Daniel Taylor’s article on the English game’s attitude to tackling spot-on

Daniel Taylor has written a piece that is noteworthy for the way it calls a spade a spade and demolishes the notion that tackles which break legs are somehow part of a legitimate grey area within football, which can’t be changed too much without sacrificing some of the much-vaunted inner qualities associated with the game.

The article can be read at this link:

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/mar/25/seamus-coleman-broken-leg-republic-of-ireland-wales

I applaud Daniel Taylor’s unequivocal and brave dissection of the misguided cultural tropes that lie behind tackles such as Taylor’s and injuries such as Coleman’s. A frequent irony of watching British football is the extent to which coaches and players alike justify borderline cheating by way of an opposition “frailty” (“they don’t like it when you get amongst them”), the need to target a particular star player (Gareth Bale in this match), or just good old fashioned Britishness which foreigners wouldn’t understand. For too long audiences were willing to swallow these pretences rather than suggest that any ideal of Britishness that the antagonists were appealing to would have been sorely betrayed by the obvious signs of cheating and gamesmanship that underlay these tackles and their defenders and condoners later on.

This issue cannot stop either until Premier League referees are made to tackle it in a consistent way. Just last week, Alexis Sanchez was potentially seriously injured by a West Brom player, in no small part due to the way the referee had declined to show a yellow card to another West Brom player who had previously upended him in what was a succession of fouls that appeared designed to cow him. Had the referee acted earlier instead of doing service to some misguided concept of “flow”, the tackle on Sanchez would never have happened. Presumably, there were plenty of chances for the referee to intervene in a similar way in the Ireland-Wales match.

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