Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Good luck to the City boys tonight. I'm pleased to say that KK 182 is at the printers and should be out for the game at Blackpool on Sunday. However a couple of articles, which should keep, had to be left over for the next issue, and this one from Howard won't be topical by then so here it is for your perusal:

During the early stages of the Manchester City v Newcastle match, Ben Arfa suffered a double break of his leg.
As a result of this, Nigel De Jong should be drummed out of the game. Not my words, but those of incisive analyst and shock-jock Stanley Collymore.
After City’s 2-1 over Newcastle, Collymore took it upon himself to launch into a personal hatchet job on De Jong. He even resorted to a photo of the tackle to try and prove his point. Yeah, that will tell us all we need to know Stan.
The problem with his approach was that it was a clean tackle. No one around me in the crowd thought it was a foul at the time. He clearly wins the ball, without showing any studs or raising a leg. The referee was fine with it. No Newcastle players complained (the most telling fact of all). And it took over 10 seconds and a foul on a City player before anyone realised Ben Arfa was injured. David Pleat thought he had dislocated his shoulder. Even Match of The Day barely mentioned it. And, for the record, Collymore saw nothing wrong with it at the time either-fancy that eh?
I’ve heard a few say that there was no need for the challenge. What? There’s no need for tackling, or to challenge for a loose ball? Let’s just ban tackling altogether, and be done with it.
Of course, we are talking about a player with a “reputation”. The simple fact is, if that challenge had been done by, for example, Gareth Barry, there’d be less uproar in the media, and Collymore et al would probably have had little to say. But it wasn’t – but what De Jong did in the World Cup Final is irrelevant, he may throw cats off bridges to wind down after matches, it doesn’t matter, he should be judged on the tackle, and the tackle alone. And it seems only those with an agenda have a problem with it.
Football365.com and such luminaries as Mark Ogden over at The Telegraph fell into this trap. Ogden used past discrepancies to hit back at those that have defended the De Jong tackle. They just don’t get it, do they? The same stupid argument as to why Joe Cole shouldn’t have been sent off against Arsenal, because, unlike De Jong, he “isn’t that sort of player”. It simply does not matter when assessing the Ben Arfa tackle is De Jong has broken an opposition player’s leg in the previous 25 games.
You see, it’s the ignorance of pundits who decide on consequence not actions that annoys me most. When discussing De Jong’s tackle, the broken leg is irrelevant. That is down to pure bad luck. Either it was a bad tackle or it wasn’t. As I have said before, a crude tackle can result in no injury, an innocuous challenge can rupture cruciate ligaments – that is the lottery of life. But the fact is, if Ben Arfa had sprung up uninjured, none of us would have been talking about this now. No one would be criticising De Jong. Lee Dixon would probably have used the tackle in a montage to show how he broke up play effectively. But because of a freak injury, suddenly it is decided that the tackle is now upgraded to some sort of assault. What absolute drivel.
Of course the repugnant Alan Green had to get involved and agreed with Collymore – he said the FA could now ban De Jong as he wasn’t booked at the time. Sorry to disappoint you Alan, but there will be no ban – you see the reason he wasn’t booked at the time is that he won the ball fairly, and I don’t think the FA ban players for that. I know you’re hurting at Liverpool’s spiral into oblivion, but please don’t take it out on City. And due to Sky Sports News 24-hour coverage of a waterlogged golf course in Wales, we may be spared them replaying the incident on a constant loop until the FA feel inclined to act.
Collymore’s stance is slightly more understandable. In his role on Talksport, like every other DJ on there, his job is to say something controversial or usually just plain stupid, to get calls coming in, to raise revenue (he has denied this on twitter, but either way, the shows rely on controversy and people ringing in). And he had a show on after the match, so he thought this would be a good way to get the lines buzzing.
And yet he has the nerve to criticise how others do their job - you really do have to laugh sometimes. But thankfully most City fans had better things to do than listen to his pathetic rants, and his cunning plan failed. It’s funny how Stan thought he could criticise the Match of The Day pundits when clearly so incapable of incisive analysis himself. Let’s not forget that after England’s World Cup exit, one of Stan’s solutions was that every Premiership club should have to play five attacking players every game BY LAW. And as Martin Samuel kindly pointed out, Stan’s suggestions for replacements on the Match of The Day panel just happened to consist of a group of his mates. How very convenient.
Sadly, De Jong’s national manager decided to take matters into his own hands, and remove De Jong from the Dutch squad. Funny how he didn’t take this decision after earlier controversial tackles by De Jong in his national shirt, or remove Van Bommel, the dirtiest of all Dutch players – but then, unlike Van Bommel, De Jong isn’t married to the national manager’s daughter. And adding extra pressure was the Dutch media who have long called for De Jong’s removal from the squad, as he doesn’t fit into their ethos of total football. Perhaps it’s about time they stopped living in the past.
De Jong is no saint. He plays hard, very hard, and is open to criticism, and man enough to take it. He has made some bad tackles, most notably a leg-breaking foul on Stuart Holden six months ago, he has made some mistakes, he has set his stall out as a certain type of player, and he will rise or fall by that. But please let’s not allow pre-conceived ideas of a person to cloud analysis of individual incidents on the football field. Leave that to Talksport.
Howard Hockin


  1. Well argued Howard, but far too constructive for Talksport to digest.
    Of the last five City red cards,three of them have been for retaliation against Stoke. We haven't argued and most City supporters were more annoyed with Adebayor than the Stoke approach after our FA Cup defeat last season.
    However, the following Saturday, Stoke adopted the same physical approach against Arsenal, culminating in a broken leg for Aaron Ramsay.
    Talksport to a man, defended Ryan Shawcross and belittled Arsene Wenger for correctly asserting that opponents deliberately kicked lumps out of his players,(City and United were both guilty last season)
    Sorry Mr Collymore, but you can't pick and choose your incidents. You either ban sliding tackles or you accept that every now and then, somebody will get hurt, either from a mistimed challenge, a malicious tackle, or a trailing leg.
    As for the "De Jong's got previous" arguement, watch a DVD of Tim CAhill elbowing Garrido in the face straight from the kick off last season and compare it with Tim Cahill elbowing Vidic in the face straight from the kick off when United drew 3-3 earlier this month.
    Kholarov and Balatelli are both currently injured due to silly challenges from opponents. Perhaps City should sue Spurs and Timisoara

  2. I wish this stroy would hurry up and run its course. I was listening when Collybore originally aired his opinion. A Clty fan phoned in at the time and complained that Collymore was trying to start a witch hunt against NDJ, which he denied. He obviously hoped that the BBC MotD would back him up and must have been surprised when Alan Hansen and Lee Dixon both argued that “it was a tackle that had to be made” Some of his colleagues also disagree with him such as Alan Brazil who is upset at being called a dinosaur for not criticising the tackle. The football world certainly seems to be splitting into two camps on this one and if the experts can’t agree, how is a judge who has probably never seen a game going to make a decision. I wonder if there would have been quite the fuss if Wayne Rooney had made that tackle. I have seen the incident many times now and I am still of the opinion of when I first saw it. It was hard and as Neil says, no worse than many, many other challenges I have seen over the years, but on a par with Keane's assault on Haaland? No chance and worthy of all the fuss? I don't think so. If any incident deserved the outrage and bile now being spat in our direction, it was that one. WWhere was Collymore then - beating up Ulrika ka ka ka probably.

  3. Howard's article for me,exemplifies the reasoned arguments we try to put forward on this forum and while I do not want to appear as a spokesman for others, I do feel that most contributors would be honest enough to admit that if the tackle was a bad foul then we would have admitted as much,despite a passion for our club,I am always impressed by the honesty and fairness of the contributors. Presenting a reasoned argument takes a certain degree of skill,and does not sell papers or get phone lines jingling,and as Howard pointed out Mr.Collymore is not exactly a paragon of moral integrity
    I worked as a "messenger boy" at the Daily Express in the 70's, and as an example of the level of cynicism I can recall on one quiet evening a sub editor saying to a colleague "what we need is a good disaster",the phrase comes to mind often when a journalist tries to claim the moral high ground.

  4. Here's how to get a headline out of nothing. First you ring a players agent mention a few clubs to him and say "at any point in the future can you see your client playing for this/these clubs" the agent will say "I could never rule out my client playing for this club" and Voilla you have the headline."BALOTELLI AGENT REFUSES TO RULE OUT NAPOLI MOVE". Could we exoect anything less from the Mirror.
    I may ring up the Prime Minister and ask him if he thinks there is any chance of aliens landing on Earth in the next 10,000 years just so I can have the headline.

  5. I remember the Mirror ridiculing City after the Mansfield Autoglass farce in 1998. There hasn't been a single copy of the Mirror in my house ever since.