Sometimes I think Steven Howard is just a mythical character, created by the demons at The Sun to fulfil an antagonistic role that no credible journalist could ever occupy.
Here are some choice highlights from Howard’s write-up of yesterday Chelsea/United game:
Enter the clod-hopping Clattenburg in the 63rd minute.
OK, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt over the first red card that reduced Chelsea to 10 men. Not that I want to.
But people keep banging on about how rules are rules and if a forward (Ashley Young) bites the dust when pursued by a defender (Branislav Ivanovic) and if that defender is the last defender even though contact is minimal then… on yer bike, son.
Learn the rules. There’s nothing about ‘the last man’, that’s a lazy misconception – the rule predicates that ‘denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity’ warrants a red card. And ‘benefit of the doubt’? Sorry, but unless someone punches the ball off their own line, you won’t see a more clear cut red card all season.
Yet there should be some leeway for refs in ‘last defender’ situations where there is neither shirt-tugging, tripping or anything out of the pages of the ‘Sly Art of Defending’.
Perhaps, in cases like this, there should be a case for just a yellow.
In cases like what? We all – everybody who watches football – bemoan the lack of refereeing consistency, so you really can’t adjust the rules for the sake of a spectacle, that’s an incredibly naive way of approaching this. You suspect, also, that Howard’s opinion might be a little different had Rio Ferdinand been the protagonist rather than Branislav Ivanovic – there’s not even an attempt here to be impartial.
This is the kind of opinion you’d expect on a Chelsea forum, not a national newspaper.
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