If the FA has the least sense, Brown plays at Villa. IF!

The Brains Trust, by Jake
The Brains Trust, by Jake

All Sunderland supporters,
and all followers of football with a shred of common sense and fairness, will hope – and pray, if they pray – the club succeed in the appeal against Wes Brown’s staggering unjust dismissal at Stoke City.

The club has confirmed it will make that appeal. We can assume Gus Poyet did not, in the event, receive a Monday morning phone call from Mike Riley apologising for Kevin Friend’s dreadful, possibly match-deciding mistake. Perhaps Riley had his telephone work cut out what with all those “I’m sorry” calls to Cardiff, Man City and Liverpool concerning the charitable yellows dished out to Messrs Rooney, Vertonghen and Mirillas for red card offences.

Just don’t take it for granted the FA will apply logic and a sense of proportion to the case. There is previous here: Michael Turner’s red card from Andre Marriner at Man City, almost as preposterous, was upheld and a fourth game added to the suspension. The appeal was deemed frivolous.

We are not in the realms of real English here. The rejection of an appeal does not mean it had no merit and such an appeal cannot therefore be considered frivolous. It’s just the rules, innit!

The appealing player, or the club on his behalf, cannot win on the balance of probabilities or because reasonable doubt exists. The sending off cannot be overturned because it was harsh; it has to be clearly and demonstrably wrong – “an obvious error” according the FA video explaining it – and that is a hard test. Oh, and neither club nor player can be present at the appeal; all done on reports and filmed evidence.

So no one should hold their breath. In natural justice, Brown would be deemed to have committed no foul at all and would be free to turn out for the Lads at Villa Park on Saturday. Just be warned: he may be sitting out the first game of a suspension and that suspension could even be prolonged under the frankly idiotic FA rule.

Here we go with some reactions:

Ex Stoke and Sunderland player Danny Higginbotham:

What an awful decision that was. Not even worthy of a free-kick never mind a red card


Robbie Savage and Ian Wright:

worst decision ever


Alan Hansen on Match of the Day:

I think it’s an absolute joke. He gets 100 per cent of the ball. He’s got it totally wrong

Former ref Dermot Gallagher

I can keep this very short. We have to take it smack on the chin. The referee has lost concentration or not seen it. It is not a red card, that’s all you can say. Brown’s gone in hard but he’s entitled to do that. As a refereeing body you have to take that smack on the chin

Kristian Walsh, Daily Telegraph:

It was something Sunderland manager Gus Poyet also pondered, muttered and then shouted after watching defender Wes Brown see red against Stoke City for kicking the ball with unnecessary force.

Gus Poyet:

Two footed tackle? No. Not in control of his body? No. Over the ball? No. In danger of the opponent? No. Contact? No.

Stoke Sentinel newspaper (click here):

Wearing a neutral’s hat for just one moment, it’s difficult to justify Brown walking and Begovic staying.

Mark Hughes (adapted by M Salut)

Of course he was right, We got three points. didn’t we?

From Monsieur Salut on tour at ESPN (http://espnfc.com/blog/_/name/sunderland/id/2405?cc=5739):

Friend reached instantly for red. Poyet was livid, the Sunderland players were utterly incredulous, Friend was unmoved. He should be moved now, to a humbling spell of refereeing Sunday park football. This is the same official who, four years ago, saw no need for punishment of any kind when Jermain Defoe broke the Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon’s arm with a horrendous challenge; later in the same game at White Hart Lane, he also failed to dismiss the Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes for his last-man, penalty-conceding foul on Darren Bent.

…the second half did offer Friend an opportunity to show a semblance of balance, when the Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic came flying out, studs airborne, to clatter into Steven Fletcher. Penalty? Red card? Friend seemed bemused that anyone would see a problem with the tackle.

Monsieur Salut in Paris days, as seen by Matt
Monsieur Salut in Paris days, as seen by Matt
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12 thoughts on “If the FA has the least sense, Brown plays at Villa. IF!”

  1. The technology seems to work well in rugby Joan. Isn’t it more important to see justice being done than to worry about slowing the game down. There are protests which slow the game down more than a couple of seconds replay ever would when a referee gets it woefully wrong.

    Friend is so poor that it stretches the incompetence argument to breaking point. Too many of these blunders involving the same team in our case.

    • I agree. Especially when Manchester United are involved, the time taken for the whole team to congregate, snarling, around the referee takes a lot longer than watching a quick re-play of the incident. Some of the statistics regarding Friend’s refereeing – particularly towards us – warrant investigation.

  2. Rumours abounding about Friend’s apparent bias (repeat … rumours). Not knowing the man personally, and being charitable, you could say that the referee, however close he is, has only one perspective. And that perspective could be misleading. Arguments have been made against using instant re-plays to make critical judgements on the grounds that it would hold up play and interfere with the flow of the game. However, listening to the commentary on Saturday, it seemed to take an age (I ironed at least 3 teatowels) in between the whistle going and play resuming, so the delay argument barely holds. With so much (money) riding on these decisions, I feel the time is coming that the referee needs to be backed up with technology.

    • Our Arsenal friends would class him as Northerner coming as he does from Leicester. So perhaps he was trying to avoid accusations of Northern bias from Rupert and Monty!

    • Need to sort yourself out Joan. I did 3 shirts, 2 pairs of strides, hoovered the living room, made the beds and completed the Telegraph crossword!

  3. a dismissal the league will defend
    and quite likely the suspension extend
    the FA’s a joke
    and as for Stoke
    “Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a Friend”

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