There are stories circulating today that the Lord Wenger said after the coin and bottle throwing in Spain yesterday, that UEFA will investigate and make the right decision.
It seems a curious thing to say, and if he did, then for once I shall ask permission (very politely) to disagree with the sainted Lord.
There was tons of material (well all right, not quite tons, but quite a bit) thrown at Cesc. It was difficult to see if there was any action taken to find out who did it, and once Cesc had played at being rubbish collector, the game went on.
The question is what do the authorities do? In Spain racist abuse is dealt with through a fine to the club of around £7000, and it seems more than likely that this offence will be dealt with in a similar manner.
Problem is, the behaviour of the authorities in England is not much to talk about either. When J Carragher picked up a coin at Highbury and threw it at people in the crowd he got banned for 3 matches. Not banned from Highbury for life, as would have happened to anyone else caught, but from playing football for three games.
The fact is that throwing a coin at a player is extremely dangerous and should be stopped by giving clubs severe punishments. It is hard to imagine it happening at the Ems because of the distance between the pitch and the front row of the crowd (one of the reasons why the ground is designed that way). But in little grounds like that last night (and indeed at the new Tiny Tott ground) where the pitch bumps into the front row of the stand, it is easy.
But no matter how wrong throwing a coin at a player is, the reverse is much worse. The coin thrower in the crowd mostly doesn’t hit the target, but the coin thrower like Carragher, on the pitch, who aims at the crowd is bound to hit someone. That is why it is so much worse.
Carragher should have been banned from entering any football ground for life – or at least banned from Highbury for life. But he wasn’t – just as I suspect that bugger all will be done about the people involved last night.
As for the game, wasn’t it good to see a team that came out and attacked us, playing the ball to feet, looking for style and dynamism at the same time? They had more shots than we did – which is a rarity – and it made for such a great game of football.
I rarely make it to away games in Europe because of work commitments (since the bankers destroyed capitalism I am having to work double hard and my offer of two dead sheep and a guitar case in exchange for an airline ticket didn’t work) so had to watch it on Disastrous ITV – and there was one strange moment at the start of part 2 when the Lord Wenger was seen chewing or eating. Most unusual.
Anyway, Ade has clearly got his form back after the injury, we got two more injuries which is about par for the course, Fabianski is as we were starting to think, a very good keeper, and New Theo is a most extraordinary player to behold.
I rather enjoyed my night in. Except I seem to have dropped my watch down the back of the sofa.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009