Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: TIME TO SPEAK OUT? Gareth Sees Red on Card Farce TALLENTIRE ON WEDNESDAY IN ASSOCIATIONS WITH SOCCER SENSATIONS

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Football: TIME TO SPEAK OUT? Gareth Sees Red on Card Farce TALLENTIRE ON WEDNESDAY IN ASSOCIATIONS WITH SOCCER SENSATIONS

Article excerpt

Byline: PHILIP TALLENTIRE

IT'S come to a pretty pass when one of football's gentlemen starts to question the wisdom of occupying the moral high ground.

If Gareth Southgate is questioning whether to adopt a win-at-all-costs policy in favour of restraint, tolerance and respect, then football needs to take a long, hard look at itself.

Unlike many of his fellow managers, the Boro boss has a policy of not whingeing about every little refereeing decision that goes against his team.

But, 18 months into his managerial career, he's starting to think his attitude could be doing his team more harm than good and if that's the case, then shame on the game's authorities.

In a nutshell, Southgate is wondering whether referees - consciously or subconsciously - find it easier to dish out cards to clubs like Boro because they won't get it in the neck after the match via the convenient platforms of television, radio and the written press.

It will come as no surprise to discover that he doesn't name names, but there's a long held belief among supporters in particular that clubs such as Manchester United and Arsenal get the benefit of the doubt far more often than their less glamorous top flight dwellers.

Curiously, their managers, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, have perfected the ability to see every single offence committed - real or imagined - against their teams, but seem to be too far away from incidents involving their own players.

One recalls Ronaldo's decision to "avoid" Mark Schwarzer's challenge and crash to the turf at the Riverside last season.

A penalty was awarded and his actions were later visibly and verbally condoned by Fergie.

On Saturday, Stewart Downing appeared to be tripped by Marek Matejovsky or at the very least avoided the Reading player's out-stretched leg, lost his balance and fell.

He was booked for diving.

After the match, Southgate refused to condemn the referee even though a converted penalty at that point of the game would have almost certainly earned Boro victory and all but safeguarded the club's Premier League status. …

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