Gerrard goes to ground ‘too easily’

The BBC:

“Gerrard received a measure of criticism for going to ground too easily in the area at Blackburn last Saturday”

A bit of an understatement, watch the video. The issue was also glossed over in Match Of The Day. I haven’t seen any newspaper make much of it, despite The Daily Mail promising to ‘name and shame’ divers.

And they have with N’gog and Eduardo. However, they have not with Rooney (against Villa or against Arsenal*), Young or as mentioned Gerrard. Admittedly N’gog and Eduardo actually got penalties for their stunts and the others did not (although Rooney did in the England/Slovenia game), but surely cheating is cheating if it works or not? And the Mail’s campaign didn’t mention that they were only going after those who got the penalty.

So, I guess it is more a ‘name and shame foreign divers in big teams‘ campaign. (Unless they are Drogba. That isn’t really news.)

This isn’t really an attack on Rooney or Gerrard, they are both great players and honestly nearly every player does it sometimes. It is an attack on the media.

Honestly, the terrible standards of football journalism, the lack of knowledge from the commentators (Have they ever even read the rules? Today one claimed you can still get a penalty if the ball is out of play) and even the lack of knowledge of the managers and players. (Take the Sunderland/Liverpool beach ball incident. Surely they have read You Are The Ref? Well, apparently anybody who knows the rules is ‘sad’ according to Bruce.)

It is interesting that if you want decent football information and news, you have to look beyond the newspapers (except The Guardian, maybe) and to the Internet.

* By looking at the video, you can see it was a dive, although to be fair if he hadn’t dived it probably would have been a penalty. Although technically, according to the rules, the first infringement should be awarded (which is the dive). It probably isn’t the worst of crimes but also probably deserves a mention in the media.

Edit (Dec 15): The Times have a good article on it. I particularly like the part which talks about Bellemy’s second yellow card for ‘diving’, when in fact he was fouled:

Should the Watford-born Robinson, whose career has featured many slightly late tackles, have taken the advice of those who wished Thierry Henry had gone to the referee of the France-Ireland World Cup play-off and confessed to handling?

More surprisingly, The Sun have an article on it too. BBC Radio 5live spoke about it too, which perhaps makes up for their lack of analysis on MOTD. I have recorded the segment here:

Rooney’s Dive being discussed on BBC Radio 5live

Edit (30 Dec ’09): The Guardian nicely sums this up:

Diving has continued to be the most divisive – and perhaps only – non‑negotiable point of honour in British football. Arsenal’s Eduardo da Silva was banned for two matches (later rescinded) for falling too easily against Celtic. But happily for the domestic game it turns out this is a failing limited entirely to overseas players, as proved conclusively by the lack of similar frothing indignation directed at Wayne Rooney, whose brief dizzy spell and stumble accidently won a penalty for England against Slovenia.


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