The Sweeper: Sorry, it’s More and More of Adebayor

Oh, hello! I, Richard Whittall, author of the semi-reasonable A More Splendid Life, will be taking over Sweeping duties this week until Tom returns from outer space.

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Big Story

Yes, there was the stamping incident against Robin Van Persie which, from the replay, seems as deliberate as a split second reaction can be.  Much more interesting however has been the response of the FA, Arsenal supporters and pundits on Emmanuel Adebayor’s ill-advised goal celebration in front of thousands of seething Gunners.

We’ve all heard the old cliche about “the Mob”: it has a life of its own, in which normally composed individuals can become psychotic lunatics.  The idea of “the Mob” in English footballing culture seems fairly ingrained, but Saturday’s fracas has led to a debate today about who exactly is responsible when a deliberate action on the field causes unrest among fans.

On the one hand, we have this from the Telegraph’s Mark Ogden:

The visiting fans should not have pelted their former player with missiles, and those who charged down the terrace steps to confront Adebayor were idiotic. But they would not have done so had the City forward celebrated at the end of the pitch where he had converted his header from Shaun Wright-Phillips’s cross. Clattenburg issued a yellow card for the celebration, which led to one steward being knocked out and taken to hospital by a missile thrown by the baying Arsenal supporters.

Note the seamless transition from “celebration” to “which led.”  The implication is Adebayor is primarily responsible for the knocked out steward.’s Patrick Barclay agrees the yellow card for the celebration was justified but differs on who bears ultimate responsibility for the incidents afterward:

Fans lose their right to be offended when they go on the offensive. If they cannot take it — these miserable products of a sick society who consider a player’s family fair game for the vilest insults and yet, because of their numbers, are allowed to continue to serve as football’s audience — they should not give it.

Both arguments imply the notion of “the Mob,” either as an intemperate force not to be provoked, or as “miserable products of a sick society.”  While this author has no ready made solution to the debate, I would point out a rather old mechanism for sorting these things out: the Rule of Law; yellow cards, assault charges and the like.  Seems a whole lot more sensible method than blaming players for the actions of individual fans, or blaming supporters as a inchoate, seething mass violent, unthinking psychopaths.

The best part is, it’s already in place.

Worldwide News

  • Speaking of personal responsibility, Landon Donovan might be in a pickle after Daniel Hernandez accused the Galaxy player of slapping FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira during Dallas 6-3 romp against LA.  No word yet if MLS officials have had a look see.
  • Sid Lowe explains why Atlético Madrid‘s owner, Miguel Angel Gil Marín’s “We Are the World” speech spluttered and bombed over the weekend.  Something about club owners being self-interested, hypocritical jerks…
  • Jack Bell’s lede sums it up: “He has been called the coach of lost causes…perhaps that is why Stephen Constantine is interested in becoming the coach of another star-crossed team — the Red Bulls of Major League Soccer.”
  • says enough’s enough with Alan Green‘s latest row with co-commentator Graham Taylor.  Millions of Five Live listeners cross their fingers: “They think it’s all over now…”
  • In what looks suspiciously like a preview of the crucial Group Four match Russia v. Germany, a Samsung advert has Guus Hiddink watching himself coach Russia on television.  Are we to believe he the Dutch gaffer has constructed some sort of flesh avatar to coach Russia so he can take in the action from the comfort of home?  And if so, why did he have to leave Chelsea?