Fans with highly developed abilities to read lips and interpret body language detected attempts by Lee Bowyer to influence decisions by the referee, Anthony Taylor, in Saturday’s match against Birmingham City.
In particular, Bowyer – old pic courtesy of “Michael Kjaer”‘s Flickr pages – stands accused of trying to persuade Taylor to reduce us to nine men by sending off Kieran Richardson.
Is there a viler act on the part of a professional footballer than trying to have cards shown to opponents, whether or not accompanied by rolling around on the ground in mock agony? Well, yes, I suppose there is: dangerous challenges and professional fouls are worse and diving is as bad.
It is vile all the same. And coming from Mr Bowyer, one of the least angelic players to grace an English football field. it seems all the more disgusting.
As one of the Ians contributing to the Blackcats list – in response to fully justified criticism of Richardson’s indiscipline – put it: “Flattening Bowyer counts as community service, so I’ll forgive him that one.”
Perhaps last season’s Eduardo question in our Who Are You? series – “would you welcome or be ashamed about a crucial win secured by a blatant dive?” – should give way to the Bowyer question: “Do you feel it is acceptable or shameful for players to try to get opponents booked or sent off?”
But Mr Bowyer has also been known to suggest that he’s really a nice man, utterly misrepresented by the press and therefore misunderstood by the fans.
So fans may have misread his intentions. The pages of Salut! Sunderland are open to him for a clarifying piece explaining that far from trying to goad the ref into sending off a fellow footballer, he was pleading for leniency and understanding.