Fair or foul – the trashing of a Manchester United old boy?


A clumsy fall harshly punished, or an attempt to cheat his old mates? What do Salut! Sunderland readers think about the moment Phil Bardsley went down in the penalty box? …

Over at the Republik of Mancunia site, with which we had good relations in the build-up to Sunday’s game, a lot of people have been having a go at Phil Bardsley.

Bardsley was booked for simulation after going down in the box after good interplay with Fraizer Campbell put him in a dangerous position that should have produced a quality cross and an an equaliser.

Republik of M – whose reproduction of the photographic evidence is a good deal better than ours – is in no doubt. Beneath the headline “Phil Bardsley – hang your head in shame”, it says:

“Salford born Phil Bardsley joined Manchester United’s academy when he was 8-years-old. Before leaving Old Trafford in 2008, he was the only player in the first team squad who had progressed through all the levels of our academy.

He was brought up near our old training ground, The Cliff, and used to go there during the school holidays to watch his idols train.

So it does make you wonder why with 55 minutes played and United leading 1-0, Bardsley chose to throw himself to the floor in a bid to see Sunderland win a penalty and Ryan Giggs, the closest man to him, booked, or worse, sent off.”

Leaving aside the fact that United players also cheat from time to time, Salut! Sunderland restates its own position. We have been entirely consistent in attacking all diving, all feigned injury, all attempts to get opposing players booked or dismissed.

Watching in the ground, I though Bardsley had simply slipped on the wretched Stadium of light surface. One of the frames borrowed from RoM shows Bardsley throwing up his arms in apparent appeal for a penalty.

If that genuinely was in his mind – and we have to accept that Steve Bennett, having the best game I have seen from him, interpreted it that way – then the yellow was fully justified and I would be disappointed that any player in our stripes should act in that way.

This is what I said in response to a comment posted here by RoM’s Scott the Red:

If he (Bennett) was right, Bardsley should be fined a month’s wages for turning a goalscoring opportunity into a yellow card. And I accept without hesitation that no United player or official has ever so much as thought of cheating in any shape or form. From SAF to the lowliest apprentice, MUFC observe the Corinthian spirit without exception or complaint.

That remains my view. But I’d love to hear from Mr Bardsley, who – to be fair – looked genuinely surprised and upset when booked, which added to my feeling at the time that he had simply lost his balance. The arms need explaining, though!

Colin Randall

6 thoughts on “Fair or foul – the trashing of a Manchester United old boy?”

  1. It looked to me as if his arms went up in the air when he saw Bennett reaching for the yellow card and not to appeal for a penalty.

    In any case he owes Man Utd nothing. He played 8 games for them. So what?

  2. The holier than thou attitude expressed by the United fans is laughable. Bardsley is a good honest professional not burdened with excessive amounts of skill but honest. To say he tried to con the ref is a matter of opinion but look at the lads record he might kick lumps out of you but cheating I simply have to say he has no previous. United were breathtaking mediocre at the weekend against a S’land team with nothing to play for and Scholes and Giggs along with Evans were by far the best on show. That must be worrying for the Red Devils, another Liverpool next year

  3. Had Bardsley not thrown a near tantrum then I’d probably be inclined to believe he had just slipped, but he clearly thinks he’s been fouled and that he warrants a penalty.

    Similarly why would he go down in such a good position where he could have took a shot or put a cross in and we could have equalised. He’s obviously decided falling over was his best option and I just can’t fathom it out.

    However, following Nani’s antics on the pitch, I’d be hard pressed to think Man Utd fans could take any sort of moral highground on the issue. Having decided to charge head first into Richardson and then scream blue murder for a freekick – he made more fuss than David Meyler who appears to have done his cruciate ligament in the knee. Based on the two of them on the floor at the same time you’d have thought Nani was the one who would be leaving on a stretcher such were his theatrics.

    Still, Bardsley will be gone in the summer if we can find a taker. It’s a shame he did what he did, I thought he was having a pretty good game by all accounts but we can never condone cheating.

  4. The point was made because although he is a Sunderland player now he was brought up at United & supposedly remains a fan. It happens, players go over easily in all games but in a game where the 3 points meant so much to us….by all means play your heart out for Sunderland but dont try & con the ref. He prbably did slip….thats what it looked like to me but the arms thing needs explaining. its only cause he’s got United links thats its been brought up…its not about morals.

  5. I agree with Salut. It’s unheard of and bordering on heresy to suggest that any Manchester Utd player would ever resort to the sort of appalling fakery that their supporters, (who lets be honest have a global reputation for fair play and objectivity), have accused Phil Bardsley of.

    Players were struggling to keep their feet all afternoon on what is one of the worst (if not THE worst playing surface in the Premier League). The lad simply fell over. It happens. He had more reason to stay on his feet than fall to the ground. He didn’t appeal and yet he got a yellow card. Mr Bennett; it’s not the first time that he’s dropped a bollard at our place and it won’t be the last. Remember Danny Collins “winner” against Villa a couple of seasons ago, that he disallowed for God knows what?

    Steve Bennett reminds me of that “thick skinhead” sketch that Dick Emery used to do with Roy Barrowclough. “Ehr…I got it wrong again Dad!”

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