Monday, 25 February 2008

Happy 25th Birthday, Eduardo

Arsenal striker Eduardo Alves da Silva is 25 today.

Rather a shame that his leg was shattered in two places on Saturday by an utterly disgraceful high tackle in the third minute from Birmingham City fuckwit* Martin Taylor**, isn't it?

If it was malicious, and he intended it, ban him for life. If it wasn't, and he is just clumsy, he shouldn't be playing in the Premier League. Most Sunday morning pub teams (and I have played for a few) wouldn't accept tackles like that from their defenders; shin high, studs up, sliding in at speed.

Contrary to many, I am placing the blame firmly at the door of Alex McLeish, Birmingham City's manager. It is almost certain that, in the dressing room before the game, he fired his payers up with the instruction to "go and let them know they've been in a game", "get yourselves in their faces early doors" and "the way to beat Arsenal is to kick them up in the air". Unfortunately, if you do that with players of obviously limited ability, people get hurt. If that is indicative of how English club managers tell their teams to play against Arsenal, maybe that European Super League isn't such a bad idea. At least the swan-diving, shirt-pulling, face-spitting Italians play decent football :)

Seriously, though, I am livid. I don't buy any of this 'freak accident' bleating from certain sections of the media (and Garth Crooks can just fuck right off, while we're here). The studs-up challenge was banned for a reason. With the number of 'potentially career ending challenges' analysed on Match Of The Day each week, you'd think the authorities might have reviewed the punishment for such atrocities and forced both clubs and players to address the idea that this is unacceptable and remove it from the game. But no, as it stands, Martin Taylor will serve the same ban as Jeremy Aliadiere got for bitch-slapping a Liverpool player that same afternoon. Thank you, the FA, the Premier League and all you bloated paté-munching FIFA/UEFA suits - I hope you're happy.

Get well, Eduardo. Soon, if possible, but fully at least.

UPDATE: Patrick Barclay in the Daily Telegraph says similar

* you will know that I rarely swear on my blog but I cannot bring myself to describe him as a 'footballer'.
** whose nickname is 'Tiny', I assume referring to his brain.


  1. the video doesn't work anymore. I've seen pictures of the break, and the point at which Taylor's foot connects with Eduardo's leg, which is quite enough, thank you.

    just a point for thought; if Eduardo had ended up with merely a bruised ankle, would you still be calling for Taylor to strung up? probably not, just calling him various names and being happy with his punishment. and the majority of studs-in tackles don't result in a break, they are v v rare.

    I'm of the opinion that someone shouldn't be punished more than another player because his tackle resulted in a break rather than bruising. IMO, its the intent and the application of the tackle that is punishable, not the result - rather like a professional foul, if you will.

  2. Thanks, I'll sort the link (or get rid of it, nasty...)

    It's not that I'm calling for him to be strung up, I think we need to eradicate the studs-in tackle from the game altogether, from bruising to compound fractures.

    So yes, I therefore agree with your last point, in that the punishment should be consistent, but I think it should be much, much heavier for this kind of foul. It might take a bit of time, seeing as it is so ingrained into the English game, but if players were going to be missing for weeks rather than days, managers might think twice before condoning it.

  3. don't they have the ability to make a ban last longer than the usual 3 games? maybe all dangerous tackles should be submitted to the FA disciplinary committee as a matter of course.

    anyway, a v bad result of a dangerous tackle whatever.

  4. That is a good question; where does a red card foul stop and dangerous play (a la Ben Thatcher on Pedro Mendes) begin. If the referee has been seen to deal with it at the time, does the panel have any say over length of ban? I'm sure this will be clarified in the media over the coming days...

  5. if i may just play devil's advocate here for a moment (me? what a surprise!). whilst it was obviously a horrible, dangerous tackle, the idea that the player should be banned for life, or that it this incident is due to the frequently wenger-espoused theory that other teams can't compete with arsenal so they kick them, is, i think, a bit over the top.

    such incidents are a regrettable part of football. the rules exist to try and prevent them, but ultimately, in the heat of the moment, terrible misjudgements are made. as you are no doubt aware, there have been 3 or 4 such incidents since the "orginal" david busst 12 years ago. Alan Smith and Cisse being the highest profile (and incidentally both are still playing at a high level - your opinion on newcastle notwithstanding). There doesn't seem to be a anything to suggest that this happens to arsenal more often than anybody else and in fact arsenal players are just as guilty of dangerous play - take Flamini's petulant 15 ft lunge at Nani in the FA cup, arguably a worse tackle due to the obvious intent and one of your "potentially career ending challenges" analysed on MOTD. or any of eboue's rasher moments. the point is that whilst players often decide to try a "strong" challenge, i would argue there are probably no cases where a player sets out to cause such a horrific injury. they are a sad fact of footballing life and as ever, mr "rent-a-quote" wenger has done a good deal of stirring which in this case is totally inappropriate. making the same comments in 4 different interviews is not "in the heat of the moment" and if you have to "retract" what you say, that means you know you should be apologising and don't have the balls. hope eduardo recovers as quickly as Cisse did and i hope referees start applying the laws more consistantly so players know they have no chance of getting away with even trying that sort of challenge. but when they do - witch hunts help no one and arsene making press mileage out of it is, to me, almost as distasteful as the incident itself.

  6. I'm sorry (no, I'm not really) and yes, I know you're playing devil's advocate, but I completely disagree with your "regrettable part of football" idea. There is no need for that kind of tackle; end of story. It simply cannot be a "terrible misjudgement" to go in studs up, shin high. So, by increasing the level of punishment, both players and managers will have to take a good look at their tactics and decide whether it is worth losing a key member of your squad for a long part of the season. Yes, of course I include Arsenal in that; Flamini, Eboué and the rest would all have to abide by the rules. I want it out of the game, not just out of our opponents armoury.

    Also, surely the three you mention were genuine freak accidents; David Busst collided with Irwin in the 6-yard box, Alan Smith was caught off the ground (unwisely) blocking a Riise free kick and Cissé got his studs caught in the pitch. I think I would be right in saying that in none of those cases was anyone sent off. That, to me, seems rather important here.

    Putting aside the "banned for life" bit, which was heat of the moment, whatever you may think, I think it does take balls to retract a comment, especially in the partisan world of top level football. Today's news is tomorrow's chip-paper; you can wait for it to blow over if you fancy, and it generally will. I don't think it is a witch hunt at all, certainly not against Martin Taylor (who, to his credit, has asked to be able to visit Eduardo when the latter feels it is appropriate) but it very much now falls to the FA to listen to the less hysterical parts of the media (James Lawton in the Independent springs to mind) and decide whether the future of the game would be better served without this kind of dangerous, unsportsmanlike challenge.


  7. Goodplaya also speaks some sense on this issue.

    Sense + FA = DOES NOT COMPUTE!

  8. > Fair?

    oh absolutely. and i don't mean to imply that just because they are a "part of football" that we shouldn't make every effort to minimise such tackles or that there shouldn't be appropriate penaties for reckless tackles. what i mean is there will always be the possibility of such an occurance no matter what the rules or particular intention of a player.

    and you're right, the injuries i mentioned were not as a result of dangerous tackles, but in a way that's also my point (and i'm dangerously close to agreeing with Rowan here): you see a lot of tackles like the one that taylor made, but injuries like this are very rare, and when they do happen, it's just as likely to be a freakish accident.

    anyway - it was only really St Wenger the Blind that wound me up as i happened to catch all 4 different versions of his now rightly retracted comments.

  9. > there will always be the possibility of such an occurance

    And the chance of such an injury would be lessened if people didn't make dangerous tackles. Out of the four we mentioned, one was a dangerous tackle, so removing that possibility would reduce the chances of such an injury by 25%.

    Yeah, I know that's not how the math(s) works in real life, but hey! this is the internet :)

  10. The ref creates a really odd situation in football because if he decides something then the FA can't wade in afterwards (or not easily).

    As an impartial observer I often hear the two sides arguing along the lines of "ban him" and "the FA can't do anything because it would undermine the ref".

    Fine it stops rash judgements and "banned for life" situations. But somehow it always seems to stop anything changing too.

    Why can't the FA say, "we aren't going to ban Martin Taylor because the the rules weren't clear. But not this tragedy has happened we want to make it clear from here forward that you'll get automatically banned for a season if you tackle somebody and your foot causes their bones to no longer be inside their legs".

    Or perhaps you could ban the player for the same length of time as recovery takes?

  11. That last idea is a great one - until you realise that unscrupulous teams would have even more reason to feign injury and get a man sent off, thus banning him until the 'injured' player deems himself fit to play again. Sling on your worst centre back with 5 mins to go, go down in a heap, Ronaldo/Fabregas/Gerrard/Lampard sent off for nothing, misses...oooh...the rest of the season, if they fancy.

    OK, so the FA could appoint doctors to check on the health of gets a bit complicated, don't it :)

    But I did like it at first!