Coward’s way

Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Your team is busy fluffing its chance of automatic promotion to football’s top table in spectacular fashion, 3-0 down at home to a side who’ve struggled all season and who have nothing to play for. So how do you react? Redouble your efforts, clinging to the hope that you might somehow defy the odds? Or take out your frustrations with a cowardly assault on an assistant referee and then trot off without a sniff of an apology?

Of course, the fact that the assistant referee in question just happened to be Sian Massey has meant the incident has received more column inches than it might otherwise have done. Has the guilty man, Cardiff defender Kevin McNaughton, been hanging around with Richard Keys and Andy Gray of late? He certainly seems to have misunderstood what the pair meant when they were sniggering about “smashing it“.

Watching the footage, it’s hard to see how McNaughton could defend himself on the grounds that the manner of the collision was accidental (even if the collision itself perhaps was). While that abrupt change of direction might be justified as him following the path of the ball (as a “club spokesman” has claimed), there’s no mistaking the lowered shoulder or the complete lack of concern for the official. Perhaps that’s why he’s been silent. Regardless of the identity of the person he felled, surely it’s just common decency to check on their well-being? McNaughton’s insouciant jog away reflects badly on him – as the Cardiff fans’ roar of mirth reflects badly on them. Fair play to Massey for picking herself up from a challenge that would have left many a player writhing in agony on the turf.

You’d hope that McNaughton receives some kind of retrospective punishment – otherwise the (justifiable) outcry in the British media about the intimidation and abuse of officials in last week’s Champions League El Clasico will ring very hollow indeed.

Ben is a long-suffering Newcastle Utd supporter (is there any other kind?) who co-founded and co-wrote Black & White & Read All Over, a blog that, over the course of a decade, chronicled the ups, downs, chaos and calamity of the club he has the misfortune to follow. Since the blog hung up its boots in May 2014 (note: not as a mark of respect for Shola Ameobi leaving St James’ Park), he has contented himself with sporadic, splenetic Twitter outbursts and shamefully rare contributions to The Two Unfortunates. He is currently haunted by visions of Joe Kinnear returning to the club for a third spell and pondering whether he’ll live to see another victory over the Mackems, but at least has a cardboard coathanger with Robert Lee’s head on it for consolation.


  1. gerschenkron
    May 4, 2011

    Bloody hell – that's absolutely disgraceful. Surely retrospective action is called for. What a neanderthal.

    Did you have to link to The Sun though?

  2. Ben
    May 4, 2011

    Apologies Gerschenkron – it was the first site that came up with a quote purportedly from the club. Not that that's much of a defence, mind.

  3. Ben
    May 4, 2011

    So how do you explain the lowering of the shoulder ready for the barge? Looks perfectly deliberate to me. The lack of apology stinks too.

  4. Bill Turianski
    May 4, 2011

    McNaughton knocked Massey over on purpose. When you look at the video, he suddenly changes direction and pivots his body to knock her over. It might not be apparent on first view, but it is apparent on a second view. And 99.9% of decent human beings, once having accidentally knocked over someone, would show concern for the person they just knocked over. McNaughton not only did not check to see if Massey was OK, he never even turned around to look. That is the damning thing.

  5. Lloyd
    May 4, 2011

    Must admit that I didn't notice any intention when it happened live on air, but looking back at it McNaughton's clearly riled up and just barges into her when he could have probably avoided doing so. The lack of apology is the problem though.

    Reminds me of a time when I was playing for Goosewell Rangers U13s in the Devon Junior Minor League at home to Rees Dynamoes. I was (or at least thought I was) the star striker, but the game was going badly and we were a couple down. I got knocked off the ball softly, and went down. Cue my manager dutifully coming on with the magic sponge. For no reason whatsoever I told him to f*ck off. I was subbed.

  6. Olly
    May 4, 2011

    Lloyd, you've always been a barbarian.

    Paolo Di Canio got 17 years in a Siberian salt mine for shoving over Paul Alcock, so there's precedent here if it was (as it looks) deliberate.

    At least Di Canio had the guts to do it in the middle of the pitch.

  7. Bill Turianski
    May 5, 2011 Reply
  8. Bill Turianski
    May 5, 2011 Reply
  9. gerschenkron
    May 6, 2011

    Blimey – what did Bill say to get “removed”? “Calm down dear, talk to the doctor”?

  10. Bill Turianski
    May 8, 2011

    I asked Lanterne Rouge to remove one line in it. He e-mailed me back to say he could only remove the whole thing, and for me to re-do it. When I did, the new comment never showed up, so I gave up.

  11. Lanterne Rouge
    May 10, 2011

    sorry Bill

    if you have the energy, do send it to me again by email and I'll attribute it to you.

  12. Bill Turianski
    May 11, 2011

    Nah, it's not worth it, thanks, though. Good luck with Reading on their v1st Leg Friday LR.


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