Pires induces a loss of perspective

Last updated : 18 September 2003 By Jason Hogan
Pires - Cheat?
Take all the ballyhoo that has gone on since Saturday and our match at Highbury. You couldn't begin to count the column inches that have since been written about what Pires did at the weekend.

Now may I say on record that in my view, as a staunch Gooner, Pires DID dive and he DID cheat in order to earn a penalty for us at the weekend and though his actions were ultimately helped to spare us from an embarrassing defeat, it would be stupid of me to condone or take any pride from what he did. On the same day, about 200 miles up the road at Ewood Park, Milan Baros and Jamie Carragher were being helped off the pitch up after both were on the receiving end of bad tackles. Baros and Carragher were then diagnosed as having a broken ankle and a broken leg respectively and it's likely that both will be out action until well into the New Year.

Now, I'm not the biggest fan of Gerard Houllier. There has always been something about him that bugs the living hell out of me but I have to admit that I totally agreed with his views particularly on the Lucas Neill challenge that accounted for Carragher's injury.

I'm not the kind of guy that reads broadsheets on a Sunday (or any other day of the week for that matter) but I can honestly say for certain that I didn't remember seeing any sensationalist headlines relating to the events at Ewood Park on the back pages of any of the tabloid newspapers.
Take the News of the World. There, splashed across the back page, was a headline about the Pires incident. Then, not content with that, they had double page spread just inside the back page, complete with detailed still-by-still frames of the incident.

Even in this morning's Daily Mirror, Oliver Holt's column was dominated with the issue of diving whilst a little footnote on the Carragher incident was almost discreetly tucked away in the top left hand corner of the page. I'm sorry, maybe it's me but isn't there a slight sense of perspective missing here.

Is someone out there honestly trying to tell me that a man that dives is committing a more heinous crime than that of a professional player who by virtue of his own recklessness and cowardice, puts another professional out of football indefinitely? You have GOT to be joking!!

The levels of hypocrisy in the press and the media are astounding. Cast your minds back to the back end of our double year of 2002. Ipswich were at home to that lot from Old Trafford.

How did that lot from Old Trafford win the game? With a penalty. Who got that penalty? Ruud Van Nistelrooy. How did he get it? With one of the best Superman impressions you will ever see. Now, did that incident invoke such a frenzied reaction against him? Well, I remember the press giving it a passing mention. Were the press calling for radical punishments to be handed out or were they lobbying for “Van Nisteldive” to be made an example of then? No, of course not.

I don't want to make this into a “one rule for us and one for everyone else” situation but I cannot help but wonder if all of this controversy would have happened if this incident didn't involve Pires, an Arsenal player.

Still, even if I am way off the mark on that theory it doesn't alter the fact that there have been quite a few well-known and well-paid people in the press and the media that seem unable to get out of the warped, parallel universe they seem to be in.

I tell you what, if it wasn't so tragic, it would be funny.