Rooney’s rant, Arsenal’s crowding of Dowd: which is worse?

Wayne Rooney Sky TV pub signImage: Jontintinjordan

Wayne Rooney is not necessarily the first person you’d think of inviting to tea. Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, may not always say things we can all agree with.

But am I alone in wondering whether Taylor may be right to question the furore over Rooney’s unconventional way of celebrating his hat-trick against West Ham?

This is what the PFA man says of the FA’s charging of Rooney for use of abusive language:

“Whilst the use of foul and abusive language is not condoned, there is an acceptance by all parties within the game that ‘industrial language’ is commonly used. It becomes an issue when directed towards match officials. However, when used in a spontaneous way in celebration or frustration then it is not normally expected to merit a sanction. If sanctions are to be imposed in such circumstances then this has to be done in a balanced and consistent manner, and participants made aware of this fundamental change in approach.”

Like Taylor, I do not condone Rooney’s actions. Like him, I would love to see a spot of consistency (and he didn’t even mention, as far as I know, the abusive chanting that may well have goaded the United striker).

One player’s rant is no more deserving of witchhunt and exemplary punishment, just because he happens to be very famous and also famously cantakerous, than another’s. I also bear in mind my occasional intemperate reaction to people who put my life and theirs at risk on the road. Holier than thou I cannot claim to be in terms of the use of “industrial language”, much as I would love to regard it as way beneath me.

Rooney dd it. With whatever level of sincerity, or PR prodding, he publicly apologised. If I am to be completely fair and honest, I would say that’s that. He may get his two-match ban if the FA insists on being guided by journalists who – and this I know to be true since it’s my trade, too – use as bad if not worse language in their own working environments. But that – Rooney’s scapegoating – wouldn’t make it right unless the book started to be thrown at everyone else, too.

Two admissions. First: I did not see the incident and cannot retrieve it on the internet. It’s been much talked and written about.

Second: nor did I see Arsenal players surrounding Phil Dowd to urge him to send off Steven Nzonzi for what was, from reports I have seen, a clumsy rather than deliberately dangerous challenge on Laurent Koscielny. Graham Poll did, and commented on it in his Daily Mail slot yesterday. He thought it a red card offence and said so; he also said Dowd was able to reach the same conclusion without needing the “player pressure” that was inappropriately applied.

So I may as well let it be known: I deplore Rooney’s conduct, but if he is to be penalised for his, then let us sanction the Arsenal players for theirs.

Trying to get an opponent sent off should form no part of a professional footballer’s make-up. A captain is entitled to approach a referee and make representations in a general sense (eg “look ref, we’re being kicked all over the shop here”) or to plead the case of a teammate. If players crowd an official in an attempt to dictate yellow or red card, they should also be penalised for ungentlemanly conduct, outdated as that will sound.

It’s the sort of behaviour that, along with diving and feigning injury and sly tugs and blatant thuggery, helps to make the game stink. Sorry Arsène, among whose admirers I count myself, but that’s how I feel.

Monsieur Salut

29 thoughts on “Rooney’s rant, Arsenal’s crowding of Dowd: which is worse?”

  1. I think in all fairness John, SAF and Man Utd would come out attempting to justify Hitler and Nazism if it suited them at all.

    “We can all get carried away in the middle of an economic depression. Now, erhm no. I didn’t see the cattle trucks heading to Treblinka…. was it and Belsen. But you have to remember that this was in the middle of a war. Adolf is just a bit enthusiastic that’s all.

    Take that away from a dictator and life would be really dull wouldn’t it? Anyway, Chamberlain’s had a word with him over a cup of tea and says it’s just a mountain made out of a molehill. We took all the points in Poland. Their defence was poor mind. We are home to the RAF next week. It’s live on telly; should be a good one!”

  2. Yes it is correct that Rooney is not the first player to be caught swearing on camera. It is also correct that a lot of swearing goes on during a game at whatever level.

    But Rooney is the first player that in my life I can remember looking into a live TV camera from about a foot away from it, and letting rip a tirade of foul language quite easily heard by any family enjoying a lunchtime football match.

    Sadly Manchester United nor the PFA have the class of decency to come out and condemn what he did. They prefer to try and justify what he did and why he did it. The reality is that Rooney is no more than a ned ( a chav in England) who got lucky by being able to play football. Had he not been I suspect he would be standing on a street corner in Liverpool most days selling drugs.

    Pressure say the PFA….give me a break. Since when does earning £250K per week constitute pressure. Try bringing up 4 kids after the main earner in the house has lost his job….that is pressure.

    The sad fact that neither Rooney, Manchester United or Ferguson can accept that what happened was totally unacceptable reflects sadly on the state of the game as we know it. Would Clough , Shankly or Stein accepted behaviour like Rooneys ? No I think not.

  3. Johnny Hoy – I have opinions on the Second World War though I wasn’t there!

    1. Hitler was not a nice person.
    2. ITMA is not as funny as I was told it was when I was a kid.
    3. Artie Shaw was a better clarinetist than Benny Goodman.
    4. Sylvester Stallone was too muscle bound to be a goalie but POW Bert Trautmann became a legend.
    5. Dig for Victory turned everyone born before 1930 into keen gardeners though it put my dad off rhubarb for the rest of his life!
    6. Anderson Shelters beat Morrisson Shelters every time.
    7. Even though I wasn’t born then – I cannot overemphasise the respect and gratitude I feel to that generation for the sacrifices they made and for the inhertitance they have left which allows forums such as this to exist, enabling anyone to voice an opinion – including those of the hard of thinking!

  4. At last (from Johnny Hoy), some wit amid all these Rooneyesque snarls from north London. Now there’s a commodity we’re always being assured is to be found in abundance in that part of the world.

    Some good points have been made here but too many of those commenting, welcome as they are, have merely adopted the kneejerk, no-word-of-criticism-of Arsenal stance and added a little abuse to make up for their lack of compelling argument. Whether or not you agree with anything I had to say, my posting at least had the merit of being totally free of partisan views.

    The suggestion that you have no right to talk or write about an incident you are honest enough to admit not having seen, but which has been reported and debated extensively, is frankly absurd. The suggestion that I was likening swearing on the football field to WW2 is idiotic. And I repeat that if WoW is right, and only Wilshere tried to nobble the ref and get the Blackburn player sent off, Poll – who was and, in a different way, is paid to see such things – was wrong.

  5. I have an opinion on the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Russian Revolution as well. I wasn’t there either.

    Some of these dunderheids should just be shoved outside into the coal house Salut. They’d be happy in the dark as it seems to be where they belong.

    I even have some opinions on World War 1, but just like Arsene Wenger, “I did not see it!”

  6. Rooney is a horrible little scroat. He shags grandmothers and visits prostitutes while his wife is pregnant. I couldn’t really give a monkey’s about what happens to him. He’s gone unpunished for more things that he’s been unjustly charged with. I didn’t see the game, but suspect that Malcolm may well have a point if what he says is correct.

  7. In all this banter has no-one thought that maybe there could be a connection with this two match ban and an off the ball elbow that went unpunished?

    I’m not suggesting that the two are connected …………………….
    or am I?

  8. I love the way Rooney’s treatment is being called a witch hunt by some *******. This is the same players who routinely gets away with behaviour that others wouldn’t purely because he plays for Man U and England, and when he is finally punished for something it’s because of a witch hunt. I was watching that with my 3 & a half year old son and it was vile. Moreover anyone who goes on the internet and writes about two incedents they have not seem is a royal ****. And let me remind you that Mamchester United are the fore runners of referee intimidators, all teams do it, Rooney does it all the time so why single out Arsenal? Oh that’s right it’s some prick talking out his **** about tea incidents he hasn’t seen.

  9. I think you’ll find Manchester is classified as North. It may not be as far north as Sunderland but it north. You may not want it but the midlands don’t either. Haven’t they got enough to contend with in Birmingham, Leicester and Stoke?

  10. I’ve been fairly liberal in allowing comments and have no problem with those saying I’m a fool or worse – provided it stops short of mindless abuse and actually makes a point, as many of the above do. Even Jeffersafc makes a point, though it’s one that has been aired here a million times, by Arsenal and Sunderland fans, and on most occasions more eloquently.

  11. Lee Cattermole is the paradox of everything that is great about English Premiership football… discuss…Can we remember when Dan Smith broke Diaby’s ankle … what a player! Whatever happened to Dan Smith btw? A great team!

  12. What Nani flashing cards @referee? In more than one occasion the sametime he was kickd off by Caragher wat did United players do u shud av told us aw many players av used Rooney language in front camera

  13. I think in the Arsenal case it was simply them sticking up for themselves against what they probably see as a joke Ref. After the horrid game and calls in the Arsenal vs Newcastle game Dowd had there was probably a mindset of “not letting him do that again”

  14. Don’t forget that Arsenal players have some very recent history with Mr Dowd at Newcastle. After that game he was demoted for a week. Like all clubs Arsenal feel they get the wrong end of decisions and this has come to a head lately with all the pressure that a run-in brings. Even against Sunderland they got a couple of stinkers which probably cost them a couple of points and a confidence boost. So don’t be too hard on them eh.

  15. It is not strange for FA to give such a disapointing punishment to Manchester united this season. Sir. Alex is still serving his five match touchline ban, just a few days ago FA was on Rafael and now they are on Rooney. We do not support Rooney’s action but why a two match ban? I think there should be cositancy and fairness when it comes to such decisions by FA. One match could have been fair enough.

  16. I did watch the West Ham – United game on TV and I was unaware of Rooney swearing until I read the Sunday papers. This is a case of the, London based, print media continuing thier witch hunt of a player that started when he failed to bring the World Cup home from South Africa.

    He played in SA while clearly still carrying an injury and was poor. Yet the press has continued to hound him all season while players who were equally poor (Terry springs immediatly to mind) are given a free ride.

    Anyone who watches Match of the Day on a saturday night will see examples of players swearing at each other, swearing at the Ref and swearing at the crowd in every game but this is never mentioned.
    If it wasn’t for the press coverage this incident would have been ignored by the FA but as usual they’ve allowed themselves to be bullied into taking action to placate the media.

    If the FA really want to stamp out “industrial language” in the game then they should announce strict guidelines for next season and ensure that players and officials at all levels clearly understand what is and isn’t allowed and the punishmenrts that will be handed down for trangressions. They should then ensure that these new rules are enforced in a fair and consistant manner in ALL games.

    Having watched replays of the incident it was not a case of Rooney running to the camera. It was a Sky cameraman with a hand held camera running up to Rooney and sticking it in his face. In this case I think Sky are as culpable as Rooney and the FA should look at rules proventing this sort of behaviour from the media.

    I didn’t see the Arsenal-Sunderland game so can’t comment on that specific instance. However, once again you will see examples of players crowding the Ref and demanding red or yellow cards in every game on MOTD. I agree that this is something that needs to be stamped out. Yet again this is something that the FA needs to set out clear and unambiguous guidlines for which are then implemented on a fair and consistant basis.

    Inconsistancy from Referees in thier interpretation of the rules and from the FA in thier handling of disaplinatory matters is, in my opinion, a far bigger problem in the game then one player getting carried away in the heat of the moment but is never addressed by the press. Maybe that’s because its those inconsistancy’s which provide the redtops with all thier copy (when they’re not just making stuff up).

  17. “I deplore Rooney’s conduct, but if he is to be penalised for his, then let us sanction the Arsenal players for theirs.”

    If you want to be consistent and feel Arsenal should be sanctioned for these actions then surely you must feel ManU and West Ham should be sanctioned just the same for similar actions towards Lee Mason. I only watched the first half of the ManU/West Ham game and witnessed him being surrounded and pressured on more than 1 occasion. The same Poll column which you reference even has a photo illustrating this.

    I also highly doubt this type behaviour was limited to these fixtures alone.

  18. Manchester is not in the north, Gunns. More northwest Midlands. And favour has a u.
    Wow: Despite the hypersensibility of Arsenal supporters, nowhere on this site will you find trace of me defending a Sunderland player or SAFC players who do likewise. (I said within seconds of the Arsenal Sunderland game ending that Bramble deserved a red card for the penalty that wasn’t given)

    Diving, feigning injury, sly tugs, trying to get opponents booked or sent off are all condemned here routinely – whoever is the guilty party.

  19. Salut, you would compare the deaths of millions of people in World War II to a game of football?

    I think that you need to get a sense of perspective, and please, please, please do not even think about quoting Bill Shankly!

    Idiotic piece from an idiot!

  20. While swearing on the football pitch is commonplace and shoudn’t, in my view, be judged harshly, it’s the fact that Rooney went right up to the camera, speaking into it directly that I think deserves a ban. He’s a big lad, and however frustrated he might feel, he has to know that there are lots of people watching at home, many of them kids. He’s a role model to lots of people, whether he likes it or not, and setting a good example should be part of his job.

  21. What a pathetic post, you’re obviously trying to curry favor with your northern cousins. Dipstick!

  22. I’m really honestly shocked at most people thinking that Rooney has been hard done by! I’m a Gooner and in true Wenger style I didn’t see the furore with Nzonzi, but I did see the Rooney incident and the fact remains that he, whilst looking directly down the camera lens, used the “F word”. I have to be honest and say that the video that I saw I couldn’t even work out exactly what he said (it was a bad quality vid) but if someone else on a normal TV programme at 2.30 on a saturday afternoon were to look directly down the camera and swear that person wouldn’t be on TV much longer. Look at Shaun Ryder’s ban from Channel 4 for so many years. Don’t get me wrong, I swear a lot while i’m with mates and at work, but not if there are kids or other people around who may find it offensive.

  23. harsh i think the reason y arsenal fail to win things is cuz they dont put enuf pressure on refs. if anything goes agaisnt man utd or chelsea the whole team including the keeper, who id 45yrds fro the incident, come rushing over to him surrounding him. i believe it is unfair to single out arsenal for this when i have even seen sunderland do the same it a part of football now. i am sure u watched the barca arsenal macth the amonut of time i saw xavi, ineasta mess alves all go around the ref to get our plyers booked was insane and in the end it paid off for barca cuz it got rvp sent off for nothin

  24. But I acknowledged as much, Drew!

    I am reporting on two incidents and offering my thoughts on how they’ve been treated, which is surely valid. One of them has been reported ad nauseam and the other inspired a former referee from the highest level to make comment (and having now seen Max, I would accept that Poll was exaggerating if only Wilshere approached the ref)

    .I didn’t see much of the Second World War either but have an opinion or two on it.

  25. As an Arsenal fan I would condemn our players if they did this on the weekend, they unfortunately do do it regularly. Only Wilshere went up to the ref, but I don’t see the problem with 1 player complaining about what was a poor tackle.

    Officials should definitely empower refs, back them, and sanction them if they fail, to punish players during play for surrounding them and even harsher for the foul and abusive language(isn’t it supposed to be a red anyway). What about the 10 yard rule that used to be for dissent, used for surrounding the ref and actually enforce the straight red for swearing.

  26. Why have you decided to give your views on two incidents you haven’t seen? If you haven’t seen it there is no way you can give YOUR point of view on either

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