When David Meyler played for Sunderland he was struck by two cruel long-term injuries.
He came back from both with remarkable resilience and earned both the admiration and respect of many supporters. I was one of those who regretted that he was not given more chance to succeed in red and white stripes.
Meyler made the best of a loan move to Hull and Steve Bruce was ultimately happy to sign him permanently. He’s a good player and, on reliable authority, a good bloke. Martin O’Neill, who used him sparingly, said he would be hard put to name a more likeable member of his squad.
So it came as a great disappointment to watch his antics after being tackled by Lee Cattermole in the FA Cup debacle. It looked initially that the referee was content to award a free kick, only to succumb to Meyler’s agitated lobbying for Cattermole to be shown a card. The inevitable happened; contrast this episode with the later one when Huddlestone pole-axed Cattermole and also picked up a booking, but for a far worse foul of the sort our man invariably sees straight red for. I did not see a whimper from Cattermole.
This is how I described it in my slot at ESPN:
Once booked — as he was in the FA Cup quarterfinal that ended Hull City 3-0 Sunderland — Cattermole is both diminished as a player and a liability to his team. He is aware, as are the opponents, that one false move will end his participation.
If simulation is a despicable aspect of the modern game, barking and braying at match officials in the hope of upgrading a telling-off or simple free kick to a yellow, a booking to dismissal, is hardly more edifying.
It was a source of real disappointment to see David Meyler, a player remembered with affection by Sunderland supporters for his efforts on their behalf despite wretched injury problems, resorting to this nasty tactic. It worked. Cattermole was booked and the Hull players devoted at least a portion of their subsequent game plan to seeking to provoke that one further indiscretion.
How dare I? Nothing to do with sour grapes – Hull were the better side without being impressive and deserved to win. I try to be consistent and am always ready to criticise Sunderland players who stoop to the same depths.
Others, including Hull supporters and doubtless Meyler himself, will disagree with my assessment and they are welcome to come here and say so.