I’m not a person to start writing hate-articles, but after yesterday’s events, I find this to be my only outlet to ventilate what I’ve got to say (just read that sentence again, and am not to sure what I’m really saying, to be honest). It’s about a football game. A European football game. So that would be soccer to most of the readers, I guess. You know, that game where guys can only touch the ball with their feet (unless they’re the keeper, they’ve got special privileges) and run like crazy for 90 minutes, only to see the game end in a 1-0 victory and 17 injured supporters.
To be frank, soccer has never been my cup of tea but a writer is bound by the wishes of his readers and has to write anything that they insist upon and not whatever takes to his fancy. I would have loved to publish a sensationalistic article like Beckham met Al-Khelaifi but, sadly, that doesn’t seem to be in my stars and I feel that it would remain a distant dream forever, but one should never give up hope as the entire world relies upon it.
Anyway. The British Premier League is probably one of the most exciting leagues to watch, with some of the world’s best teams and players. Even if you’re not a big fan of the game, names like Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool will probably ring a bell somewhere in the back of your brain. Short situation sketch: Arsenal are the leaders, 5 points ahead of ManU (the ‘cool’ way to say Manchester United) and have a difficult away game scheduled at Birmingham. ManU plays later, so the result of the Arsenal game could influence ManU’s motivation as they might be able to close the gap with a win over Newcastle United.
Back to the Arsenal game. 3 minutes into the game, and Martin Taylor, a Birmingham player, commits a horrible tackle on Eduardo, one of Arsenal’s young promising players and season revelations. Taylor is shown the red card (which means he has to leave the game straight away and a committee will decide on how many games he’ll be suspended) but it’s only afterward that the people realize the seriousness of the injury. Eduardo was taken to the hospital where he went into immediate surgery for a double compound fracture of his leg.
Anybody who’s ever seen a game of soccer (I’ll just keep calling it that, wouldn’t want to loose anybody here) will know that occasional contact between players does happen, and unfortunately, this can lead to serious injuries, as the one suffered by Eduardo. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal’s coach and full-time whiner, went completely nuts after the game and insisted that Martin Taylor should be banned for life after his tackle. Important detail in this story is that Taylor is Birmingham’s captain, which means he’s a respected player and not a butcher. Although being a defender, he rarely gets yellow cards.
Obviously, I’m not saying that incidents of this kind should be overlooked just because the player is ‘a nice guy’. However, watching the video over and over again, it is clear that there is no intention to hit the player, and Eduardo was just too fast for Taylor, who misjudged his timing completely and hit Eduardo full on the ankle. Is this one mistake enough to ban him for life? Should a player suddenly be judged for one mistake? On any other day, Eduardo might have been able to finish the game and Taylor might have been shown just a yellow card. Every week, there’s players charging other player’s full on with two straight legs forward, where you immediately fear for the player’s career. This was not the case here. Wenger’s comment was completely over the top. It was probably a heat of the moment thing and also fueled by a last minute Birmingham equalizer from a dubious penalty, but his task as a coach is to remain calm under any circumstances. By saying such harsh words, he’s playing judge and jury and willingly or not influences referee’s.
What followed. After his surgery, Eduardo expressed his determination to make a swift recovery. Arsene Wenger apologized for his most devastating words and did say that a lot of it was said in the heat of the moment. Problem with words is, you can apologize, but you can’t take them back and make them unsaid….