Considering this country’s press are still talking about Wayne Rooney’s elbow on James McCarthy, we’re entitled to be surprised that so little has been made of Jamie Carragher’s assault on Nani yesterday.
It was reported in The Telegraph this week that Mark Clattenburg asked both Rooney and McCarthy what happened two weeks ago, with the Wigan player failing to mention that he had been elbowed by Rooney, instead saying that he was fine.
I’m sure when Nani was showing Phil Dowd the blood dripping down his leg and the gauged out hole made by Carragher’s boot, he wasn’t telling him that he was fine. Steven Gerrard was shouting at Nani to get up whilst Carragher continued to protest his innocence.
Just like the red card David Luiz should have been shown on Tuesday was largely ignored by the press, the lengthy ban Carragher should have received on top of a red card has had a sentence or two in today’s press.
Apart from in an article written by James Lawton for The Independent, It’s a scandal that Carragher will get away with his assault on Nani. This is by no means an arse kissing session, making United out to be perfect angels who were robbed on Sunday, rather an honest account of what happened, something pretty much every other journalist has failed to do today, with them far more concerned with Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision not to speak to them again.
Some of the best bits: At the end of a week of refereeing controversy it was that Jamie Carragher was merely given a yellow card for a tackle on Nani so sickening, so dangerous, that it rendered more farcical than ever the insistence of the football authorities that they cannot revisit extreme cases of negligence, irresponsibility or – let’s not fail to explore the full range of possibilities in this case – outright failure of nerve by a match official.
Phil Dowd was close at hand, was surrounded by protesting United players and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard – who appeared to be suggesting that his team-mate was not guilty of one of the worst fouls to disfigure any ground in recent memory – and then administered two yellow cards, one to Carragher, still protesting his innocence, and the other to Edwin van der Sar, incredulous that a tackle of such crude violence could elicit such a mild punishment.
Sometimes you have to despair of the inability of football to police itself – and of those who watch it to separate their tribal instincts from the evidence of their own eyes.
We had another example of this after an incident that followed hard on the Carragher tackle when Rafael, United’s young Brazilian full-back, was yellow-carded for a tackle on Lucas, a moment after the latter’s team-mate Maxi Rodriguez had come at him thigh-level.
Rafael was inflamed, no doubt, and his tackle was reckless – but his feet were low, unlike Carragher’s, whose boot hit Nani’s standing leg shin-high – and Lucas was unscathed. However, this did not prevent Rafael being booed relentlessly through the rest of the match.
Some will say Nani’s notoriety in the play-acting department worked against his outrage and that of his team-mates – especially when he got to his feet to join in the protests before falling again – but you didn’t have to be a drama critic to detect authenticity in his tears and his shock or, as United’s most threatening player, his departure on a stretcher. Sometimes there really is a wolf in the grounds and yesterday his name was Carragher.
This may offend some Merseyside sensitivities – and we all know what a sterling professional Carragher has been down the years – but you had to be living on another planet not to be revolted by this piece of action. Nani wasn’t tackled – he was, in effect, assaulted – and we can re-run the film a thousands times without a softening of that verdict.