Filed: Wednesday, 6th October 1999
By: Graeme Howlett
Three games since the last report; wins against Osijek and Arsenal plus defeat at Coventry.
Patrick Vieira. Well, if I've ever seen anything like that before on a football pitch then it escapes me. Already sent off for (at least) two bad fouls he felt it necessary to petulantly launch a mouthful of spit at Razor Ruddock (perfectly captured by the Match of the Day cameras). And then he had the good sense to attack a police officer in the tunnel. Well I for one hope they throw the dirty bastard out of the game.
In my opinion our game has suffered irrepairable damage over the last few years thanks to the introduction of new laws virtually making the tackle extinct. Now any slightly mistimed or over enthusiastic challenge is punished with a booking, or at the very least a stern talking to. We saw the ridiculous dismissal of Steve Staunton at Villa on Saturday, plus the sending offs of Westerveld and Jeffers for what amounted to little more than handbags at ten paces. What the likes of Billy Bonds and Ron Harris make of it all I shudder to think.
As a result we've got players diving left, right and centre, and others holding up imaginary cards in an effort to get other players cautioned. I know many blame the influx of foreign players into our game for this, but let's be honest - they're all as bad as each other. As anyone watching Martin Keown going down like he was shot in an effort to get Paul Kitson in trouble on Sunday will testify.
But cheating is one thing - what Vieira did to Ruddock was nothing short of despicable. Spitting is one of the most filthy, disgusting acts there is. Absolutely no excuse whatsoever. Then, to compound it all, he allegedly wallops a copper in the tunnel on the way to the dressing room! Big man eh...
Without wishing to come over all Margaret Thatcher (at all thanks) I'd like to see Vieira banged up for a few months. Over the top? Maybe, but at least it would serve to remind him that he he isn't above the law. Whatever, it's out of the hands of the FA now - let's hope the police have the good sense to act appropriately and do the bastard.
What players like Vieira and (to a lesser extent) David Beckham need to remember is that, like it or not, they are role models to millions of youngsters worldwide. Influencial kids, who copy their idols every move. What sort of messages are they sending out? That spitting, and attacking the police is acceptable behaviour?
If Arsenal have got any sense they'll fine him too. But to be honest I think that's going to be the least of Vieira's worries ...
Still - bloody good result wasn't it ?!?
NB. As I write I learn that Vieira has been charged by the FA with misconduct and improper behaviour during Sunday's game.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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