Oh dear. It seems Manchester City are up to their old tricks and disrespecting football once more. This time, it’s manager Pep Guardiola who is the latest in the blue camp to spark some faux outrage.
On Saturday lunchtime, Guardiola committed the most heinous crime of celebrating a goal for his side. That’s it. String him up and hang his body upside down from the Premier League headquarters. How dare he celebrate a goal, who does he think he is?
Of course, it wasn’t just that was it? His celebrations just happened to coincide with two Liverpool players, Kostas Tsimikas and Arthur Melo, walking through Pep’s technical area. On first glance, I thought it was Nunez in front, but then remembered that he’s avoided going into boxes all season and wasn’t about to start now.
So, when Pep shook the hand of Melo, it prompted a huge backlash from fans of the perpetually offended club, shouting disrespect and lacking class.
Disrespect and lacking class! This is from the supporters who sent bricks and bottles flying at City’s team bus prior to a Champions League clash. This is from supporters who launched pint pots of coins at kids in the stands below. This is from the supporters who cry, whinge and moan about ticket allocations being reduced, yet vacate the ground with 15 minutes remaining!
But Pep celebrating his team’s goal has not only triggered them, but provoked a bizarre media response, with Pep being asked if he was being disrespectful. Pep, of course in his usual way, dismissed the questions by giving a half-arsed ‘sorry,’ which is his own unique way of telling the journalist to f*** off!
And, to make it worse, You’ve then got Rio Ferdinand saying he was surprised Tsimikas didn’t shove Guardiola out of the way. There we have it. A former footballer advocating violence. That’s just the Rio Ferdinand way and we’re glad that he’s not a manager with that sort of attitude. The former United man’s words make it seem like Melo showed a huge amount of restraint to stop him from acting, when in fact, he was just being a grown-up, something Ferdinand could learn from. You only have to look at his reaction in 2011 when Mario Balotelli wound him up after the FA Cup semi-final. His response to a bit of goading, and that’s all it was, is to react violently. And he thinks he’s a role model in the game?
While Tsimikas ignored Pep’s hand as he held it out, Arthur took it and had a brief chat with the City boss. What was said is between them, but what the two players did was the grown-up thing to do and not resort to the childish petulance that Ferdinand encourages. If they couldn’t accept a grown man celebrating not only his team scoring, but a well-worked team goal, then maybe they shouldn’t have crossed into the technical area in the first place. But their reaction compared to Ferdinand’s show that the latter’s presence on the field is not missed in the slightest yet continues to steal a living from his form of ‘punditry.’ That wouldn’t be missed either.
Liverpool Fans Offended Once Again
It’s not the first time Liverpool fans have been offended by an opposing team and it won’t be the last. Next week, it’ll be something different when they face Arsenal. Gunners fans may sing about being top of the league, which is sure to spark some anger, considering the gap in points between the two.
The thing about the perpetually offended is that they seem to think that what they do is okay, but cry when they get the same treatment. These are the supporters who are quite happy to make hand gestures or verbally abuse City players throughout the match, yet take to social media to pour out their sob stories once they get a bit of it back.
Over the weekend, I’ve seen many posts on Twitter stating that ‘the whole stadium sang an offensive song,’ yet many of the blues who went didn’t hear any such chanting. But it’s okay when they sing about Munich to United. Oh, that’s perfectly fine, crack on.
The fact is, goading and winding up opposing fans is part and parcel of the game. It’s a bit of fun. I remember one match against Notts County at Maine Road. One rather large County fan got a lot of stick, something about eating a lot of pies and having characteristics similar to that of Friar Tuck. What did this lad do? Laughed and waved his belly at us. If that was the perpetually offended club, they’d be trying to get all our ten fans banned for life.
Of course, singing about tragedies is abhorrent and I’m so pleased that City fans stopped doing that to United many years ago. I’m aware that some still refer to it but are very often silenced. That sort of abuse is not acceptable and never will be.
Guardiola Will Not Face Charges
The FA have confirmed that no charges will be made against Guardiola for his actions, but what could they have charged him with? Here’s a possible list:
- Excessive jumping or jumping more than an inch off the ground before 5pm
- Raising his arms above the Premier League regulated height for bald Spaniards
- Smiling/presenting any form of facial expression that indicates happiness
- Excessive delight
- Being present in his own technical area
- Celebrating a goal against Liverpool
- Failing to make his technical area a safe thoroughfare for opposing players
- Allowing Alvarez to score while Liverpool subs were crossing the technical area
- Allowing Alvarez to score
- Not asking the FA/Premier League’s permission to celebrate
- Being bald
- Being Spanish
- Being bald and Spanish
Was what he did really so bad that it generated such an outcry?
I’ll be accused of being biased here, but what Pep did was no more disrespectful than when Sir Alex Ferguson ran onto the pitch in celebration when United beat Sheffield Wednesday in 1993. Or when David Pleat hopped across the Maine Road pitch after Luton’s 1-0 win in 1987. And Jurgen Klopp isn’t exactly a saint when it comes to over-the-top celebrations. The fact is, people celebrate and let their emotions run wild. If he’d gone over to the Liverpool dugout, dropped his pants and shoved his arse in Klopp’s face, then we’d have an issue, but that’s not what he did and now I have to try and get that image out of my head. He reacted to his immediate surroundings and it just so happened that Tsimikas and Melo were in the area.
But it’s amazing how Pep’s celebration hit the headlines. We know how mad he can be at times. We know he eats, sleeps and breathes football and when his team produces an amazing goal, he has the right to celebrate how he wants. Pep really did nothing wrong, and to scrutinise it in this manner is way beyond ridiculous. We know it’s a deflecting tactic to hide the fact that Liverpool were poor on Saturday and were rightly thrashed. It’s a typical response and one that’s been used time and again. And the media continue to peddle it en masse. After all, we’re not the darlings of the British media, are we?
If we continue to pander towards this sort of behaviour, if we forbid managers from celebrating in this sort of fashion, and if we stop supporters from chanting and goading the opposition, then we may as well give the game up.
In North Korea, supporters sit in the stands and when a goal is scored, there’s no reaction. Just a bit of appreciative applause. No celebrating, no cheering, no chanting. Just silence.
Is that really the direction we want our game to go in?