Category: Archive

Soccer Scene: F isn’t always for football

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

No doubt it goes on in most if not all the professional soccer leagues. Perhaps these leagues could follow the college league in the States where foul or abusive language is not tolerated. A few years ago college authorities decided to come down hard on the four-letter users. A yellow and sometimes a red card can be given for bad language.
However in the EPL for example we can see players cursing a lot in front of the referee. We often see a full on F-word thrown at a lineman, flavored with some nice adjectives. Referees, spectators and the public in general empathize with the players’ frustration and accept foul language. However, it would be interesting to know how many professional players used foul language growing up in their homes — in front of their parents that is.
There is a lot to be said for controlling bad language. But if the coaches are using it then the players will do so on the field.
It seems a miniscule thing at first glance for those who can accept
it. However not using abusive language forces players and coaches to be more disciplined with their impulsive frustrations. More control would follow that little burst of anger.
Curtailing this language may never happen. But if it did it could clean up the image of the game, if not, it would at least keep clean the ears of young fans.
The cameras were in the tunnel for the Arsenal vs. Manchester United game of mammoth proportion on Feb. 1. There was no shortage of beeps over the air as things heated up between captains Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira. As the Fs echoed around the tunnel, the name “Roy” could be heard. Patrick Vieira made his way to the front of the players looking a little nervous; looking like a little boy who had just messed with the wrong man. Sucking on his water bottle Vieira dispatched
himself from the claustrophobic tunnel. Dennis Bergkamp came after him, put his arm around the big Frenchman’s shoulder and spoke some perhaps calming words into his ear.
Within seconds Roy Keane barged his way towards Vieira and called the
big man out. The referee was between Keane and Vieira and did a great job to control the situation. But for a moment or two Keane huffed and puffed, his nostrils flared. Vieira had barked up the wrong tree. Seemingly coming in after the game warm-up Vieira was going at Gary Neville who in turn told his teammates. As both teams merged into the tunnel for the kick-off Keane made his move on Arsenal’s captain. It was intense. Keane looked like he wanted to face up to his opponent but Vieira didn’t go there.
The video of the tussle in the tunnel was all over the Internet and
emails were coming in at a rapid pace right after the game. “Keane 1 Viera 0” was actually very funny and spot on but “The Nacker from Cork” was hilarious.
Hopefully Mr. Keane sees the funny side of that one — wouldn’t want to upset the man at the moment now would we? Out onto the field they went and the two greatest midfield generals in English football, and perhaps the world for that matter, did not shake hands.
Within 10 minutes, Vieira showed his class as he muscled his way into the 6-yard box, held off Gabriel Heinze and notched one, to put Arsenal into the lead. It looked like the lanky, intelligent footballer was taking over and he would have the last laugh. But under the influence of the irreplaceable Roy Keane, United fought back and won the game 4-2. “Keane 1 Vieira 0” summed the day up.
The next time the explosive captains meet could be the Champions League or better still in the 2006 World Cup qualifier in Lansdowne Road. A long way to go indeed, but Keane will not be the only one that France must contain. Irish players excelled over the weekend in the EPL and expectation for their chances to qualify for Germany’s WC is rising rapidly.
Robbie Keane came off the bench for Spurs and scored a superb goal against Portsmouth. Fellow Irishman and new Spurs teammate Andy Reid lifted a through ball into Keane’s path. The forward did very well shielding the ball away from the oncoming defender. Then in a moment of genius, which he is capable of, Keane lobbed the ball over the Portsmouth keeper. Keane’s trademark flashed once again, nobody saw it coming except Robbie himself. Question is can he do it against the
big guns, the likes of France?
Back-up forward for the Republic, Gary Doherty, also got on the score
sheet for Norwich, who beat West Brom 3-2 in the relegation battle. At 2-1 down the big central defender made his way forward. He bulldozed his way into the box and beat two of his own teammates to the ball for the equalizing header. Not a bad substitute to have in the dying minutes of WC games.
Doherty has scored before for Ireland. He brings a big physical presence to the Irish forward line. He may struggle to get in the Irish backline with the form Richard Dunne is showing of late. Dunne, the big 6′ 2″ defender, played his part in holding Chelsea to a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge. The Dubliner admitted that consistency is Manchester City’s main problem in the league. “When it comes to the bigger teams we do very well,” Dunne said. “But against smaller clubs we are not consistent,” he concluded. If City manages a few wins on the trot, Kevin Keegan may have to reconsider his retirement plans for next year. As do most managers who claim they’ve had enough.
So Irish players are looking good these days in both attack and defense while Shay Given still pulls out some incredible performances here and there. The Irish faithful couldn’t ask for better preparation as finales to the season close in. Can Keane lift silverware for United? Can Damien Duff win a title for Chelsea? Can Robbie Keane make Europe with Spurs? There’s a lot to play for and no
doubt we’ll hear the F word again and again as the stakes get higher.

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