If Bob Dylan only ever writes one
song about a Scottish utility player, it will surely centre on the unjust red
card that rules Darren Fletcher out of the Champions League final.
Fletcher is the victim of a
miscarriage of justice that ranks him alongside Ruben 'Hurricane' Carter, the A-Team and Matthew Rose off EastEnders.
The most one-sided semi-final for
years was ambling to its conclusion when Cesc Fabregas ran through on goal.
Given the state of the tie,
Fletcher might have been better off just letting the Arsenal skipper score, but
instead he hooked his right foot around Fabregas's
body to make a brilliant goal-saving tackle.
Rosetti, who was following the
play, could not have seen the tackle but ruled that Fletcher had fouled
Fabregas. Following the letter of the law, he had no choice but to send the
United man off, because any foul would obviously have denied a clear
Nobody is expected to feel sorry
for United, least of all Spurs fans whose Schadenfreude can be easily explained
with the words Howard and Webb.
But the point is that, as Fletcher's red card did not affect the result (imagine if it
had...) and the situation can easily be rectified. And yet it seems it won't be.
Even Alex Ferguson seemed more
dumbfounded than angry. His mood may have been mellowed by humbling his nemesis
Arsene Wenger, or perhaps he was just thinking 'thank God it wasn't Rooney'.
It is often said that the powers-that-be
risk undermining referees' authority
if they keep reversing their decisions retrospectively. Well, nothing
undermines Rosetti like the possibility that his blatant error might be
compounded by UEFA upholding Fletcher's
In any case, it once again
demonstrates the need for video technology such as that used in... oh, every
other major sport. If it's good
enough for cricket, rugby, tennis and every US sport, it is surely good enough
Now, there is always a chance that
UEFA might change the ruling anyway. After all, they caved in to an epic level
of Liverpudlian whingeing in 2005 and allowed Rafa Benitez's side in to defend their title.
But you can't
help feeling the whole farrago could have been avoided if UEFA employed one
bloke whose only job was to say: "That was a rubbish decision, change
- - -
Joey Barton has no apparent
redeeming features, but perhaps the worst aspect of his latest indiscretion is
the sheer vitriol he stirs up in Joe Public.
Early Doors trawled through the
user comments on yesterday's story
announcing his suspension by Newcastle and waded straight into what a tabloid
newspaper would no doubt call an 'orgy
Barely a single contributor
managed to have their say without blurting out the words 'thug', 'scum' or 'aminal'.
The standard suggestion was a life
ban from football, while others proposed that he be bussed straight back to
Strangeways or inserted directly into a filthy gutter.
Any comments attempting to stick
up for Barton - or even mitigate the criticism - quickly accumulated so many
thumbs down they disappeared from view.
Later on Tuesday afternoon, Danny
Murphy gave his views in a column for this site entitled 'Don't crucify Barton'
suggesting that, while he has brought this situation on himself and deserves
the criticism levelled at him by Alan Shearer, he should have the chance to
Never has the claim that
a man should not be nailed to a
cross and left to die created such a ruckus. Not since biblical times, anyway.
Some chump called Ken A weighed in with a grammatically-priceless opening gambit,
slamming Murphy for daring to show a bit of human compassion: "murphy your
a idiot how many chances does he want please keep away from liverpool"
That pretty much set a tone of universal condemnation and much foaming at
One thing that nobody could
explain was why they were so angry.
Was it for the tackle which,
while rash, was no worse than dozens of challenges seen every season?
Was it for the bust-up with
Shearer, about which we know only what we were told on the back pages of Tuesday's Sun?
Was it for his previous
misdemeanours, for which we have all had plenty of opportunity to vent our
would Barton provoke a reaction every bit as violent, malicious and spiteful as
anything he has ever done?
ED suspects envy that a young and
largely horrible man has made millions from playing football and still can't control his violent, antagonistic tendencies.
And maybe there were a few
self-esteem issues at work - people desperate to denigrate somebody who they
could easily identify as being worse than them.
Whatever, it was a horribly
undignified spectacle, with many people exhibiting precisely the same wild-eyed
bloodlust that caused Barton to beat up an innocent teenager in the street or
attack a team-mate in training.
In the infamous BrassEye special
of 2001, a spoof news programme throws a paedophile to a baying mob, who
promptly rip him limb from limb. ED fears Barton would suffer the same fate.
Joey Barton gallery of hate (unedited version)
fred.bell: Like most views on this story I can only agree that
this guy is beyond help. He should be declared unemployable. And then watch
him descend into the gutter from whence he came.
trentbridge47: don't think there is enough therapy in the world for
take the loss and nobody with a bit of common sense buys him. but i guarantee
one of the promoted teams does probally birmingham
that would be a great midfield with bowyer just needs fred west and peter
sutcliffe and Fritzell from Austria
carl.john64: if a dog had behaved
the way barton has recently it would be put down as a danger,it is a pitty we
can not do that. with his violent nature on and of the playing field the @#$%
should be sacked and banned from football for life
Barton is a disgusting horrible piece of work. This suspension is long
overdue. The guy should be kicked out never to return. Earning the sort of
money a footballer earns should be a privilege and this guy is sub-human and
certainly doesn't deserve it. He is
bad through and through. Goodbye and good riddance I say.
abbot59: Sack him, then no other club should touch him. Let
the scumbag disappear into oblivion. The @#$% is evil, its in his blood.
Dannystewart84: I hope Joey
Barton gets lynched- absolute scum! I would punch him in the face if I ever
saw him in the street.
Bryanrichardson: I GOT A
PHOTOGRAPH OF HIM CUTTING GRASS DURING HIS COMMUNITY SERVICE I THEN SNAPPED
HIM BEING DROPPED OFF AT A BETTING SHOP WHILE THE REST OF HIS FELLOW
CRIMINALS WAITED IN THIER PUNISHMENT VAN , SICKENING
Seanjnr: He should not be left
near anybody .... "SOLITARY CONFINEMENT FOR LIFE" ... full stop !
- - -
HEADLINES OF THE DAY. NOT
The Sun: Ro-Man Emperor
Daily Mirror: Show me the way to go Rome!
Daily Express: Cristiano Rome-aldo
Daily Mail: Rome-aldo
Star: Ron's Rome 'n
the final again?
FOREIGN VIEW: 'Yes, Barca!'
That is the best headline El Mundo Deportivo can come up with ahead of Barcelona's
trip to Stamford Bridge. They're
playing an English team, see?
COMING UP: Chelsea
v Barcelona kicks off at 19:45 UK
time and we're doing the full works
once again. ED suspects it will be a good one.