out and said the conduct of their player was unacceptable and fined him. All well and good, yes? Suarez came out and tried to garner some good news headlines by saying that the fine was being donated to the Hillsborough Family Support Group. The group has reluctantly accepted the money, but said that they’d prefer if the player didn’t bite another player in the first place. Margaret Aspinall said:
‘I would rather not be accepting the fine from Luis Suarez because I would rather he had not bitten that player,’ Aspinall, who stressed she did not consider turning down the donation, said.
Liverpool then came out, via Ian Ayre and Brendan Rodgers, criticizing the FA’s belief that this incident warranted more than the standard 3-game ban for violent conduct. This I cannot fathom, especially the timing of this critique. Why not do it after the length of ban has been decided, if at all? It has made them look foolish and weak, given that the club/player are not appealing the 10-game ban.
This Sunday evening the PFA awards are decided. Suarez, van Persie, Mata, Carrick, Hazard and Bale are in contention for the senior award. The latter two are also up for the Young Player of the Year award, along with Welbeck, Benteke, Wilshere and Lukaku. Personally, I think the first three listed for Player of the Year would be worthy winners, and all are good choices for the award. I cannot fathom why Welbeck and Wilshere are nominated for the Young Player award; both are good young players, but both have either been below standard or not played a lot of football. It seems to be that reputation is playing a part in the nominations. As for who should win the award, I think Benteke is fully deserving of the award.
One last thing, this weekend could see QPR relegated, despite spending approximately £3.3bn on wages/transfer in an effort to beat the drop. They won’t be missed.
Oh, and the most important event of the past week in the football world; Man Utd won the league title back from those pesky, noisy neighbours.
Until the next time, hopefully not so long!