Going to Ground, Going to Hell

Discussion in 'Football Forum' started by Nani Nana, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Nov 22, 2009
    #1

    Nani Nana Full Member

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    [​IMG]

    by Plechazunga

    In last week's Over the Bar podcast, peterstorey reminisced about his own playing days, which conjured up images of a younger, Cockneyer, longer-haired, tighter-shortsed, but still identifiably narked-off pete, muttering "wanker" at opponents, officials and passing investment bankers. He also pointed out, correctly, that going down easily has always been a way for strikers to fight back against the defenders who spend the game kicking clods out of them.

    The surprisingly non-thick Perry Groves made the same point on Radio 5 the other night. But even though he explicitly introduced "making the most of a challenge" as a way of countering fouls - as the foul's complementary opposite - he refused to admit that it too was a form of cheating. This is an increasingly common attitude, I think: to regard diving as cheating, and 'making the most of it' as canny, 'professional', maybe even cynical, but nevertheless acceptable.

    As a result, the notion of contact has been turned into a shibboleth, a dividing line between cheating and fair play. You hear it constantly from fans and pundits - like Groves, who said, roughly, "If you feel that contact, you're within your rights to go down". This is wrong - both technically and morally... like boning a coconut in an attempt to father an unusually hairy baby.

    First technically, as contact is mentioned nowhere in the laws (anymore). It is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for a challenge to be a foul: you can foul a player without contact (like coming Cattermoling in without getting the ball and making him hurdle you); and you can touch a player without fouling him (as happens all the time in the rustle and bustle and hustle and tussle and muscle and general kerfuffle of a contact sport).

    Of course, most fouls do involve contact, and that makes it a helpful criterion for referees in deciding whether a player dived or was tripped. If a player falls and the referee sees no contact, that makes it likelier - though still not certain - that it was a dive. But that's the significance of contact from the referee's point of view - a useful piece of evidence to help him decide whether what he just saw was a tackle, trip, slip or dive. What it doesn't mean is that as a player, as soon as you feel contact a foul has by definition taken place, and it's therefore okay to fall over.

    To do so is morally wrong, for two reasons. First, plainly, it's a form of lying. It's a gesture that says: "that challenge brought me down?, when in fact it didn't, or not as dramatically. Of course being fouled is frustrating and unjust, but as a sportsman it's not your job to judge wrongs, or right wrongs, or ensure wrongs are perceived as such by the ref. It's your job to do your very best to get past the challenge in good faith (unless that involves high risk of injury).

    Second, falling over actually robs contact of its value as evidence. It?s like an assault case, where the victim is left with a black eye. The black eye is certainly admissible evidence - even though it's possible to be punched without getting a black eye (I once got floored by a bloke... no, we're trying not to lie here... I once got floored by a girl half my size, without getting a black eye). But if there were no social stigma around walking into a doorknob to make sure you got visible proof - to the extent that most assault victims did so as a matter of course and not doing so was regarded as stupid - then pretty soon black eyes would no longer be of any use as evidence of assault: that aspect of the system would have broken down.

    Of course, in the scale of moral wrong it?s not exactly genocide. We have all done it, football is a competitive and high-stakes game, and just as we'll never get rid of fouling, we?ll never eradicate "going down easily", "making the most of it", "playing for the foul", or any of the other styles and shades of simulation. The problem is that these - except outright diving, which in this country is still generally looked down on - are too oftenjustified as just another element of the striker's tool-kit. Here?s an example from a Caf thread of standard praise for this behaviour :
    Brilliant play from [fantastic striker]. He knew he had no chance of getting the ball and beating the GK and defender. He did what every striker is taught to do, toe poke the ball and go down on contact from the GK. He played for the penalty, and [rubbish goalkeeper, who resembles, if such a thing exists, an Amish pimp] obliged.

    If going down easily is wrong, praising it is worse.Someone once said that while a society without liars is unimaginable, so is a society in which lying isn't deprecated. Such a society would fall apart, and that's what's in danger of happening to football when cheating is tolerated, legitimated and even celebrated by respected voices in the game, and David Pleat.
  2. Nov 22, 2009
    #2

    Count Duckula Banned

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    Hang on, didn't Plech write this? I'm now very confused.
  3. Nov 22, 2009
    #3

    The Physio Full Member

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    Is the Amish pimp Alumunia?
  4. Nov 22, 2009
    #4

    Plechazunga Grammar partisan who sleeps with a real life Ryan

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    I did, but no-one could work out how I could blog it so Nani did it for me

    The thieving bastard
  5. Nov 22, 2009
    #5

    Solius Has a massive ginger bush

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    So is the peter storey on here the actual one that played for Arsenal and Fulham?
  6. Nov 22, 2009
    #6

    Plechazunga Grammar partisan who sleeps with a real life Ryan

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    Seems unlikely, but he'll have had long hair and tight shorts either way.
  7. Nov 23, 2009
    #7

    DoctorEvil Full Member

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    :lol:

    Oh, and what precisely is morally wrong boning a coconut in an attempt to father an unusually hairy baby? Is Pletch one of the founding members of SNRF (The Society for the Natural Rights of Fruit.)?
  8. Nov 23, 2009
    #8

    Snow Somewhere down the lane, a licky boom boom down

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    I do not think so that each time you go down easy you're cheating. You can be kicked over and over, have your shirt pulled again and again without the ref doing anything so once in a game when the same defender who has been multifouling you gives you a little kick you're allowed to not try your hardest at staying on your feet.

    Sometimes you can be fouled in a way that you won't go down but you momentum is out and you've lost your complete balance. Therefor letting yourself go down is justifiable when seeing that the next defender coming at you has got a good chance of getting the ball otherwise.

    The same goes when a player tries to tackle you and doesn't get you ball and you jump over his feet. That is a foul. It's an attempt to stop the man without getting the ball and the only reason the ref is not gonna blow the whistle is because the attacker jumped. If he hadn't he could've gotten injured.

    Rolling about after falling and faking an injury when you've already gotten the free kick (or if you don't) is one of the most annoying things in football. But it tends to hold hand in hand with players who go down a lot because it's like a web of lie they've spun themselves. If they do go down so often it must because they're being fouled and therefor it must hurt. They can't stop pretending now...
  9. Nov 23, 2009
    #9

    Hectic Moderator

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    :lol:

    Who am I thanking/laughing at, Plech or Nana?
  10. Nov 23, 2009
    #10

    narnar Needs Help

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    :lol: coconuts
  11. Nov 23, 2009
    #11

    narnar Needs Help

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    This annoys me as much as players going to ground, commentators and pundits covering it up or completely ignoring it. They often seem to scared to accuse anyone of it when it is glaringly obvious.
  12. Nov 23, 2009
    #12

    Nani Nana Full Member

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    Aye, me too.

    Oh and :lol: at the coconut bit
  13. Nov 23, 2009
    #13

    Mockney Not the only poster to be named Poster of the Year

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    unneeded space between the word and the :

    aesthetically, that has ruined the whole piece for me
  14. Nov 23, 2009
    #14

    theimperialinn Full Member

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    I just spat coffee over my monitor :lol:
  15. Nov 28, 2009
    #15

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    Just watching today's game on Football First and was reminded of this thread.

    Co-commentator (who is an ex-pro, not sure who exactly) on our first penalty.

    "There was contact, Rob, and that's the vital thing..."
  16. Nov 29, 2009
    #16

    surf Full Member

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    Yes, the contact is the vital thing here. Brown committed the penal foul in bold below. Without contact it is probably a yellow for Rooney.

    tackles an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with the opponent before touching the ball

    Careless play by Brown and a good decision by Dean.
  17. Nov 29, 2009
    #17

    B Cantona Desperate

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    If it was the same coverage I watched live, it was Paul Walsh, ex City
  18. Nov 29, 2009
    #18

    peterstorey Specialist In Failure

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    ... and they are lovely beyond any singing of it.
    As Plech pointed out above the rules don't say that any more.
  19. Nov 29, 2009
    #19

    Denis' cuff Full Member

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    there really is quite a bit that the rules don't say - it's down to the ref's judgement
  20. Nov 29, 2009
    #20

    surf Full Member

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    You're right. I was interpreting it in terms of the local youth league where I referee. We are still trained to use this as a guideline to foul tackles (and are very strict about two footed tackles and tackles from behind). I don't know what guidelines are given to prem referees, and they do allow more physical contact than in youth leagues, but I'd think it is still a good rule of thumb.
  21. Nov 29, 2009
    #21

    peterstorey Specialist In Failure

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    ... and they are lovely beyond any singing of it.
    Thems the old rules (which I think still work).

    - There must be contact (unless it's a psycho challenge that the guy needs to avoid).
    - Contact must be 'significant' ie not just putting the guy off balance but bringing him down
    - The player must be doing something 'significant' ie in control of the ball and not just running out to the wing
  22. Nov 29, 2009
    #22

    Plechazunga Grammar partisan who sleeps with a real life Ryan

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    I noticed that too. It's not the vital thing. The vital thing is whether the contact was strong enough to constitute a foul, which I thought was dubious.

    As I argued in the blog, the fact that Wayne is quite prone to 'going to ground too easily' makes it even harder to judge.

    Spot on, though I don't think the last clause has ever consistently been part of the way the game's judged - much as it should be.

    The key one is the second: contact must be significant. That's what the ref has to judge.
  23. Nov 29, 2009
    #23

    Wibble In Gadus Speramus

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    Surely actually putting someone off balance is an actual foul? Or at least potentially so.
  24. Nov 29, 2009
    #24

    Plechazunga Grammar partisan who sleeps with a real life Ryan

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    The onus is on the player to try to keep going though. Then the ref can decide whether he was unreasonably impeded.

    It's natural that players don't want to take the chance, but think of George Best or (in his more honest moments) Maradona riding late tackles and scoring, it's what it's all about.
  25. Nov 29, 2009
    #25

    Mockney Not the only poster to be named Poster of the Year

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    Well how about our 2nd pen yesterday then?...Giggs essentially fouled Piquionne just as much as he was fouled himself (a little push at the right moment to send his momentum carrying him beyond the ball) but managed to get the foul himself almost simply by virtue of being in the box....Now I'm not saying it wasn't a pen, I think it was, but I think Giggsy fouled Piquionne almost identically, by disrupting his intended movement forcefully. Clearly Giggs was doing something significant, but was only allowed to do so by using the same tactics to get him in that position..so, er...yeah?
  26. Nov 29, 2009
    #26

    Plechazunga Grammar partisan who sleeps with a real life Ryan

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    I couldn't tell with Giggsy's cos my stream was too shit at that point.

    Rooney's looked softish... it's revealing to hear his erm, liche, y'know, erm, post-match interview in the context of this thread.

    He says "Erm, I felt, erm, y'know I got touched and, y'know it was one of them where, erm, y'know I went down, sometimes they're given sometimes they're not, but I thought it was still a penalty."

    That implies that he genuinely thinks that if he feels someone touch him in the box, and then falls over, that makes the touch constitute a foul.
  27. Nov 29, 2009
    #27

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    Or that he thinks referees don't always spot sneaky little trips in the box.
  28. Nov 29, 2009
    #28

    Mockney Not the only poster to be named Poster of the Year

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    yeah that's a bit shit...and not something you would've expected from Rooney when he broke through...he seems to have appropriated it somehow
  29. Nov 29, 2009
    #29

    MikeUpNorth Wobbles like a massive pair of tits

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    I'm going to blame them pesky foreigners. Rooney's clearly picked the attitude up off them.
  30. Nov 29, 2009
    #30

    B Cantona Desperate

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    Again you're talking about an incident where Rooney is clearly fouled

    I won't pretend he hasn't dived in his career, and he usually does it very badly and ends up having to apologise after the game. But the focus on him particularly as a diver is a tad daft given the lengths some players will go too. Watching Barca vs Madrid earlier was bambi on ice stuff

    That's not excusing him the times he does though. I wish players would have enough professional pride not to cheat
  31. Nov 29, 2009
    #31

    MikeUpNorth Wobbles like a massive pair of tits

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    Dani Alves is the worst I'd say.
  32. Nov 29, 2009
    #32

    Plechazunga Grammar partisan who sleeps with a real life Ryan

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    Maybe. But it's noticeable he says, "I got touched and then I went down", rather than, say, "I got tripped and I went down". I think he believes that at least once you've knocked the ball past someone, any contact is foul play.
  33. Nov 29, 2009
    #33

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    True. Although he might just have been mentioning that he was definitely touched because, rightly or wrongly, it seems to be widely accepted that contact is necessary for a foul and he wanted to stress that Brown had made contact with his ankle?

    Feck knows. He's not the most articulate of blokes, not much point looking for nuances. Looked like a penalty to me though.
  34. Nov 29, 2009
    #34

    B Cantona Desperate

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    Perhaps if it's a touch on my ankles or legs

    A touch on his shoulder and I think you'd see him stay strong and try to finish when others would jump to the floor
  35. Nov 29, 2009
    #35

    Richter Hairy big footed Swede

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    Most players go down easily these days it's part of todays game. I don't get the fuss by some people when a player dives.
  36. Nov 29, 2009
    #36

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    Am I the only one on here who doesn't have a problem with attacking players being clever enough to induce defenders into a reckless challenge, then doing what they can to make sure the referee sees what's happened?

    Is it any different, morally, to the dark arts of defending which goes on at every single corner or free-kick without prompting any of this righteous indignation? The only difference being we at least get to see a goal when it's a striker being crafty, as opposed to denying them when defenders are up to their usual tricks.
  37. Nov 29, 2009
    #37

    B Cantona Desperate

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    I don't have a problem with drawing a foul. And if you've been fouled and it prevents you getting to the ball or disadvantages you, I think you have a right to make this clear to the ref

    What I can't stand is the blatant cheating. If I fall over in the area when no one has touched me, a fellow professional gets sent off as a result and my team gains a penalty... that's not football. And I hate it
  38. Nov 29, 2009
    #38

    MikeUpNorth Wobbles like a massive pair of tits

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    Seems like you want to have your cake and eat it to me Brad.
  39. Nov 29, 2009
    #39

    B Cantona Desperate

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    How so?
  40. Nov 29, 2009
    #40

    MikeUpNorth Wobbles like a massive pair of tits

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    If you're 'drawing a foul' why does it matter whether you're touched? All you want is a foul either way; you aren't trying to do anything constructive with the ball.

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