28 December, 2007

Leg Breakaz 4 Life

In the midst of the post-Rugby World Cup whirlwind of calling all professional footballers wimps and jesses, it seems that some have decided to act out against this. Not however by ceasing to dive and feign injury, but instead by unleashing some of the most vindictive attempts to break opponents’ legs this side of a UFC contest.

In recent months there seems to have been an alarming amount of outright dangerous tackles that anywhere else but on a football pitch, would probably to construed as ABH. Just off the top of the dome I can think of many recent horrors, some of which match the worst tackles I’ve ever seen in history. Efforts from the likes of Ricardo Carvalho, Jon Obi Mikel, El Hadj Diouff and Emmanuel Eboue have beggared belief, especially when in every case the FA has refused to act prohibitively against these players. Even guys that you would never associate such vicious stamps and jumps with, such as Peter Crouch, baby Denilson from Arsenal, Robbie Keane and Brynjar Gunnarson, have been getting in on the act too, and something just has to be done.

It is actually a miracle that, save for John Terry’s broken foot, no-one has been severely injured. That the incidents haven’t garnered the press that Ben Thatcher’s psychotic elbowing of Pedro Mendes is even more of a miracle, given the love of the newspapers to criticise aspects of the professional game at the moment.

Three match bans simply are not enough at the moment, and the FA’s hands have to be untied to act after the event if we are to protect the rapidly decreasing selection of flair players we actually have in this country. Is it any wonder that maestros like Ronaldinho and Kaka are reluctant to play in the English league if that is the sort of treatment they can look forward to week in, week out? Don’t get me wrong, I will always defend the shall we say ‘competitive’ nature of the Premier League over the theatrics and diving of some European leagues, but if that is at the expense of skills and trickery, then I don’t know where I stand.

You know what, this was only meant to be a half serious article. Why does no-one ever direct one of these tackles towards someone like Paul Konchesky or Joey Barton anyway? Surely Barton getting his shin snapped would be justice for all those ‘indiscretions’ of the past that he has so brazenly gotten away with?

But I digress again. The main reason I got into this all was to post the below video. Check out some of these bad boys, I especially like modified WWF favourite, the Frankensteiner, around the 1:30 minute mark: