Date: 15th September 2009 at 4:42pm
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One of the most notorious incidents involving a Manchester City player happened when Roy Keane shattered Alfe-Inge Haaland’s knee in 2001. Fast forward to 2009…

As top flight English football continues to move towards a time when it will have to become a none body contact sport if it is to avoid the barrel scraping hack fuelled hysteria we’ve seen in the past few days, it’s worth taking a snapshot back in time in this Manchester derby week to see how attitudes to the game and the punishments meted out have evolved, or failed to.

Royston Vasey Keane, who spoke out in support of Emmanuel Adebayor this week was charged a pisspoor £5,000 and received a 3 match ban for the shocking challenge that ended Haaland’s football career at the swamp. Many people often think that his ban was far more severe, but that only became the case a year later when Keane revealed in his biography that the attack was pre-meditated. He chillingly wrote:

‘I’d waited long enough. I f****** hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that, you c***.’

The Ipswich Town manager was then immediately fined by a Football Association playing catch up and banned for 5 more games with a £150,000 fine while Haaland slipped into retirement.

Contrast that episode with the strong likelihood of Adebayor receiving the self same three match ban for his reaction to Robin Van Persie’s lunge last Saturday.

Furthermore, Adebayor had offered an apology to van Persie before the dutchman went to the press. Mark Hughes explained: ‘Emmanuel strongly maintains that there was no malice intended in the challenge on Robin van Persie and apologised to him when he hugged him on leaving the field of play at the end of the game.’

Is Adebayor really as evil as Piers Morgan and his Arsenal mates make out he is?

With Keane in mind, look back to only last season when the hapless FA banned Shaun Wright-Phillips on video evidence for three games for kicking out (and missing) Rory Delap who had smacked a ball into his midriff at close quarters.

Of course, you could go on, but we’re getting close to the point where it’s time to give over as the inconsistencies that rule the English game threaten to all but engulf it whenever a tidal wave of hysteria grips a tabloid, celebrity witch-hunt obsessed nation.

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