The 200% Podcast 13: FOUL!
The Power Of Discretion And Why Guidelines Are… King
Steven Gerrard, The Media & Liverpool’s Structural Issues
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End Of Season Ennui
The 200% Podcast 12 – General Election Special
Saturday Night On Channel Five For The Football League
The Decline & Fall Of Leyton Orient
Rape, Disrespect & Fury: The Oyston Family & Blackpool FC
Is It Time For A New Football Club For Newcastle?
Tranmere Rovers & Cheltenham Town Stare Into The Abyss
You’d think that Saturday would have beeen a day of celebration. A vivid carnival of all that is right with being Red and Mancunian. Big United larruped West Ham in the East End yesterday, despite having been two down at half-time. And up in weird, charity-shop filled Retford, FC United came back from a goal down to beat those muscular, flesh-devouring freaks from Worksop, thanks to a last minute Jerome Wright penalty. And off the pitch things should have been even better. In the clubhouse post-Match, when prompted to sing us a song, Karl Marginson chose the epoch defining anthem of the RRF, our oft-mocked, but never bettered Ben Deegan and Coronation Street mash-up. A song once derided by the entire Manchester Road End. Labelled (with some justification, may I add – have you ever noticed the eerie silence in Le Louvre? Great art instills a sence of awe that transcends mere verbal communication, innit) an atmosphere killer. Well, the RRF have long argued that if you have to ask about this song, then it isn’t for you. It’s a song for those who know, and Margy clearly knows.
But enough of the back-patting. Saturday should have been a day of celebration. A day of looking fellow man in the eye and making him wilt, for both Uniteds showed steel of character, mental fortitude, and in the case of everyone save Darron Gibson, the levels of skill and technique that you associate with a United player. But today can’t be that day. There is heavy precipitation battering our fiesta. And why? Because Wayne Rooney swore. Forget his match-winning hat-trick, this vile – and dare I say it, WORKING CLASS – youth had the temerity to use profanity in a moment of high emotional stress. When will this cur learn that his unsanitised ways are not wanted in football? Those men in suits who walk the corridors of power, the sweat drenched hacks smashing at their keyboards, the perpetually offended chattering classes of middle-England will not rest until SWEARING has been kicked out of football for good.
We cannot, as United fans, take Rooney back in to our hearts. Forget his transfer request shenanigans of Autumn time. This here is much worse. The acrobatic overhead kick of the derby win was enough to banish the former misdemeanour in the eyes of most. But how can Rooney save this weekend? How can he ensure that Mothering Sunday isn’t forever associated with his spud-like napper growling “What? Fucking What?”. Across the country today, mother sits with child, an awkward silence hanging over the dining table, both fearful of talking lest they shout “WHAT FUCKING WHAT?”. And this is Rooney’s greatest crime. In one single, goal-celebrating moment, he is responsible for the total collapse of the family unit. This goes beyond football and in to the realms of civility and society. Rooney is in many very real ways WORSE THAN THATCHER. So today, instead of buzzing over Big United putting one sticky hand on number 19, and Little United marching inexorably towards the Playoffs, playing the sort of heart-busting, mind-expanding brand of football we have become proud to live vicariously through, we have to just accept that football, and life, will never be quite the same.
It soon became clear after whatfuckingwhat-gate that the nation was clearly divided in to two camps. Those who thought that Rooney’s actions were an unacceptable and a disgrace, and those of us who don’t wet the bed. Leading the tub-thumping for the easily offended was, and this’ll come as no surprise to anyone, the Daily Mail. With a column that reached Brass Eye levels of satire, Patrick Collins opined that “if Rooney is allowed to bellow the sexual oath at a live microphone without repercussion, then nobody in authority will ever be taken seriously again.” Elsewhere, Lord Pendry said that “Players should be banned and maybe in time, that will make them accept their responsibility to the young people who look up to them“, clearly forgetting that the job of a footballer is primarily to play football, and the job of a parent is to ensure kids don’t yell WHAT FUCKING WHAT just because they saw Wayne Rooney do it on the telly. And funniest of all was Graham Poll, who suggested Wayne Rooney had ruined Mother’s Day, in an echo of the post I made yesterday, finally tipping this whole absurd affair in to the realms of beyond-parody.
Except the FA then slapped a two match ban on Rooney, a charge so ludicrous as to lead me to believe the Fergusonian whispers of anti-United bias and agendas. The alternative is to believe that football is not only irredeemably fucked, but governed by a bunch of precious old fogeys, too busy making jam sponges in the church hall to run OUR game properly, and only get involved when someone dares utter profanity or blasphemy.
Because right now the message the FA is putting out is that it’s OK to asset strip a football club, to move it to the other end of the country, to kick it out of their home and change the locks, to shoot an intern with an air rifle, to rape, drink, take drugs, and steal, to refer to a fellow player as a ‘fucking poof’, to shout racist abuse, to do all this and worse beside, but it’s not OK to swear. As someone tweeted last night, “The FA’s knack for vigorously and mercilessly prosecuting the wrong issues is uncanny. Traffic wardens when you need Police.” Nail on the head. If I were Wayne Rooney, I’d take the two match ban without appeal, then never, ever pull on the shirt of England again. He’s been carved up not only by the media, but by the Football Association who’ll be begging him to play for them in the next few months. Fuck them.
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Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.
It’s too much to hope that this football review will result in a well overdue overhaul in the FA from top to bottom. They are not fit for purpose. If they’re not bowing down to pressure from the Premier League then it’s the media and, in particular, Sky. What on earth are they doing sticking cameras in the faces of people who have just scored a goal? I don’t want to see some ugly midfielder blowing me a kiss any more than I want to hear some ugly forward using the ‘F’ word.
It’s a sad indictment of the game’s governing body that while clubs up and down the pyramid are being saddled with debt, unable to pay their tax bills and being funded from various dubious resources that they are more concerned with vacuous, ridiculous charges like this. Why charge Rooney for foul and abusive language, or improper conduct when umpteen similar offences went unpunished over the same weekend but were lucky enough not have had a camera shoeved in their faces – that seems to be the only differential here and it leaves a bitter taste.
Au contraire, look at the blogs and forums all over the Internet, and people are falling over themselves to say how ridiculous it is that a 25-year old father should be accountable for his obnoxious behaviour. Why is everyone so keen to make excuses for him? Does everyone want to set a precedent here? Since Gerrard kissed a lens, everyone’s doing it – Noble did it in the same game – and I don’t want that to extend to footballers swearing at me after they score a goal. Sorry about that, I think adults should have basic standards of behaviour, the bar’s hardly being set high here. Rooney knew what he was doing, he still did it, he knew the FA would ban him, and they have. That’s the way regulation works. I’m not buying the argument that far worse things happen all over the country every day, because they’re not relevant to this offence. A two-match ban is totally appropriate.
As a United fan, it disappoints me to see one of our best players banned at an important stage of the season. However, I do not like to see players of the team I support act in such a spoilt, loutish way, with no regards to common decency. I didn’t grow up watching Utd players act like that, and I wouldn’t want children of mine growing up watching that too, thinking it’s acceptable behaviour.
As an individual, Rooney has proved over and again that he lacks any degree of class or intelligence to warrant being England and United’s best striker. He is a perfect example of what is wrong with a lot in football today.
Like Gervillian Swike says above, adults should have basic standards of behaviour. The incoherent and nonsensical nature of Rooney’s swearing showed him for what he is. He didn’t even seem to know what he was angry about. He just let his ego take over and make a fool of himself.
As regards to Sky’s cameras, they’ve been capturing everything for years now, and it indeed makes for the fantastic (mostly) footage we watch every week and often take for granted. It’s not as if the cameras behind the goal come on the pitch! Every week players score and don’t manage to make a complete and vulgar tit of themselves – was it THAT hard for Rooney to NOT do what he did?
Just a couple concerns:
1. I agree that there have been mistakes made in the past about judgments, and some things certainly should have been judged much more harshly, or they should have been judged less harshly. No doubt about it. However, that does not alleviate concerns about this incident — each incident should be evaluated to a standard, not to each other incident.
2. I have no problem with language — it’s a colorful part of the world, and I use it with sometimes reckless abandon. And if Rooney had been shouting out his comments before he realized the cameras were focused on him, we would not be concerned. However, Rooney clearly knew the cameras were on him and addressed the viewing public in such a way.
Perhaps the ban is harsh — you could make a compelling argument about it without resorting to relativity — but Rooney was clearly in the wrong here. I firmly believe that he wronged his club, his family, his national team, his sponsors — all of ’em — by behaving like a child. That’s where my biggest issue is.
As a side note, if he’d run up and yelled “I love you, mom!” we’d be singing his praises for being a respectable kid. Instead, he behaves like a child who’s not been given his dose of sedatives for the day and is clearly disrupting his peers’ coursework. His performance could have been about him as a player — instead, he’s made it about him as a person who, for better or worse, can’t control his public persona.
Oh, and players kissing a lens? If I were shooting video and a player kissed the lens, I’d be furiously trying to clean it off. Not going to get a sharp image like that!
So why don’t biggum united farm him out to lickle united? Everyone’s a winner!! He could swear to his heart’s content there and no one would ever know or give a…
No cameras there to confuse the lad. Sounds as if he’d be right in his element at the likes of Worksop too; sounds right up his street.
Don’t recall ever wetting the bed…
“As a side note, if he’d run up and yelled “I love you, mom!” we’d be singing his praises for being a respectable kid.”
Really? If he’d done that I think I’d have been pushing for a two game ban.