Forget Spearing’s dive for Liverpool: Lyon’s cheat in a different class

James Forrest & Dejan LovrenImage: Ronnie Macdonald (Lovren, right, practises ballet skills in Lyon v Celtic, Emirates Cup)

No complaints about today’s result. Whatever justified grievances we have with the match officials, Liverpool deserved to win and we deserved nowt. And, in the latest from our French Fancies series about football on the other side of the Channel, we identify a much nastier example of the ugly face of football …

In one way Jay Spearing is not a cheat at all. But then nor, in one way, was Gary McAllister. Both were indeed fouled by Sunderland players, so falling over was not an impossible consequence.

Their status as cheats is judged on what happened next. The fouls occurred outside the penalty area and the fouled players proceeded to float though the air (McAllister) or run and plunge (Spearing) to land well inside the box.

Maybe Spearing will plead innocence, though a Liverpool fan has already said on this site that he dived. One radio commentator even asked whether he should have been booked but I doubt whether you can be punished for being fouled, even if you then show off significant long-jump skills. In any case, our Jay is a mere apprentice by comparison with McAllister who, as previously observed, began his dive not so much outside the penalty area as outside the ground.

And he will doubtless sleep soundly in his bed in the smug knowledge that his action brought his team a key goal, just as McAllister’s secured an equaliser a decade ago.

But step forward a much more accomplished cheat than either of them. Dejan Lovren by name.

I watched Lyon v Rennes last night and, as is often the case with Ligue 1, found myself drifting off to other activities while it was on. I’d painted the toilet walls and watching them dry was, by comparison, a compelling spectacle.

French league football is better than it was, but a lot worse than it was before that: not, in other words, a particularly pretty sight.

My French brother-in-law bemoans the lack of goals by comparison with Premier matches, though our much-loved relegation certainties Arles-Avignon did figure in a 3-3 draw last week against Lorient (before resuming normal service with a 2-0 defeat at Caen tonight).

Despite my wandering attention during the Lyon game, I had heard Lovren’s name a few times. He seemed to be getting away with a lot in the first half and then, in the second with his team Lyon 1-0 up, he was involved with a teammate in what I thought was a bad challenge on Victor Hugo Montano to which Montano responded by kicking feebly – making little no or contact – in this assailant’s direction. But not in the direction of his face. And guess which part of the body Lovren clutched, in a glorious pretence of utter agony, with both hands.

It was all quite enough to persuade Antony Gautier, l’arbitre no less, to produce a red card. The French commentator called it severe, I thought it grotesque and la presse francaise today talked of Lovren’s simulation and exaggeration and of M Gautier tumbling neatly into his trap. I even came across condemnation from a Lyon fan, on OL’s official website: “We don’t need to stoop to that to win.”

And win they didn’t. Wonderful to record, Rennes went on to grab an equaliser, keeping them ahead of Lyon in the top four.

If Lovren played for Sunderland, and acted like that, I would hope he’d never play for us again. But I suspect he’ll be turning out for l’Olympique lyonnais for the foreseeable future.

Monsieur Salut

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31 thoughts on “Forget Spearing’s dive for Liverpool: Lyon’s cheat in a different class”

  1. just a follow up reading the guy above me, bramble had a good game. just like he did for newcastle when the whole of anfield laughed at him a few years back when he came on as a sub.

    when he concentrates he’s useful, he just doesn’t concentrate for 90 mins.

  2. hilarious. just watched the dive again. simply hilarious.

    1 shot on target in 90 minutes, 2 shots off target at home. you should be ashamed even discussing liverpool when talking about the result. you were shocking and deserved to get beat.

    to say spearing dived must mean you have never played football before in your life. no player would ever claim that, embarressing.

  3. dive – no
    shambolic back four – yes
    bramble – hilarious football player
    gyan – silly falling over man

  4. A great thread. With a great deal of sense being spoken by our very own Mr Hedley.

    There are a lot of people spouting off without taking a proper look at the event.

  5. The only dive i saw was Gyans, Spearings was a foul not a penalty he got brought down it wern’t a dive.

    Besides there was only 1 team that deserved the win that was the team that did win LFC how many chances did Sunderland create?

  6. Scrupulously reasonable as ever Mr S all one has to do is actually read your carefully chosen words. Cheats from whichever side should never be allowed to prosper.

    By the way how long do we have to put up with crooked put ins, of the ball, into scrums, which is now as common as in Rugby league. Cheats from whichever game should never prosper.

  7. One result of decades of expecting the worst, and usually getting it, is that I regard bitterness as pointless. But I do get very angry about cheating in all its forms as anyone who sees this site regularly will know. Arsenal fans were enraged when I titled a question about cheating in the questionnaire with opposing fans before each game the Eduardo Question. Momentum again …

    And if you read the piece correctly, I didn’t say Spearing deserved a yellow but quoted a radio commentator as saying it and then disagreed with him!

  8. salutsunderland

    Of course these arguments are the lifeblood of the game, I couldnt agree more. I also agree about the second yellow for Mensah, no way did the challenge warrent a straight red. As for the momentum argument, you do sound a little bitter, and to suggest that Spearing deserved a yellow…….ludicrous.

  9. Now come on Salut be fair how could you possibly suggest it was a dive. I watched along with two Manure supporters and, like one other poster, we were all not even certain that there was any contact at all. He just ran too quickly and took off.

    I do not blame the ref for giving a free kick even so because it looked as though there was a foul, I do blame him for listening to an assistant well away from the incident who had a player blocking his line of vision.

    Diving however is an unfair suggestion, everyone in Liverpool knows that Spearing has unbelievably light bones and if the wind had been blowing the way it used to, off the Roker End he might well have ended up in the net, let alone into penalty box. He is more of a floater than a diver.

  10. Neil
    I stand by every word. I still suspect he wanted to make sure, but I may be wrong in a way I certainly wasn’t wrong about McAllster all those years ago and don’t think I was wrong about Eduardo, Ngog and a host of other divers last season. I think Bent probably dived “for us” at Spurs; he got – and missed- his penalty and the same ref gave Gomez the benefit of the doubt he failed to give Mensah (a yellow, his second, would have sufficed without adding to the disciplinary burden).

    But these arguments are the lifeblood of the game, and one of the reasons it is deliberate Salut! Sunderland policy to encourage supporters of other teams to come here, as they have done in their thousands over the past day and a half.. And just to start another argument, momentum is beginning to sound like is a great catch all defence for every dive every footballer commits!

  11. We all know it was never a penalty but it was a freekick. To say Spearing looked to make sure is absurd, like a previous poster said both spearing and the defender ended up 2 yards inside the box because of the momentum. Perhaps the original poster needs to get out on the grass and sprint like a professional footballer then see if he can stop dead in 1/2 yard. I actually thought that Sunderland got the rough end of the stick with both decisions and injuries but as a LFC fan it was a little sweet after the beachball, but I think we all agree that the better team won. P.s I’ve not heard much from Mr Ferguson and Nani about the assault by Evans on Holden. Now that is an injury Mr Cryboy Nani.

  12. I’ve already, oLiverpool, said that I believe Gyan did dive and should have been booked. Others have suggested that Kuyt got away with a red-card offence when he cynically assaulted an already injured Bardsley.

    Look, I’m totally consistent on these matters.

    I’d welcome severe , even-handed action to stamp out cheating and thuggishness, including retrospective action, even if SAFC players joined those from other clubs in being punished. It is the state of the game I’m talking about, not petty point-scoring. You don’t even begin to justify the “bitter and hypocritical” claim.

  13. Er….did you not see Gyan’s dive under pressure from Agger? That was pathetic.

    Spearing’s didn’t look a dive to me. Ok, it wasn’t in the area, but it wasn’t a patch on Gyan.

    Bitter and hypocritical.

  14. If you look at it very carefully, it’s not clear that there was any contact at all. Mensah certainly went to take him out, but as he did so he then pulled back so as not to, because he saw Bramble was coming across to cover at the same time he realised that he was dangerously close to the box.

  15. I think the issue is not about weather jay dived or was in or outside of the penalty area the issues should be with the ref and the lines man ( thats what i was brought up calling them ) if the man in charge is less then ten foot away gets over ruled by a man seventy feet away then there is something wrong . The two people who were involved in the decision should be investigated by the F.A because that was a major decision and they both got it wrong this happens week in week out .Like the suarez booking in every game in any day that its on tv you will see the defender push and shuv the attacking player while running the ball out for a goal kick the attacker does it to the defender it is a foul the point is that refs all have diffrent interpertations of the rules of the game no two will give the same decision for the same incident in there matches so every week at every match supporters of all the teams in football will be on sites discusing these problems . By the way I am a liverpool fan and I am glad that we scored the second goal because I would of not liked winning by a disputed penalty ( and in my own opinion i thought it was outside the area.)

  16. Don’t blame a poor refereeing decision on the player it benefitted.

    Spearing was caught by the trailing leg of the defender outside the area, it should have been a free-kick. It wasn’t a dive. You know it. We know it.

    Stop being bitter. You were beaten fair and square. Perhaps, if you want to stand a chance, you should bring more beach balls next season?

  17. I don’t think it was a dive a la Ngog/McAllister/Eduardo and the ones Liverpool fans often accuse Rooney and United accuse Gerrard of committing (or is always just momentum?). Yes, by all means add Gyan; again if you were to read, you’d see that I make no defence of any SAFC player who seeks unfair advantage. I’m old-fashioned and believe cheating in all its forms and whoever does it is helping to ruin the game. . .
    Spearing, I think, made absolutely sure he came to ground well into the penalty box. Only he knows whether I’m right – ie “trying to make sure” even though he must have known any contact was outside the box – or you are , ie “pure as driven snow”.

  18. Spearing dived hey ? Didn’t do very well at momentum theory in physics at school did you ? Mind you, not big at going to school up there hey ? The biggest laugh was hearing you lot sing the sad old ‘sign on’ song !! Talk about kettle and pot !

  19. What a joke calling Spearing a cheat!! Ok it’s not a pen but you honestly tell me he knew that. All this when Gyan blatantly dived by Agger in the second half! Anyway Karma can be such a bitch!

  20. it wasnt a pen, but to suggest a dive is very unfair on a young player. both spearing and the sunderland defender finished up inside the penalty area, it was just momentum.

  21. Mikey83

    Then why did you bring the beachball and throw it onto the pitch in the first place? I’ve raised questions about Spearing while allowing for his likely claim of innocence. If you read what was written rather than assuming sour grapes, you’d see that. I could hardly have been more critical of Sunderland, but the penalty changed the game whereas the beachball merely confirmed our small-club superiority on the day. One of the first Liverpool fans here today said it was a dive, so I am hardly alone in wondering. Everyone’s agreed it was a foul so that is not an issue. But since you all know it wasn’t a penalty, a lot of the comments from Liverpool fans are mere bluster.

    Gyan deserved to be booked. I have no sympathy for any players – Sunderland’s included – who try to deceive the ref . It didn’t change the game, which is why we’re talking about something that did.

    NB All comments within reason are welcome and any further contributions on this debate will be published. But I’m off to bed and if you haven’t posted before, you must therefore expect a delay for what passes for moderation (anti-spamming rather than anti-LFC).

  22. I have no sympathy for you at all after the way you celebrated the beach ball incident last season. Now that WAS a farce.

    what goes around comes around. deal with it, you ain’t very good.

  23. Never a dive from spearing. also we have seen Gyan dive all over today plus in the penalty box but no small club players don’t dive. they are always the victims.

  24. It wasn’t a penalty nor was it a dive. Jay was brought down and his speed took him into the area (which has been confirmed by the repeated viewing of the incident).

    It does no-one any credit to accuse genuine players of diving and it just comes across as whining.

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