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Dozing and Diving

Robbo Robson | 17:19 UK time, Monday, 23 February 2009

A strange thing happened to me at the Riverside on Saturday. It may surprise readers that it has never happened before - but the air was warm, I had too many coats on, and all right, there was that extra pint of cider before heading off to the match - and when we got there, there was a suspicion that the stadium had been renamed the Trappist Riverside it was so quiet - and blow me if I didn't fall asleep.

I was awoken by the bloke next to me pushing me in the gob and clearing a slew of spittle off his parka. That wasn't the most shaming thing though. It was simply that, in the midst of a relegation dogfight, I lost focus.

It was like Rio Ferdinand circa 2004. But when I watched the highlights of Boro-Wigan on Match of the Day and nodded off again. Calling all insomniacs. The Riverside has the cure! On the other hand I did revive into a growl at the highlights from Old Trafford.

It was one more of them games when you think the men in red can't lose. Rafael's pull-back on Pedersen would've been a penalty anywhere else on God's green earth. Even an Amazonian toddler, whose only contact with so-called civilisation was a quick chat with Bruce Parry, would have said there was definitely contact.

Mike Phelan says people will be saying no-one ever gets a pen at Old Trafford. Yeah? Why's that? Cos it's true, Mike, that's why! And when they do (Pompey, FA Cup, last year) the officials get an industrial-strength hairdrying from the Grim Knight of Govan.

Now I'm prepared to overlook the fact that the reason not many teams get spot-kicks at Old Trafford is cos very few of them actually get inside the United penalty area unless it's on a Guided Tour Bus with a Sir Bobby Charlton pre-recorded commentary. And I don't think Pedersen helped himself, either. He went down like an extra from Platoon when a little bit of effort could've seen him get through for a shot on goal.

The sigh of a sleeping newborn could knock the average Premier League striker off his feet these days. We used to expect a clog or two and learn how to avoid it but gone are those times when a George Best could be seen skipping tackles like a skimming stone.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Sam Allardyce patrol the Old Trafford touchline

Now defenders are reduced to standing still with their hands in the air like cashiers at a bank robbery while the thieves attempt to dive over them anyway and steal a result. It's ugly stuff. Ricky Villa, John Barnes, Maradona (the one involving not the hand, just the God), Ryan Giggs... we won't see them goals again.

It'll just be tumble and take the free-kick, rather that than risk a truly memorable goal. You watch a kickabout on a park and the kids seem to have translated the phrase 'Penalty Area' as 'Fall Here'.

They virtually practice leaving the trailing leg behind and squealing their little tonsils out. Some nine-year-old won a pen the other day while I was off to the Blue Bell for a lunchtime pint and I was so enraged I dragged the little waster off the pitch by his polyester collar. His dad wasn't having that. He blew his whistle, showed a red card and told me to let his son back on the pitch to complete his hat-trick. Nowt changes, eh?

While Howard Webb missed Rafael's obvious indiscretion, he didn't missed Ronaldo's plummet. There should be a three strikes and you're out policy over 'simulation' (a word that pretends it's not what it is - like 'quantative easing' or 'efficiency drive' or 'ball to hand' if John Terry's involved.)

If you get three cards for diving, either from the ref at the time, or after the FA have looked at the post-match evidence, then you get a five-match ban. Automatic. Or the ref just gets a mask and snorkel and makes him play the rest of the game in them. And that goes for the other serial fallers too - you know who you are... I sometimes think if you picked your top Premier League XI and stood them in a line they'd fall over like a pack of dominoes.

Man U won cos the circus act still has a trick or two that can impress. The free-kick was one of them ones that defies physics and took the trajectory of the scariest ride at Alton Towers. Liverpool's season appears to be travelling like Homer Simpson down a cliff face. Rafa's still talking the talk, but no Alonso or Gerrard meant a midfield with all the invention of an England bowling attack and the title's gone for another year.

Just why Benitez thinks he can get away with not penning a new contract is beyond me. His position grows weaker every time he selects Lucas. Maybe he's got somewhere else to go and he'd like to be pushed.

Still at least no one on the Kop appears to be dozing. I doubt there'll be any Scousers bringing their sleeping bags to our gaff next Saturday either.
Me mates down the Blue Bell reckon I need a few iron tablets or summat.

But I reckon there must be others of you out there who have snored through 20 minutes of top-flight footy. Fans of Fulham, Everton, Wigan - surely you can't possibly have been able to do four pints, pie and gravy, and keep your eyes open for a full 90 minutes given the tedium thrown at you this season?

The wife says it's old age. I just reckon I wanted to dream meself back to a time when football's forwards took the rough with the smooth and the only thing that went down too easily was a pair of unbelted trousers.


  • 1. At 6:51pm on 23 Feb 2009, Mel0dymaker wrote:

    Like what your saying about the diving, that may just work. 3 strikes and thats a 3 match ban or something.

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  • 2. At 7:02pm on 23 Feb 2009, flaspur wrote:

    the Pederson incident was clearly not a penalty. how can a player claim to be impeded by his left shoulder being pulled backwards and then proceed to fall (throw himself) forwards landing on that very shoulder?

    had he fallen backwards because of the undoubted tug by Raphael then he may have won what he was after but he chose to 'simulate' and paid the appropriate penalty....he didn't get one!

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  • 3. At 7:19pm on 23 Feb 2009, Teiam - problem solved wrote:

    *cough* Alfonso Alves *cough* Don't use your "sleeping" excuse just not to mention Alfonso. Or howabout Gerrard the other week? Why is it when Ronaldo dives that it's all over the news?

    Meh, all clubs get stick on this blog, s'pose we can't be the exception. Another good Robbo, keep it up! Though in my opinion, it's funnier when you have digs at Liverpool! :P

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  • 4. At 10:08pm on 23 Feb 2009, rafaBLU88 wrote:

    rumour mill: benitez has been offered the real madrid job for next season and wants to seem like he's loyal by making unreasonable demands so he can say the board treat him terribly when he resigns or is sacked.

    also: tevez is not signing for man utd. they're activating giuseppe rossi's buyback clause instead. cheaper and he qualifies as club home-grown for the UEFA rules.

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  • 5. At 10:34pm on 23 Feb 2009, willythewriter wrote:

    There's a fair bet Robbo will be watching Championship football on Tees-side next season - along with West Brom and Hull fans. Blackburn deserved to share the points last Sat. Bar, Dioup (where did they get him from, Middlesborough wasn't it?) they look a class act.

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  • 6. At 10:46pm on 23 Feb 2009, CBF wrote:

    Problem with the 3 strikes and you're out rule, which sounds fantastic in principle, is referees tend to be a bit squeamish about punishing "simulation" in matches - which I can sympathise with... some of the forwards in the PL are so good at ballet now that you have no way of telling if they're faking or if they've genuinely just been shot in the backside. From video footage, it can be very hard to tell as well. Okay, there's the clear cut examples, but what about cases where there clearly was contact, but you just know your gran would have stayed on her feet. The forward can always claim the contact was more than it seemed.

    Still, don't mind the snorkling idea.

    What would be fantastic (sadly, it would literally be so - the stuff of fantasy) would be if the players themselves decided to stamp it out. If every time Ronaldo dived, Ferdinand and Vidic showed him a real foul in training, he'd certainly clean his act up!

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  • 7. At 10:54pm on 23 Feb 2009, Boshorange wrote:

    Actually a decent blog this week. Thats a decent start. I kind of agree about the 3 strikes part, but (as you said) so many people are doing it and kids are learning from it and many of the time players have actually got quite good at it. It should be the same with any simulation though, not just diving. You look at the amount of time some players spend rolling around on the floor, or going down like a sack of bricks if someone flicks the back of a hand into their chest. That should carry some punishment as well surely?! The only example I can think of right now is the pathetic display put on by Lehmann and Drogba a couple of years ago. Two blokes towering over 6 foot and with a combined weight of around 30 stone throwing themselves around in a manner that would embarras a school girl! They should have both been sent off on principle. Also, why does ronaldo always escape punishment for kicking out in retaliation? He should have been sent off for that, as many others have gone for much less, and he's done it about four times since the start of the year!
    Finally, 'flaspur' - It was clearly a penalty, he made contact and his arms were on his shoulders. As Pederson said himself: if it wasnt a penalty why didnt the ref book him for diving?

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  • 8. At 11:10pm on 23 Feb 2009, flaspur wrote:

    sorry Boshorange, we will have to agree to disagree.

    if the arms on the shoulders were so significant to stop him reaching the ball why oh why did he fall forwards instead of backwards?

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  • 9. At 11:23pm on 23 Feb 2009, dazjoe78 wrote:

    You start the article slating the ref for not giving a penalty at OT, like they never do ( Hull City anyone) then spend 4 paragraphs slagging off players for diving? I'm a full grown 30 year old bloke, I imagine must bloggers on here are full grown blokes. Are ANY of you seriously telling me if you were runing down the street, to catch a bus or last orders perhaps, and a 18 year old skinny kid tapped you on the shoulder as you ran past ( which is all Rafael did, he didn't grab and pull as some mister magoo wannabe's are claiming) then you would fly to the ground, mouth distorted in a scream of unspeakable agony, legs flailling behind you?
    No, why? Because you'd look bloody stupid, thats why. Or are we now of the opinion that it's perfectly legit to go down if there's ANY sort of contact? A slight touch is not a foul.
    And please don't mention the whole ' when your running full speed any slight touch can knock you off balance ' rubbish. Why does this only happen to modern players? Didn't see too many sprinting players in the 60's, 70's, or 80's lose their footing because someone in the crowd coughed too loudly. And they had the likes of Norman Hunter, Billy Bremner, Tommy Smith, and Nobby Styles trying to stop them. Get a reality check, Pederson dived, end of.

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  • 10. At 11:34pm on 23 Feb 2009, Bortron wrote:

    Martin Atkinson got an earful from Fergie last year for not giving an astonishingly blatant penalty, and not for the penalty Portsmouth won (which Fergie agreed was the correct decision). And Pedersen wasn't fouled at all. Should have been booked for a disgraceful act of deception.

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  • 11. At 11:34pm on 23 Feb 2009, DennyCraneWHU wrote:

    Bloody good laugh, Robbo, as well as state of the art responses.

    Found myself not giving a damn last month watching WH, but then something woke me up. Maybe I can be forgiven for feeling sleepy. It was 2 am here in Sydney, Oz.

    Robbo, how come you never give WH a mention? With Robert Green we've got England's number fifteen goalkeeper. Lucas Neil at right back, who I predict will one day be Australia's captain. Congalese Ilunga at left back, who can really twinkle toe it going forward. A midfield that any mid-table side would envy. And about a hundred forwards, on the bench and playing, who between them can be relied upon not to score too many goals and make the other forwards look bad. So give WH a mention will ya?

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  • 12. At 11:47pm on 23 Feb 2009, DennyCraneWHU wrote:


    The last time I looked, holding a player, like Rapael did, is a direct free kick offence, and a penalty where it happened. But the refs aren’t going to give a penalty for a little bit of holding, ‘cos they sure don’t give ‘em for a whole lot of holding either. So forwards know to earn a penalty they have to go gown, except apparently at Man U where you need to lose an arm or a leg too. Apart from penalties for hand ball, ask yourself when you last saw a penalty given when the player did not fall down?

    For my money, I’d like to see refs doing what they do in American football: you do it, you get penalized. That kind of reffing would revitalise football, goals would double and maybe even Robbo could knock back a pint of cider and still stay awake.

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  • 13. At 11:50pm on 23 Feb 2009, War Baby wrote:

    You're quite right Robbo, in the good old days the player tried to ride and survive the foul tackle because keeping going always gave you a better chance of scoring than bringing play to a halt and giving time for the defence to re-group.

    All you get now is loads of free-kicks which leads to sleep-inducing boredom (as you indeed experienced) only relieved by the very occasional freakish bending ball which defies your average modern goalkeeper.

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  • 14. At 00:21am on 24 Feb 2009, dazjoe78 wrote:

    So your saying players earn fouls? Thats a roundabout why of saying cheat. Another player fouls you, you don't earn the foul from someone else. I must have seen the incident 10 times now, there's no grab and pull, he places his hand on his shoulder and Pederson throws himself down. I'm sorry if I've been brought up different to others, but I was taught that you go down if you physically can't stay up, not if you are looking to win a penalty. If I'd done that when I'd been playing ( seems like many a year ago now) I'd have been pulled up for it, its cheating! How many free kicks/penalties would we have every game if we say ANY form of physical contact is a free kick? If Rafael had grabbed and pulled Pederson off his feet then yes, 100% penalty. The truth is the instant Pederson felt a touch, he went down. Players never used to do this, it's came into the game in the last 15 years and it stinks.

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  • 15. At 00:26am on 24 Feb 2009, Boshorange wrote:

    Flaspur - Realistically, if you get any pressure on your back whilst running forward, you fall forward. I dont think (at the pace he was running, with his head down) he would have been able to stay on his feet and get a good shot in. The only way he would have gone backwards is if Raphael had got his hands on his shoulders and actually pulled him back, which he didnt do. Although i agree with people that Pederson did look a bit daft pulling faces like he'd just been hit in the back by a train as he went over. My point is that if said event had happened 10 yards further back, it would have been a freekick, so just because it happened in the area, why dont the same rules apply?

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  • 16. At 00:28am on 24 Feb 2009, GazUtd wrote:

    "It was like Rio Ferdinand circa 2004."

    Brilliant. Manage to get a dig in over a 5 year old 'charge' that was so biased at the time people should have ended up in court. See if you can use your football superbrain to name how many players that season did the exact same thing as Ferdinand, or worse actually tested positive, and did not get a ban. I'll give you a hint - it's more than 1.

    "Rafael's pull-back on Pedersen would've been a penalty anywhere else on God's green earth."

    Utter rubbish. Football is a contact sport, if everyone went down as easy as Pederson did and they were all given there would be on average 15 penalties a game.

    "Even an Amazonian toddler, whose only contact with so-called civilisation was a quick chat with Bruce Parry, would have said there was definitely contact."

    Oh how we laughed. Oh the comic genius. Oh what a funny reference. Look up the comedy channel sometime instead of the Discovery one and you might learn something.

    "Cos it's true, Mike, that's why!"
    "And when they do (Pompey, FA Cup, last year)"

    This does seem like a bit of a contradiction doesn't it. No? Just me then.

    "Some nine-year-old won a pen the other day while I was off to the Blue Bell for a lunchtime pint and I was so enraged I dragged the little waster off the pitch by his polyester collar. His dad wasn't having that. He blew his whistle, showed a red card and told me to let his son back on the pitch to complete his hat-trick."

    Oh what comic genius. If only this had really happened and the father in question would have, rightly, given you a good slap. Then we would have all really laughed!

    "While Howard Webb missed Rafael's obvious indiscretion"

    Once again blatantly untrue.

    "And that goes for the other serial fallers too - you know who you are..."

    Of course you couldn't possible name any of them could you. Apart from Ronaldo, obviously, but then he's not English is he. And he doesn't play for Middlesborough.

    Yet again a column made up of utter drivel, factual inaccuracies and appalling attempts at humour.

    Ah well, at least I don't pay the licence fee any more.

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  • 17. At 00:41am on 24 Feb 2009, DennyCraneWHU wrote:


    Raphael did put his hand on his shoulder and did, however insignificantly, hold him. Players have to work on getting penalties, earn them as you call it, and that is because, as I wrote, refs won't give them when they should. You can moralise and call it cheating if you want. To me, it is just business, and needs doing because the refs aren't doing their business.

    I used to ref. I blew the whistle for everything in the first ten minutes. Players hate to lose the ball and soon worked out they had to behave. You should see how little I had to blow the whistle for the rest of the half. Another five minutes of frantic whistle blowing at the start of the second half and the players soon concentrated on playing the ball and not each other.

    Of course, Premier League matches are not so simple, but there is among refs a culture that only certain rules will be enforced and then only sometimes. As I said, give me the American football system. Seven officials and everything is enforced. In sixty minutes of play, how many penalties do you think there are? Maybe ten.

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  • 18. At 00:46am on 24 Feb 2009, spectrum wrote:

    I remember Alex Fergusson's first team St Mirren's centre forward Frank McGarvey (later Liverpool, Celtic, Scotland) who used to have a great trick of pulling his own jersey and falling on his face.

    Penalty !

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  • 19. At 01:15am on 24 Feb 2009, dazjoe78 wrote:

    DennycraneWHU( Great name by the way, awesome show)
    I get your point that under the letter of the law if Rafael touches Pederson's shirt ( which he did) then its a penalty. But football was and still is a physical, working class, mans game. Its why there are 2 types of sport, contact, and non contact. Basketball, tennis, athletics, these are non contact sport. Rugby, Gridiron, and football are contact sports. You are allowed to make physical contact with other players. Football is trying to become non contact and if that happens it will be the death of the game, untold thousands of fans, myself included, will walk away from it forever. You simply cannot call fouls for every little trivial touch, and that is all Rafael's was, a trivial touch.
    I hope when Howard Webb ran past Pederson he had a word in his ear to say "didn't book you because there was contact, but act like a bloody man and go for goal, not a 5 year old girl". I thought Scandanivians were all big rippling 6 pack lumberjacks? It was drummed into me by my old man that you go down if you can't stay up, if I'd done what Pederson done I'd still expect a clip round the lug by him. I thought that was the very definition of the word "sporting"; to play the game in a sporting manner, not look to abuse the rule book to going down at any slight touch trying to con the ref?

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  • 20. At 01:36am on 24 Feb 2009, DennyCraneWHU wrote:


    Yup, awesome show. Fifth and last series here in Oz.

    All the best.

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  • 21. At 06:17am on 24 Feb 2009, Thanks A lot BBC7 wrote:

    Robbo: This was a good blog, no BUT.

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  • 22. At 07:37am on 24 Feb 2009, Spitfire wrote:

    You ban the three strike divers, in clear cut cases provable with video evidence, for 5 games and dock three points to the team. I bet all these simulators/simulations will stop.

    Same goes for habitual thugs like Nolan/Barton who try to take football skill out of the equation only to satisfy the sadistic urges.

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  • 23. At 10:01am on 24 Feb 2009, IanH wrote:

    There are infants who could have stayed on there feet and got a shot away from that Rafael "challenge". Perhaps he'd have been better served remembering he was about 16 yards from goal with nobody stopping him from having a great shot.

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  • 24. At 10:59am on 24 Feb 2009, kevthered83 wrote:

    I think once again Howard Webb has proved how inconsistent he is. I have said it before but it baffles me how this idiot can be labelled as Englands top official. Admittedly the competition is very lacklustre, but the guy ruins every game he officiates.

    Maybe last season he was the top man, but he seems to have let this effect his ego and for me has been the most inconsistent premier league ref this season.

    Disallowing Johnny Evans goal was a prime example. Even the Blackburn players were accepting it was a legitimate goal, but not good old Howard!

    he books Ronaldo for diving, rightly, but doesnt book Pederson a few minutes later. If the ref didnt deem that a penalty, it has to be a booking for diving to be consistent with Ronaldo.

    Regarding the penalty incident, would have been harsh to give it in my view, but I wouldnt have too many complaints if it was given. Still think Pederson is a fool for diving. if indeed everyone thinks there is some conspiracy where you cant get a penalty at old trafford, then why go down if you know you will get nothing!!!

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  • 25. At 11:00am on 24 Feb 2009, Parish87 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 26. At 11:14am on 24 Feb 2009, freedmac wrote:

    Even where there is "contact", who instigates it? Easy for a forward to place his leg against the leg of a defender who is trying to avoid contact.

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  • 27. At 11:18am on 24 Feb 2009, boomshakalak wrote:

    Robbo - i have been peddling the following idea about for years as the cure for diving...

    You have a 10 second knockdown rule like in boxing... rather than saying its brought in to "punish" divers - this rule is introduced to "protect" players who have suffered such a huge injury that has left them unable to stand for this actually quite long period of time.

    In addition there is an "onsite doctor" (this is actually the case at all professional grounds anyway) whose job it is to end the "suffering" of any player in obvious serious distress.... i.e. a 15 stone 6ft 4 grown man (probably called Didier) rolling around on the floor screaming... if the doctor is in his professional opinin looking at a human in such stress then they clearly are not able to partake in a competitive contact sport... if you saw this distress on the face of anyone in any other walk of life you wouldn't allow them to carry on doing what they were doing - so why does football openly allow such horrendous personal agony for so many (please note - i am not serious - just making a point before I get picked up about it)

    People laugh at the idea - but it is no different to when a ref/doctor stops a boxer from carrying on - as he simply is in no fit state....

    If the player is deemed unable to carry on he must be substituted and cannot continue... if there are no subs left to use (i.e. the allocation has been used up) then the team are sadly reduced to 10 men ... but the good news is that the player in such huge distress is not risked any further...

    I think it would work - as they would soon bounce up within 10 secs and just get on with it.

    Some people argue it "encourages" people to deliberatley target good players to get them "withdrawn" by a doctor - however i simply say that if he was actually hurt he would go off anyway... and the red card still can be given to any offending players...

    It would clean it up...

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  • 28. At 11:29am on 24 Feb 2009, philtoon82 wrote:

    Re #22

    Same goes for habitual thugs like Nolan/Barton who try to take football skill out of the equation only to satisfy the sadistic urges.


    Kevin Nolan?? Habitual thug?? even david moyes said in his post match interview that he didnt believe Kevin Nolan to be 'that sort of player'.


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  • 29. At 11:31am on 24 Feb 2009, boomshakalak wrote:

    also - another idea... Football allows for "MEDICAL ATTENTION" to be given.

    I don't know any doctors who would say the "best" place to examine an injured individual and then administer any urgent treatment to that person who is so clearly hurt that they need MEDICAL attention is on a muddy pitch surrounded by 70,000 fans singing, etc. Therefore anyone needing "medical" attention on the pitch should immediately be taken to an appropriate place to receive such attention - i.e. the medical room... the doctor should then thoroughly examine the player who has needed the attention and after monitoring his situation for a minimum period of 10 mins allow the player to return to the field of play.....

    once again this rule is to ensure that the correct medical decisions are being made for the good of the player and not allowing a player to in anyway injure himself due to his undoubted commitment to be a warrior for his team and fans!

    you could even back it up with a "protection/recuperation period" of 1 week minimum for any individual "injured in battle".

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  • 30. At 11:38am on 24 Feb 2009, Tundra_Boy wrote:

    Gaz Utd - wind your neck in.

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  • 31. At 11:39am on 24 Feb 2009, Salford-theheight-Red wrote:

    Flippin' eck GazUtd, you forgot to disect paragraph 1.

    Calm down mate, it's a personal opinion mixed with a bit of fun and the odd 'shocking' comment to invite punters like you ... and you bit big time.

    He always has a go at the gelled tumbler (just typed 'gelded' then - Freudulant slip or what!) and failed to give Pederson similar harsh treatment or mention Evans disallowed goal. Ronaldo annoys me at times and I scream 'why?' but he's not alone however stands out due to his profile as the best player in Europe.

    It's the love United / hate United brigade as always so chill and enjoy the view ... of the table.

    I still compare to the Gerrard, Viera and Cole (A) dives of a few years ago when the opposition was over 3 yards away - there should be a compilation and those 3 would be the top 3 by far and forever.

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  • 32. At 11:52am on 24 Feb 2009, Salford-theheight-Red wrote:

    BBC Gossip Column

    Middlesbrough, who have not scored in eight hours of Premier League football, have sent notes to their fans asking them to cut down the "constant banging and noise from the back of the stand". (The Sun)


    Should that also read 'snoring' Robbo ?!

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  • 33. At 12:01pm on 24 Feb 2009, chips_in_the_queue wrote:

    I wouldn't dispute that Rafael put his hand on the shoulder of Pedersen, but he didn't use it to pull him down. Pedersen felt the contact and chose to dive.

    It was the equivalent of your 'trailing leg' theory. Pray for contact and then fall to the floor. He should have been shown a yellow too.

    As for your the fact that no penalty was given... perhaps mentioning Evans's perfectly good disallowed goal might have weakened your conspiratorial argument about biased officials.

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  • 34. At 12:33pm on 24 Feb 2009, DannyF wrote:

    Whether the Pederson incident was a penatly or not doesn't take away from the Fact the RONALDO has ONCE AGAIN got away with kicking out at an opponent.
    Why aren't the FA looking at this??????
    Oh yeah cos it's Man U!!!!!
    SWP got a 3 match ban for the exact same thing, where is the consistantcy for all 20 clubs and not just 19!!!!

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  • 35. At 12:48pm on 24 Feb 2009, Salford-theheight-Red wrote:

    ...or 18 ... for Boswinga's Cantona-esque attack the other week?

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  • 36. At 12:54pm on 24 Feb 2009, Scousejay23 wrote:


    Inertia is the reason he fell forwards, when an object is moving then it wants to keep moving. Hence the I introduction of seatbelts in cars to stop passengers being propelled through the windscreen when a car crashes (thankyou Richard Hammond).

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  • 37. At 12:56pm on 24 Feb 2009, Scousejay23 wrote:

    Evans perfectly good goal? It shouldn't have been a corner in the first place!

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  • 38. At 12:58pm on 24 Feb 2009, wotam09 wrote:

    Good blog Robbo as per normal!!

    To practically every1 else, it's Pedersen not Pederson...

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  • 39. At 12:59pm on 24 Feb 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    RE 34:

    I was just about to make that exact same point, glad someone did eventually.

    That's three times this season I think he's gotten away with it. Three times he's blatantly kicked out in retaliation and three times the FA have looked at it and decided there's no case to answer. Yet SWP retaliates (and though I don't condone it, his retaliation was more justified than Ronaldo's) and he gets banned.

    It's this kind of thing which makes people think there's a ManUre bias, or that the FA are a joke. They've basically said to him it's ok to take the law into his own hands because, bless him, he has to deal with some hard tackles all the time. Welcome to the game.

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  • 40. At 1:17pm on 24 Feb 2009, nogginthenogforever wrote:

    34. At 12:33pm on 24 Feb 2009, dannyfarrar wrote:

    Whether the Pederson incident was a penatly or not doesn't take away from the Fact the RONALDO has ONCE AGAIN got away with kicking out at an opponent.
    Why aren't the FA looking at this??????
    Oh yeah cos it's Man U!!!!!
    SWP got a 3 match ban for the exact same thing, where is the consistantcy for all 20 clubs and not just 19!!!!


    Torres did the EXACT same thing on Sunday, and not only was he also not punished, it wasnt disected and shown from several different angles as Ronaldo's was on Match of the Day, it was, infact, whitewashed out of history. Tales of Man Utd bias always fail to mention these things.

    Ronaldo was apparently warned by Webbm he should have been carded, but then the opposing player also had a bite at him that prompted the kick, and he wasnt punished either, it has nothing to do with favouritism, its just plain poor refereeing.

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  • 41. At 1:35pm on 24 Feb 2009, *Syds_Sports wrote:

    I'm touting an idea for a new reality TV show to the BBC. 10 Premiership footballers (name your own 10) have to walk down London's Oxford St on a busy Saturday afternoon without falling over......................

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  • 42. At 1:38pm on 24 Feb 2009, flaspur wrote:

    sorry scousejay i am just not buying the 'inertia' idea.

    watch it again and tell me that him falling forward is the result of him being pulled back and then being projected forward like a coiled spring. is that the argument you are putting forward?

    he felt contact, then threw himself forward and to the ground when he could easily have continued towards goal and taken his chances with a shot on goal. no, he decided a penalty was the better option.

    i hate diving from any team and loved players like Pele, George Best and Jimmy Johnstone who were routinely kicked to pieces but did their utmost not to go down. was it the game when Bestie scored 5 goals and the last one is always the one that is shown on tv where the guy hacked at him but he stayed on his feet? rarely do we see that happen today.

    nostalgia moment, i know, but i remember white hart lane in the mid 80's when we were playing one of the spanish teams in the uefa cup and watching their players roll about the pitch every 5 minutes. the crowd hated every minute of it but 20 years later and it seems we are now playing the same game.

    i would support a 10 second advantage rule where the ref holds up his hand after a foul is committed and gives the attacker time to get his shot away but, if no goal is scored, the free kick is given at the original spot of the foul. attackers would therefore be encouraged to stay on their feet as, if they do, they then get 2 attempts to score (their shot and a free kick if the shot is missed).

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  • 43. At 1:39pm on 24 Feb 2009, Franeire wrote:

    RE GazUtd - I thought Liverpool fans were supposed to be the sensitive ones?? Take a chill pill

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  • 44. At 1:42pm on 24 Feb 2009, BCChris wrote:

    Oh my days!

    What is it with Robbo and divers??? Did a diver offend you at some point in your life??

    Yes it happens and its a shame, but theres worse things than divers in football, for example the reckless aggressive challenges that could very well kill someone some day. Look at John terry, Cech, Cudiccini.. any one of them could have died on the pitch because of reckless chanllenges. Look at Eduardo, career nearly ended.
    What else is worse than divers?

    Ref Crowding - I have never seen a ref give a decision, get crowded by players and then change his mind, so why do they do it!?

    Time wasting - i find that worse than diving. The old, take the ball to the corner flag and take 5 minutes to take a throw-in.

    Robbo its time you got over it, its never going to stop, and even if it did stop we would still accuse of it.

    And for the record, Pederson dived, yeh he got a slight tug, but if thats enough to send him flying to the ground like a heap of turd, then i would hate to see him ride a Kevin Nolan challenge

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  • 45. At 1:43pm on 24 Feb 2009, The_Toonster wrote:

    "I just reckon I wanted to dream meself back to a time when football's forwards took the rough with the smooth and the only thing that went down too easily was a pair of unbelted trousers."


    Totally agree Robbo. I'll drink to that. Bring back sportsmanship and fair play! Man Utd will win the league this season.... because it's fairly difficult to lose when the bloke in black is also playing on your team.

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  • 46. At 1:44pm on 24 Feb 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    Re 41:

    You could call it The Prem's Got Balance!

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  • 47. At 1:50pm on 24 Feb 2009, DonVettori wrote:

    Agree with 44 there. Why should diving be so much worse than all the other types of deliberate foul?

    Strikers and other skill players get kicked about all day long and it is hardly mentioned yet is far more dangerous.

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  • 48. At 1:53pm on 24 Feb 2009, chips_in_the_queue wrote:

    Re 37. Scousejay23:

    "Evans perfectly good goal? It shouldn't have been a corner in the first place!"

    You're right, it should have been a free-kick in a more advantageous position for the blatant foul on Rafael.

    But this actually leads on to another interesting point...

    Has anyone noticed how referees award a free-kick against the attacking team for nothing, whenever defenders dispute a corner? There's so much talk about 'respect' and players accepting decisions, but it's hardly any wonder that there is a problem when referees have such a weak-minded approach in situations such as this and allow themselves to be swayed by defenders complaints. The message they're giving defenders is: complain and be rewarded with a phantom free-kick.

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  • 49. At 2:01pm on 24 Feb 2009, visciousvic wrote:

    The concern is that the FA are inconsistent in their approach. A few weeks ago Sean Wright-Philips was dealt with by the FA after the game for a petulant kick-out at an opponent (who had already acted badly enough to get sent off). SWP was banned for three matches (I think).

    This week Ronaldo petulantly kicks out at an opponent (who wasn't even penalised, his crime was simply to win the ball from Ronaldo) and nothing at all is done.

    Inconsistency. Unfair to SWP. Unfair to opponents of Ronaldo, who don't know what he'll get away with next.

    Or, is it, as some might say, one rule for some and a different rule for others?

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  • 50. At 2:05pm on 24 Feb 2009, jack halford wrote:

    I get sick of the fans of Ronaldo, Gerrard , who seem to think that there is a witch hunt for those top two players.
    Diving by any player is bad for the game and should be stopped asap.
    I couldn,t care less if Ronaldo, Gerrard or any other top profile player gets banned for diving. Its what they deserve, and please give the referees with FIFA backing the guts to outlaw any form of cheating.
    Tugging of shirts is cheating, the same as diving.
    Todays players are spoilt brats that are mirroring our poor society !
    Rant over.

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  • 51. At 2:46pm on 24 Feb 2009, Hex Enduction Hour wrote:

    There was a table in the Guardian yesterday showing that over the last number of years (think it was 5), visiting teams have got more penalties at Old Trafford than at Anfield, The Emirates or Stamford Bridge. Which kind of gives the lie to the old "pro-Utd bias" argument.

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  • 52. At 2:59pm on 24 Feb 2009, Xavierneville wrote:

    Too many assumptions about why penalties are given esp Mr Flaspur

    The force of contact does not need to be great, it certainly doesn't mean you only give penalties for someone going to ground

    The offence doesn't even need to be deliberate, position opportunity and likeness of a scoring chance need to be considered

    Speed is always a consideration too.

    So most of you chaps want someone to axed down in the box before a penalty is given

    So Pederson was tugged back, deliberately and clearly by the full back. Decision made; it's a pen, don't care if he falls over afterwards he can do what wants. Even if he stayed on his feet, its still a pen

    Oh sorry Robbo, decent blog and actually the greasy Portuguese tends to get fouled at speed in key areas. I'm no lover of Ronaldo but people need to look properly before they spring forth with pearls of wisdom.......

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  • 53. At 3:11pm on 24 Feb 2009, King_Eric_7 wrote:

    I agree Robbo, the diving in football these days is beyond a joke, it really is embarrassing seeing big physical players throwing themselves to the ground. I hate it when Ronaldo does it, I'd love to give him a good kick up the ar*e and tell him to wind his neck in but you single out Ronaldo everytime he dives, many a player does it now. Stevie G for example throws himself down with the slightest touch and Drogba too - and yes Pedersen done it too against us on Saturday.

    Rafael did grab Pedersen's left shoulder but if he pulled him back how did Pedersen fall forward? If he had of stayed strong and stayed on his feet he maybe would have scored, instead he felt the slightest bit of contact and threw himself down like a big girl!

    You should be more worried about Boro staying in the league than what we are doing at the top anyway Robbo before you sleg us again!!!!!

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  • 54. At 3:14pm on 24 Feb 2009, oke2008 [RIP #15] wrote:

    shame on you all! laughing at the afilcted! does not one of you realise every time these "Divers" go shopping, how hard it is? a little bump in the que and down they go like a sack of spuds! why only last week Drogba was carried out of HMV screaming! having said that i assume other Chelsea players were in the store as a nasty crowd gathered around a scared shop assistant demanding a card to be shown, or a least some store credit!

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  • 55. At 3:21pm on 24 Feb 2009, Owen wrote:

    How about introducing a points system into the game instead of just rewarding for goals?

    I know it sounds stupid at first, but give me a chance to explain.

    Let say a normal goal is worth 3 points.

    If a player is fouled whilst heading towards goal, but stays on their feet (the ref plays advantage) and continues on to create or score a goal, the player (and team) would be rewarded with an extra point, making a total 4 for the goal.

    Rugby-esque advantages could also be introduced so that if the player didn't go on to score, the original free-kick/penalty would still be awarded.

    Players who get yellow cards would concede 1 point to the opposition and red cards, 2 points.

    This would encourage players not to dive, but also reduce the number of cynical fouls committed where a team are protecting a narrow lead and purposely foul to prevent a goal scoring opportunity.

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  • 56. At 3:31pm on 24 Feb 2009, Owen wrote:

    As for those who are saying Pedersen should have fallen backwards if he was pulled back, basic physics has an alternative answer:

    Remember flicking rubbers at school with your ruler? Most of you still probably do it. When you pull the ruler back, then let go, it shoots forward projecting the rubber towards its target. I'm not saying that the human body is like a ruler or behaves in the same way, but Pedersen had forward force (running) whilst being impeded (hand on shoulder), when that impediment was removed it was like the ruler being released and he flung forward.

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  • 57. At 3:50pm on 24 Feb 2009, Eddy Cordoza wrote:

    Re 45. The_Toonster

    "Man Utd will win the league this season.... because it's fairly difficult to lose when the bloke in black is also playing on your team."

    I would suggest that United will win the league this year because they have the best defence in the league (less goals conceded less than anyone else) and the best attack (more goals than anyone else).

    But sometimes people like you have this kindergarten mentality, fuelled by the uproar in the press (and on TV) whenever a big decision goes United's way.

    There is no conspiracy, or secret agenda amongst referees, for Manchester United to win the league. United might get decisions go in their favour (as do other teams) but they also have decisions go against them too, for example Evans's header which Robbo chose not to mention.

    When United won 2-0 against Bolton there was uproar in the press (and on the BBC messageboards) because of the ridiculously poor penalty decision that went United's way. The next home match United had a Rooney goal disallowed for nothing against West Brom when the match was goalless, but (understandably) nothing was said about it because United won 4-0. A couple of weeks ago Ronaldo was tripped late on at West Ham but no penalty was given. Again, no press coverage because United won 1-0.

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  • 58. At 4:40pm on 24 Feb 2009, goodmando7 wrote:

    The usual drivel. Why can't you just write normally without constantly 'trying' to be funny ?

    And I thought Gary Linekar was annoying !

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  • 59. At 4:41pm on 24 Feb 2009, Ant1979 wrote:

    Whilst I admit that Blackburn should have had a penalty, United had a perfectly good goal ruled out. I'm not sure if you mention this as I stopped reading half way through.

    I like your blogs 'Robbo' but this week you're trying too hard to disprove the previous accusations that you're a Man Utd fan.

    Find a middle ground! ;-)

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  • 60. At 4:45pm on 24 Feb 2009, A_Brit_in_France wrote:

    To curb the Oscar winning acting of players writhing in agony at the slightest touch the solution is simple and already available to referees.

    As soon as the prima donna is into his act stop the game and immediately summon the medic on. This then means that the 'injured' player will have to go to the sideline for further treatment and wait for the referee to allow him to re-join play.

    Obviously for such agony provoking injuries the referee may think the player needs a couple of minutes to fully recover.

    While a player is not on the field his team are a man short and I am sure that managers will get pretty fed up losing players for a few minutes due to feigned injuries.

    And for the 5 star performances make sure they leave the field on a stretcher!!! Humiliation should sort the rest out.

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  • 61. At 5:04pm on 24 Feb 2009, massivemeatball wrote:

    Typical bitter comments. Completely focused on United not having a penalty against them and ignoring the fact that United had a perfectly legitimate goal disallowed.

    Ridiculous and bitter.

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  • 62. At 5:21pm on 24 Feb 2009, Scousejay23 wrote:


    You don't have to buy it, it's a proven scientific fact. I thought the seatbelt analogy would suffice but obviously not. When an object has motion in a particular direction(pederesen) and a stopping force is applied (silva's hand on his shoulder) inertia dictates that the object will carry on in the same original direction as per a human body in a crashing car with no seatbelts. Apologies if that is a bit hard to grasp I know I haven't written it that well but then again I don't get paid to write so I'm not too bothered.

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  • 63. At 5:28pm on 24 Feb 2009, sabre tooth wrote:

    GazUtd, shut up mate. If you think that this blog is "made up of utter drivel, factual inaccuracies and appalling attempts at humour" then don't read it. Nobody is making you read it, you can quite easily think "Hmmm, I don't think much of Robbo's blog, so I'll give it a miss". But no, you have to read it, then moan about it when you decide that you don't like it. It's not like you watch something on tv that you know you don't like, so don't read something on the internet that you don't like.

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  • 64. At 5:29pm on 24 Feb 2009, Scousejay23 wrote:

    As I said before the "perfectly legitimate goal" that was ruled out was the result of a corner wrongly being given.


    Even if it should have been a free kick a few yards from the corner flag there's no guarantee of the same outcome as the corner, it is just debate and opinions about whether Evans could/could not of scored from the free kick.

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  • 65. At 5:35pm on 24 Feb 2009, sabre tooth wrote:

    And by the way GazUtd, if my dad gave somebody a slap, I would be pretty embaressed. A punch is what is needed, not a poncy little slap.

    As for getting rid of divers, if video footage can prove that somebody is diving repeatedly then as far as I am concerend, that is tantamount to cheating and it should be an immediate 10 game ban plus a fine of at least 3 quaters of a weeks wage. And if that doens't work...well no sport in the world needs cheating scum bags so just ban them for life. Let people who actually want to play properly get to the top.

    Also, any player who abuses or lays hands on any of the officials should be given a season long ban, unless the season is say, 10 games from the end in which cse ban them untill the start of the following calender year. There is far too much disrespect show to football officials.

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  • 66. At 6:04pm on 24 Feb 2009, worriedsmoggy wrote:

    In reply to what's the difference between diving and dirty tackles I'm assuming Robbo is a gentleman of a certain age and his heyday of watching football was when Bremner, Harris, Smith,Hunter et al were plying their trade, a 'hard man' practically featured in every team and the tackles were hard and not always fair but it was part and parcel of the game. Diving never really featured it's only become more 'popular' with the influx of foreign players, which i guess is the changing face of 'English football ' so robbo probably subconsciously can accept the 'mistimed 'tackle more than the relatively new crime of diving!
    I seem to remember watching a programme a couple of years ago where a modern referee watched the Leeds v Chelsea FA cup replay...i think he judged that both would have finished with 7 a side
    The times they are a changing indeed

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  • 67. At 6:05pm on 24 Feb 2009, flaspur wrote:

    hi scousejay23

    i understand totally what you are saying mate but (and the same goes for the flicking rubber analagy) you are argueing that it was pederson's forward momentum that was temporarily stopped by raphael and that it was this momentum that forced him to the floor when raphael released the brake by taking his hand off his shoulder.

    i just don't think imho that this is what happened. to me pederson looks like he threw himself to the floor and i think you will see this if you watch it again

    sorry but i just hatre divers be they ronaldo mgp drogba or whever

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  • 68. At 6:13pm on 24 Feb 2009, Scousejay23 wrote:

    I was answering the question about why he fell forwards and not backwards. I'm not saying he didn't crumple like a crisp packet but as someone else said earlier even if he had stayed on his feet it should of been a penalty because pulling someone back is a foul no matter how strong the tug was.

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  • 69. At 7:10pm on 24 Feb 2009, Aldogiveusawave wrote:

    Kind of a catch 22 for Webb, if he gives it everybody goes mad at him for giving such a soft penalty, but if he doesn't give it or books him then people are on his back anyway. Should have booked him though in my opinion because pedersen's reaction was pathetic.

    What really counts as a tug anyway and what sets it aside from the amount of physical contact which you'd naturally get in any tackle anyway? Placing a hand lightly on an opponent surely can't be enough.

    More consistency is definitely needed from refs but the FA need to get tougher on retrospectively punishing people for diving. Start throwing bans at players and they'll soon learn.

    Good blog though, always worth a laugh or two!

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  • 70. At 8:33pm on 24 Feb 2009, dazjoe78 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 71. At 10:01pm on 24 Feb 2009, ZEUSFC wrote:

    #70 are you sure thats how it happened :)

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  • 72. At 10:03pm on 24 Feb 2009, tarquin wrote:

    Nice one Robbo

    But it's all been said before - didn't the FA (or FIFA/UEFA) say they were clamping down on diving

    and what's happened? nothing, all we have is a 'respect' campaign that has made the quality of refereeing look even worse

    So the likes of Ronaldo have got it down to a fine art - we all know what is a dive on our TVs with instant replay, all you need is an official with a screen, or the FA to hand out bans to try and stamp it out

    There is no other way you'll stamp it out - the teams at the top have nothing against it because they are in it for the result, Fergie doesn't care if he wins by deception, only if he loses by it - very few clubs have integrity anymore, so use an iron fist or we will never change the culture of diving, and before you know it we'll be italians

    ps. I also find it funny that Ronaldo still gets to take free kicks, surely Fergie has noted he whacks most of them straight into the wall? Not that they don't look good when they go in, but I guess united don't need to rely on them

    pps. enjoy playing watford and preston next year, Robbo

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  • 73. At 10:07pm on 24 Feb 2009, bert0509 wrote:

    I have to say that having seen the highlights i can't say i thought it was a pen on saturday. pedersen isn't a huge fella, but he's definately got more to him than rafael. rafael hardly touches him, its like he's just giving him a nice gentle shoulder rub, and pedersen goes down like a sack of spuds. i would be willing to bet if he was turning onto his left instead of his right foot he'd have pulled the trigger instead of hitting the's ridiculous how easily players go down, i cringe when i watch it. as i play for your standard saturday league team, i'd be ashamed if i went down that easy to win a pen, especially when if i'd kepy going i could have had a shot. but pedersen is right, if howard webb thought he'd gone down too easy then he should have put his name in the book, i don't see why the rules should be any different for ronaldo, or inside or outside the penalty area for that matter

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  • 74. At 10:27pm on 24 Feb 2009, Pseudo-Viking wrote:

    Please don't mock this entry.

    I kick a ball around with my son, aged 3, regularly.

    At age 1-2, he loved to kick and (believe it or not) could even dribble the ball across the lawn, around 15-20 yards. But he wasn't interested in watching football on tv.

    Now he is 3, and he likes to watch 20-30 minutes of a match with his daddy. And we still have a kick-about. Do you know what he's learned?

    When I kick the ball to him, instead of trapping or controlling the ball, he likes to trip over it dramatically, and throw himself to the ground. When I asked him gently why he does this, he explained (in a 3-year-old way) that this is how the real football players do it.

    I'm neither a footballing or parenting expert, but I can't help worrying about the influence 'role-models' have on our young people. I'd much prefer to see him getting good and muddy through the fun of trying to control the ball than learning the 'darker arts'.

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  • 75. At 10:48pm on 24 Feb 2009, iplusplus wrote:

    'Liverpool's season appears to be travelling like Homer Simpson down a cliff face.'

    Excellent remark! That had me chuckling for a good while, especially as I'm from the blue half of the city. The reds may have the last laugh now though with the midfield maestro magic Micky now out for the rest of the season.

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  • 76. At 10:58pm on 24 Feb 2009, Aldogiveusawave wrote:

    'enjoy playing watford and preston next year'

    Watford might go down, preston might go up...

    If I'm lucky boro will be playing Tranmere next year!

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  • 77. At 11:04pm on 24 Feb 2009, tarquin wrote:


    And I tried to pick two teams I expected to stay, bloomin championship with its average level - ok sheffield Wednesday and crystal palace, oh and leicester

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  • 78. At 00:00am on 25 Feb 2009, Robbo Robson wrote:

    Hold on, chums, the idea that by trying to get the diving and by definition cheating bleeders to stop doing it is in no way a condoning of dirty horrible challenges by outfoxed lunks. It's just that horrible challenges are treated seriously by officials these days - as Nolan will tell you - and simulating little shysters seem to get away with it. Video evidence should be used if the ref's missed it - cos plain and simple it's underhand and unfair.

    They do the same with challenges that are nasty that have been missed (as they should do with Ronaldo's kick out at Dunn) but diving, by not being addressed - is being allowed by the FA, and thus encouraged. It's not what footy's about.

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  • 79. At 07:19am on 25 Feb 2009, EuroPaddy wrote:

    I've read all of this, and although there's a lot of nonsence, there's also some good comments. But I haven't seen the disputed Pederson dive - anyone know if it's on-line somewhere?

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  • 80. At 07:56am on 25 Feb 2009, EuroPaddy wrote:

    Never mind - found it. It's a clear penalty (these days) but also a clear dive. The ref got that one dead right.

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  • 81. At 08:07am on 25 Feb 2009, BCChris wrote:

    Another thing is that diving can sometimes save serious injury!

    If you know your going to go down awkwardly and break or pull something, then your instinct is to adjust your body and fall lightly. After that you can do 5 - 10 rolly pollies, and cry your eyes out with your face in the grass. Its just common sense

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  • 82. At 09:42am on 25 Feb 2009, BobZee wrote:

    People can moan about diving all they want but, in hindsight, the player is simply risking a booking. If it works, they get a free-kick/penalty. If not, they get booked. Isn't this the same situation with shirt pulling? Essentially, you're "cheating" as you know you can't tackle the player cleanly. Thus, you're running the risk of getting a booking at the CHANCE that the free-kick doesn't get given.

    Let's face it, footballers will always try and achieve the 'right' result by whatever means necessary. Why would you attempt 30-yard screamers when you're more likely to score by passing into the box and tapping in from 6 yards? Simply put, you wouldn't. Therefore, why not dive and chance it? It's a "disgusting" part of the game, but it's only a tactic that players KNOW they get punished for. In my opinion, it's no worse than a cynical trip or shirt pull - but no-one cares about these anyway, eh? Probably because it's "part and parcel" of the game.

    Personally, I detest the blatant obstruction of players that often happens when the ball is running (VERY slowly) over the by-line for a goal kick. Why are these never given as free kicks? What about the ridiculous situations that constantly occur during corners? If the correct decisions were made, there would be about 12 penalties per game!

    The fact is that everyone tries to gain an advantage within a football match by whatever means possible. No part of foul play is worse than others - it's just up to the referees involved to spot the offences.

    With regards to the Pedersen incident - whether it's a penalty or not - can anyone actually explain why Rafael's hand is even on his shoulder in the first place? One would assume it's not to cleanly take the ball from him? He's just trying to gain an advantage and get away with it - which he successfully did.

    Excretion happens guys, get over it.

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  • 83. At 10:36am on 25 Feb 2009, Another_Forest_Fan wrote:

    Another funny blog Robbo, keep up the good work.

    I have to admit that the 'much discussed' dive was probably just that, a dive. It always riles me to see players go down so easily; it gives the premier league a bad name and cheapens the sport. As for the ensuing dramatics that follow these 'horrendous' offences; they belong on some poorly scripted afternoon film, not on the pitch. Show some back-bone and tough it out; I propose a bi-annual training venture between the British Lions and the BPL. Might set them straight.

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  • 84. At 11:22am on 25 Feb 2009, stanleyboys wrote:

    3 strikes is too lenient. If a player goes down, without being clattered, assume its a dive.

    Pedersen should have been given a rocket by the other Rovers players. The ref got it right. I'd have loved him to score.

    Whilst we're mooting ideas - how about a 10m square in each corner of the pitch that is activated after 85mins and whenever the ball is in there, any foul is permissable.

    You wouldn't sleep through that.

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  • 85. At 11:25am on 25 Feb 2009, stanleyboys wrote:

    And while were at it, don't kick the ball out for anyone. Rugby style physios-on-in-play is the future!

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  • 86. At 11:32am on 25 Feb 2009, BobZee wrote:

    #84: 10m square sounds interesting. I suppose corner kicks in the last 5 mins would be a joy to behold?! ;)

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  • 87. At 12:00pm on 25 Feb 2009, Armchair Dave wrote:

    #82 made a good point in that the reward for diving vastly outweighs the risks and penalties (excuse the pun).

    The problem we have is that sometimes players can fall over legitimately even though there was minimal contact. For example, losing their balance.

    The difficulty is that we are asking referees to make split second decisions on whether or not to give a penalty/free kick or whether to book (and even send off) players.

    I completely agree that the penalty for diving must increase in order to stamp it out, but ironically, the place to do this is not in real time.

    In my opinion, referees should not give a penalty if they thin kit's a dive and leave it at that. They should then refer the dive to a panel which will scrutinize the video evidence and if they determine a dive has taken place, put a 2 match ban on the fella.

    The problem here is that the FA won't do this, even though it's the most logical and balanced way to do it. The FA don't want to take decisions out of the referees hands or be seen to undermine their authority.

    We have to accept one of two things...

    1. We either accept that referees get decisions wrong.

    2. Or, we remove some decisions currently made by the referee and give them to a panel which can look at thing retropectively.

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  • 88. At 12:08pm on 25 Feb 2009, We_taint_the_glamour wrote:

    At 11:34pm on 23 Feb 2009, Bortron wrote:

    Martin Atkinson got an earful from Fergie last year for not giving an astonishingly blatant penalty, and not for the penalty Portsmouth won (which Fergie agreed was the correct decision).

    Still bitter I see. Face it, I assume you mean the Distin shoulder barge on that tart Ronaldo? It wasn't a penalty, ours was - we won.

    Thanks for the cup. :D

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  • 89. At 12:41pm on 25 Feb 2009, irochel wrote:

    Snorkling idea is wicked. Plus, had thought I'd been the only one to notice that Pedersen's 'fall' began after the 'pressure' had been removed. I wouldn't have given it either...

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  • 90. At 12:54pm on 25 Feb 2009, MarcusVanBasten wrote:

    "Bobby, I didn't think I'd ever have to tell you this, but soccer was invented by European ladies to keep them occupied while their husbands did the cooking"-Hank Hill

    I'm so sick of watching lawyer-ball. Players playing for the foul instead of just playing. It's really putting me off footy. Even VanPersie last night went down as soon as he felt the contact. Alright there is a lot at stake and the fans don't care so long as their team wins. But, as a nuetral, I care. I don't want to see that. I want to see VanPersie take the ball and beat a defender with sheer skill of movement and ball control like he did against Carra.

    There's something inherently wrong with any sport when the performance of the referee is scrutinized more than that of the players.

    I've said my piece.

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  • 91. At 1:02pm on 25 Feb 2009, swarvsta wrote:

    I think that the biggest problem with relation to simulation is the interpretation by referees as to what actually constitute a foul.

    Never do you see fouls being given when a player manages to stay on their feet. If a player is hacked at but manages to maintain their balance that should be applauded and rewarded.

    Perhaps an advantage rule should be implemented whereby a foul is given (like the advantage rule in rugby) but the player can attempt to continue. If the play does not succeed (i.e a goal is not scored) then they should be awarded the free-kick or penalty. The punishment of the offending player is then still given, if the foul is deemed to be serious enough.

    A rule like this would require some common-sense at the top of the game, though. I think that is something that is seriously lacking. Of which there are numerous examples:

    - players having to go off for treatment
    - red cards being given to fouls by the last man of defence even when a penalty is awarded (surely punishment enough?)

    If you want to be harsh on diving, why not bring in a sin-bin rule similar to many of the best sports in the world?

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  • 92. At 1:06pm on 25 Feb 2009, edbinks wrote:

    Great article and couldn't agree more. Football is the loser as players persist in throwing themselves to the floor at the slightest touch. Not helped by pundits either as they continue to vindicate such pathetic actions. I despair at the amount of times Shearer and co have concluded that yep there was definate contact (so definate it was still up for debate after 4 slow motion replays) and so the ref was right to point to the spot. True I never played football higher than Sunday league level but I know that running at full pelt you can still shrug off a tug at the shirt or ride a tackle if you want. A match full of free kicks is what awaits (anyone see Inter vs Man Utd) as carry on our merry way towards supporting a non contact sport.

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  • 93. At 1:06pm on 25 Feb 2009, jpopuk wrote:

    If you watched Setanta sports on monday after the spurs hull game you would of learnt that out of the big 4 united concede the most penalties at home... don't hear any one saying about that satatistic.


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  • 94. At 1:18pm on 25 Feb 2009, Westdrop wrote:

    Robbo - watching Everton this season, especially over the past 4 months or so, has been an absolute joy.

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  • 95. At 1:33pm on 25 Feb 2009, alwaysindoubt wrote:

    #64 I know what you are saying but making two bad decisions which cancel each other out doesn't make a good one. I don't think you can justify disallowing a goal for no apparent reason simply because the previous decision was equally doubtful.

    The significance of the disallowed goal, regardless of the previous passage of play which led up to the corner, is that it rather debunks the biased referee conspiracy theory. I think the reality is that Howard Webb simply had a bad day at the office.

    I don't like diving either but forwards would probably say it evens things up when defenders are routinely allowed to get away with holding inside the penalty area. It is the whole two wrongs don't make a right theme again.

    P.S. Early bath this week Robbo with the licence fee hoving into view as soon as post 16. Didn't see that one coming. Keep up the good work.

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  • 96. At 1:35pm on 25 Feb 2009, Coatsy wrote:

    Quality comments Robbo! nearly spat my coffee allover my keyboard!

    The diving is spot on mate - you can't ever say a truer word!

    On Sunday we had a tight match up against 2nd in the League, with their players modeling themselves on Rhydian from X Factor, Chris Ronald, and Fernando More-or-less. I raced 20 yards, ball on boots, skimming through the back 4 before a typically english challenge ended my trail for glory. Fair do's, he took the ball and my spleen with it - but I got up and chased back.

    Before I knew it, I was chasing Ronny-wannabe with his bleached 'quiff' and Nike emblem earing, jinking his feet like he was dancing on hot coals. Then, in a moment similar to that of a Sir Clint western, he raced in front of me and threw himself like a underachieved swimmer in year 7, and landed Kuqi-style on the turf - before letting out a huge scream 'Reeffff' and sitting up, arms aloft like a survivor from Titanic.

    Once the Referee had cottoned on to his blatant 'fall' - Robin Van Winkle slaps the floor, and drags himself to his feet mumbling away to himself - before limping away like it'd stolen his ice-skate. I mean come on!! what has happened to football?? We won 2-0 in the end, but another thing - why do some of them walk off clapping?? There's a woman with a pushchair, old 'Roy' walking his dog, and a group of Cider-swiggers who've stumbled upon the pitch from the stone they crawled from under.

    I stand by you Robbo! keep 'em coming!

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  • 97. At 1:44pm on 25 Feb 2009, cov1985 wrote:

    As much as I would like to see retrospective punishment of dives, it is unlikely to happen.

    Imagine Ronlado dives in the box (not hard to imagine I know), and is rewarded a penalty. United score the penalty and win 1-0. A panel then decides after the match that Ronaldo dived and it actually wasn't a penalty. The panel is therefore undermining the result and the concept of competition as a whole.

    I would love to see diving removed from our game, but retrospective punsihment is not as straight forward as some imagine.

    Blantant dives that the referee spots should be given a red card and an automatic three match ban. Hopefully this will deter people from diving. I don't think it's possible to totally remove it from our game, though.

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  • 98. At 1:46pm on 25 Feb 2009, Alex wrote:

    Carricks dive in Champs league alst night was aweful. he seems to have been taking quit a few tumples recently. Didnt even get touched last night.

    Why cant we have people checking the game afterwards who are able to award yellow cards in retrospect. Rugby does it 'citing' for punches etc... why not football for diving?

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  • 99. At 1:50pm on 25 Feb 2009, cov1985 wrote:


    Here, here!!!! I consider football a man's sport and like to get stuck in. When I'm fouled I don't winge about it. When I get the ball smacked into my solar-plexus, I take a second or two to steady myself, but then try and carry on with the game.

    But there's one lad I play against with work, long shorts past his knees, long sleeved top and gloves, trying all these fancy tricks that never come off, and throws himself at the floor when ever anyone gets within 10 yards of him. Incredibly frustrating!!

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  • 100. At 1:53pm on 25 Feb 2009, cov1985 wrote:

    Rooburt -

    Punching someone in rugby isn't likely to affect the course of the game. Diving is deliberately attempting to change the result. You don't see much diving in a player's own half. As such, you can't retrospectively punish diving very easily (see my post above, number 97).

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  • 101. At 1:59pm on 25 Feb 2009, jpopuk wrote:

    Everyone dives, it's just part and parcel of the game now, as much as people get frustrated with it, football would be a little boring without any controversy.

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  • 102. At 2:06pm on 25 Feb 2009, Nick wrote:

    There was very minimal contact in the Raphael v Pederson incident. Especially when you compare it to the unbelievable mauling seen at the San Siro last night on a certain Bulgarian Forward.

    For the 10 seconds before Ronaldo squared the ball across the face (second half when Giggs just missed it when sliding in) Cordoba was doing nothing less than assaulting the guy! He looked like an aged drunk trying to have a scrap after 18 pints. Defenders get away with a LOT in the penalty area, because of the reluctance of officials to make themselves the centre of attention by awarding penalties. How often do you hear the words "anywhere else on the pitch and thats a nailed on free kick" muttered during commentaires? Should there be a difference?

    I personally thought Pedersen went down way too easily, but if we apply the letter of the law then it was a penalty. If only the players themselves would take the responsibility on their own shoulders to cut out the simulation! Especially as once you have a reputation for it you end up getting decisions go against you when there was a clear infrengement against you, so in the long run there is probably no advantage gained anyway!

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  • 103. At 2:08pm on 25 Feb 2009, Lee wrote:

    If you watched Setanta sports on monday after the spurs hull game you would of learnt that out of the big 4 united concede the most penalties at home... don't hear any one saying about that satatistic.



    Yeah i saw this. It's also funny that the bbc make a post on this after the United game but when Gerrard dives they say nothing.

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  • 104. At 2:09pm on 25 Feb 2009, digispoonerta wrote:

    i've read about the idea of "advantage" being played in the event of a foal, to allow play to continue as much as possible .....

    Obviously not many people actually know the rules of football ....

    The "Advantage Rule" has been with us for a long time .... The referee can let play continue if in his opinion the team who the foal was commited against can gain an adavntage by carrying on. If the advantage is last within a few seconds the referee can bring it back ... but he cannot if in his opinion play has continued enough.

    You will see some referee use this rule .. they will hold their hands in the air and shout something like carry on.

    I think this is something the referees shold be using more of .... The best referee that used to do this is that Bald Headed Italian one Collina i think his name was ..... he was a master at it ...

    Would want to try and argue with him if I thought he was wrong tho!!!!!

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  • 105. At 2:23pm on 25 Feb 2009, digispoonerta wrote:

    Someone said that same thing that run through my mind when seeing the replay ....

    What's Rafael's hand doing on Pedersens shoulders???

    I have played defender and attacker over the years and can honestly say that the only reason you would put your hands on an attackers shoulders like that would be to stop/ impead them.

    That said he did go down rather easily ... would have stayed on my feet that close to goal!!!

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  • 106. At 2:41pm on 25 Feb 2009, for evra and evra amen wrote:

    why does the dissalowed goal not make your blood boil then Robbo?

    Oh yeah, beacuse like everyone else you are jealous and this jealousy makes you blinder then Wenger when it comes to seeing injustices against United

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  • 107. At 3:53pm on 25 Feb 2009, Richard wrote:

    45: "fairly difficult to lose when the bloke in black is also playing on your team..."

    Fair comment, especially when the bloke in black is Mark Clattenberg and 'your team' is Liverpool. Watch out, Man U...Clatters is on his way back! It's not over yet...

    Oh, ay, the bizzies...

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  • 108. At 4:03pm on 25 Feb 2009, cov1985 wrote:


    "If only the players themselves would take the responsibility on their own shoulders to cut out the simulation!"

    Nice use of the word "shoulder" then considering the Rafael/Pedersen incident!

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  • 109. At 4:32pm on 25 Feb 2009, 4Jacks wrote:

    Oh lets just move with the times and the evolving game. How about recording good dives like corners. Players could go to diving classes too - maybe they do already! Also its time defenders started to dive in retaliation so that the free kick would go to the best dive - oh they do already! Then one day a brave soul might decide to carry the ball and watch divers falling around him while he scores - no that would never catch on!

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  • 110. At 5:03pm on 25 Feb 2009, ormrodblue76 wrote:

    Grim Knight of Govan,

    Another classice Robbo, Keep up the good work.

    Oh and by the way do you think Ronaldo will get a 3 match ban for kicking out at someone (for the third time this season), like SWP did?

    More chance of Taggart getting a round in

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  • 111. At 5:04pm on 25 Feb 2009, Joe Ashdown wrote:

    The usual drivel from Robbo. Light-hearted, yes, but not exactly knowledgeable on the finer points of sport, is he?

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  • 112. At 5:06pm on 25 Feb 2009, mateogil wrote:

    This is my first time on the Blog. Always enjoy reading Robbo. Can't understand those who only seem to read in order to slag Robbo off. Used to work in Middlesbrough and once had a drink in the Blue Bell.

    On the matter of diving, footie is a contact sport. I used to play rugby which is also a contact sport, and still watch it on TV. Why is it that in rugby where you can legally manhandle an opponent, players are able to run further without falling over than footballers on a dying swan death wish.

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  • 113. At 5:57pm on 25 Feb 2009, Aaron wrote:

    Am i the only united fan on the blogs who doesnt like Ronaldo, yes without doubt he is a quality footballer, one of the worlds best but his antics week in week out are shocking; kicking out, diving, pulling faces and not getting up when he doesnt get his own way its pathetic, i would take the obscene amount of money Madrid are offering and get rid of him. Lets be honest though Evans header clear goal Pedersen- got that straight from Ronaldo

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  • 114. At 6:44pm on 25 Feb 2009, mjason2004 wrote:

    As we're talking about what is a foul and what's not a foul, the Old Firm game last week is a perfect example.
    Kenny Miller was through in the penalty box and was clattered into by Celtic's Stephen McManus. OK Miller's shot was already well wide, but anywhere else on the pitch and that would have been a late, reckless challenge.

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  • 115. At 10:03pm on 25 Feb 2009, 59th_street wrote:

    Just cos it's a free-kick outside the box DOESN'T mean it's a penalty inside the box.

    For a free-kick the ref can give it on balance of evidence.
    For a pen he has to be close to 100%.

    So when Andy Gray says 'anywhere else on the pitch and it would've been a free-kick, why isn't it a pen' . . . he says that cos he doesn't know the rules of football (and cos he has a degree in hindsight)

    great blog robbo

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  • 116. At 10:08pm on 25 Feb 2009, 59th_street wrote:

    #103 true

    Stevie G is as big a culprit as the gelled-tumbler, he's just not as dramatic in his protestations.

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  • 117. At 10:46pm on 25 Feb 2009, tarquin wrote:

    93 jpopuk

    "United concede the most penalties at home of the big 4"

    actually that's a manipulation of the stat - united do have the highest percentage of their penalties conceded at home, however:

    they have only conceded 8 since 98 - this is the lowest number (joint with arsenal and chelsea), and they also have the lowest number conceded away - a mere 10, meaning they naturally garner a bigger home percentage (44%) at home because of this - they have only conceded 18 total pens across 10 years, the nearest is Arsenal with 23

    So maybe it's when United are travelling we should get our tinfoil hats out

    (all stats premier league)

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  • 118. At 11:29am on 26 Feb 2009, tripesurprising wrote:

    Nice comments and oh so true. I can barely even watch MOTD now that football has become so boring. Another point is that modern 'supporters' (hah!) seem to imagine that football is a really technical game - well here's news for you, it's a really simple game, that's why it's so popular. Jeez, I wonder what a real player of the likes of Tommy Smith or Joe Jordan think of the pansies that prance about our stadia (modern touch there) nowadays, I'll bet it's unprintable.

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  • 119. At 12:28pm on 26 Feb 2009, gwladys_street_ wrote:

    3 strikes is great. Would need F A to bring in rule changes, and they wouldn't want to do that and risk upsetting SAF! If they had balls they would have punished the Portugese Man of Fall for his violent kicking of oponents v Burninhell Rovers and (I think) Derby County matches. But they don't have balls. Quote me, I'll face a law suit!

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  • 120. At 6:04pm on 26 Feb 2009, sharptosheedy wrote:

    Good blog as ever, even for an over-sensitive scouser. Hate to admit it but 'Stevie Gee' also has a tendency to hit the floor too easily in the box (hopefully not found to have a tendency to hit the fellow punter too easily in a Southport bar) - takes the edge off a tremendous talent. Unfortunately I tend to hit the sack watching MOTD - not like Robbo because of the dullness of the game - just because LFC seem to end up being on last and the beer has kicked in too early

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  • 121. At 12:45pm on 27 Feb 2009, 30STMLCFC wrote:

    I know you aren't in charge of it, but how come the Quotes of the Week haven't been updated since 3rd of Feb??

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  • 122. At 2:00pm on 27 Feb 2009, OrientWob wrote:

    Would just like to add that at least Robbo is blogging still and provides at least a couple fo pearls eaach time but as per #121 no quotes of the week and also the last review of the week waas 4th Feb why???

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  • 123. At 00:30am on 02 Mar 2009, tarquin wrote:


    as Chris Charles is responsible for both I'd say he's off somewhere, or been sacked

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  • 124. At 05:57am on 02 Mar 2009, Sevenseaman wrote:

    Late on the scene but might as well post my comment since I have one, just in case there are some stray readers.

    There are two opposing views.

    1. Penalty as it was a delibrate interference, with intent to stop a possible goal, when Pedersen was clear through to shoot for one.

    2. No penalty as Pedersen's dive was simulated. Minimal contact, very acceptable in football.

    Both assertions are true. I should be very obtuse if I denied the facts as observed by so many, even that bit about acceptability.

    My point is, isn't it against the spirit and soul of the game that Rafael's action went totally unpunished?

    He was no where near the ball which was at Pedersen's feet, and at least an yard behind the attacker as he had to stretch his hands to get a touch on Pedersen's shoulder.

    Young Rafael was clearly not tapping a friend to talk about his last night's date, or tell him a joke.

    All other things are subsequent. Linkng these to the Rafael offence is only a sordid attempt at obfuscation. I think any efforts to bring Pedersen's simulation into the picture is pathetic dissemblance.

    There was indeed a case of censure for Rafael. His blatantly unfair action caused
    a clear and unfair advantage to accrue to his team, Man United, the happy beneficiary.

    In contrast the result plunged Blackburn into gloom and a dire struggle for survival in the PL. It cannot have failed to be a very demoralising blow to the strugglers and the manfully fighting Sam Allardyce, their stoic manager on the day.

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