After getting into the side and actually being quite good for a bit, Juan Mata—apparently realising he was in danger of prolonging Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United career—decided to take matters into his own hands and get himself sent off against West Bromwich Albion.
He has kept up the charade that he didn’t mean to do it, saying on his blog (Mata has a blog, you know), “I have the feeling that both decisions were rigorous; that, in many occasions, we see more serious fouls that are not penalised in such a way, but at the same time I could have avoided them and I take responsibility.” But of course, even with that impeccable punctuation, Mata must have been secretly offering a wink at the #LVGOut crowd. He’s got our back.
Van Gaal, ironically, had his back. After the match he told reporters, “What can I say when you send off a player like Mata? I have asked him if it’s his first red card and he said: ‘Yes,’”
He then added, “A referee has to decide within one second but when you know the player, Mata never hurts a player.”
So, Van Gaal’s suggestion then is for the referee not to send Mata off for two bookable offences because he is too nice. Let’s take a look at the TOP FIVE alternative, equally ridiculous reasons he could have given:
United have too many fans.
You can’t send off Juan Mata, because more people will be happy if United win than if West Brom do. It stands to reason. It’s simple utilitarian ethics, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, thus, Mata should have been let off.
There is perhaps a counter argument to say that it made ABU fans happy, but they’re a bit quieter than they used to be since we’ve been rubbish. Plus, we gave them Moyesey, so honestly, what more do they want?
Juan Mata is too good at football
People pay hard earned money to go to football, and if the refs are going to go around sending off the good players willy-nilly, then honestly, what’s the point? Juan Mata makes football more enjoyable to watch. Okay, so sometimes he drifts out of games, and he is a bit little so has a tendency to get knocked off the ball a bit, but when he’s on it…wow is he good entertainment.
He scored that free-kick against Watford, which essentially made that entire 90 minutes worth sitting through. How can you risk getting rid of a player like that?
It’s bad for the economy
Look. The global economy needs United to be successful. Without it, whose brand is going to appear on tractors, or partner up with Indonesian isotonic drinks manufacturers, or have a brand of affordable vodka as a “responsible drinking partner”—because everyone associates affordable vodka with responsibility, right?
So sending off Mata is not just bad for the game, it’s also bad for the fortunes of no less than two seperate noodle manufacturers. Mike Dean, we know you had to decide within one second but SURELY you should have thought about the noodle manufacturers??
Mata is a patron of the arts at a difficult time.
Come on, Dean. You know there’s a Tory government dead set on a programme of cuts to public services! As well as the huge damage this does to peoples’ lives, it also has an impact on the arts.
Juan Mata has been a tireless supporter of the local art scene since he moved to Manchester, drawing attention to Cai Guo-Qiang’s seminal work on display at the Whitworth Art Gallery, for example.
Well, he can’t give over blog space to cultural development when he’s been sent off, can he? Honestly, Mike. It’s like you’re not even thinking at all at this point.
It was very upsetting for Ander Herrera
Look, Ander’s had a heck of a time. He came over here expecting to be a linchpin of United’s midfield but Van Gaal instead decided that joy and fun were in danger of breaking out too often with Herrera on the pitch, so he should be used sparingly. The one great comfort for the Basque star is that he gets to share the pitch with his bestie Juan Mata.
So when they’re both on the pitch you can’t send off one of them! Look at Herrera’s face, as he passionately pleas with Deano—“come on man, don’t do this, he’s all I’ve got” he seems to be saying.
In a way, it’s impressive. Mike Dean was able to stick to the courage of his convictions in spite of all these very good reasons that he should not have done.
Or, alternatively, Mata committed ridiculous two yellow card worthy offences and left the ref no choice, thoroughly deserving his red card, however nice a chap he is.