Scholes and the “nine-men”

21 03 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

You have to give Paul Scholes credit. He may have an affinity for the handball these days, but he doesn’t disguise it one bit. None of this cheeky shoulder shift or behind-the-back nonsense. Paul’s hands are out and they’re proud. Whether it’s purposefully punching in a goal like a world class water polo player or stuffing the ball at the net like he’s trying out for the next Olympic volleyball team, Paul Scholes doesn’t mess around. Excellent work, son.

Well, for all except ManU fans as Fulham got a nice 2-0 win at home. But then the guardian, perhaps the best outfit in England and the only one I genuinely read on any sort of regular basis, took a bit away with my biggest pet peeve in football journalism.

No they didn’t. They beat ten-man United. Or they beat eleven man United, if you will, because Scholes was the one that sunk his own team and should take the brunt of the blame. Whatever they case, they didn’t beat “nine-man United”. Not by a long shout.

The second red card, for Rooney, did come, but in the 88th minute when Fulham were already 2-0 up. The game was, for all intents and purposes, over. And that picture is just the icing on the cake, as you’d think Wayne was the one to have cost his team the dearest.

(This is the red. Like Mr. Scholes, Mr. Rooney gives his all regardless of the deed.)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

And this isn’t a rare occurrence. It happens nearly every weekend, in some journalistic – both reputable and disreputable – outfit or another. “So and so beat ten-man so and so 5-0″. Does it matter that the red card came in the 93rd minute and the 5th goal somewhere ’round the half hour mark? Not to them. A man going down is a man going down, regardless of its true effect on the game.

Of course it’d be impossible to doctor up a set of rules which unequivocally spell out the parameters for when to use a “ten-man” or “nine-man” headline, but one would think common sense – particularly for an outfit with the obvious quality of the guardian (we expect this sort of rubbishness from and, of course, they didn’t disappoint) – should generally prevail. As with today’s instance. One needn’t have even looked beyond the score sheet to get the gist of the situation. The second goal came in the 87th, the red card in the 88th. Easy as pie. Had it been reversed, maybe they would have a case. But under the circumstances did Rooney’s red card change in any way, shape or form the outcome of the game? Nope. Not one solitary bit. Why the “nine men”, then?

Now let’s take a little break and appreciate that second goal from Zoltan Gera…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

…mmmm, good football.

The problem comes, of course, when people don’t read beyond the headlines. Not everyone has the time or patience to read every single game recap or article they come across, so it’s certainly not their fault. From that perspective, nine-men for a substantial period of time is a wildly different situation than ten-man and wouldn’t seem to give the victors their just due. One would think that Fulham maybe, just maybe, should get a little bit more credit for defeating a disadvantaged Man United rather than one crippled beyond reasonable expectation.

Somebody needs to stop this madness. For all the Fulhams of the world who deserve that much more.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: