THE PFA has this week leapt to the defence of Manchester United’s theatrical star Ashley Young, leaving me wondering why?
I know it is difficult for referees to judge whether a player has dived or not, as was shown at the weekend. Carlos Tevez was booked for going down in the area when he had his foot trodden on, then Young threw himself into the air like a salmon and earned a penalty.
So why is PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle, supposedly one of the brightest men in football, backing Young by saying that he isn’t a diver.
We have two cases, last week when Shaun Derry was sent off for supposedly fouling him and this week against Aston Villa, where Young clearly was over-the-top in his histrionics.
Having looked at both cases on TV, and I’m sure Carlisle has done the same, it is a baffling thing for the PFA chief to say.
Even Sir Alex Ferguson, Young’s manager, told the media after the Villa game that he overdid his fall. I doubt he’ll be too bothered though as Young’s poor centre of gravity has led to United being awarded penalties in three of their last four Premier League home games.
It is an art, a dark one at that, and it just comes down to how honest you are.
Cheating at some level is rife right across the game. If the ball hits you and goes out of play then you still appeal that it is your throw.
Gary Neville was quoted earlier this week saying that diving has already dipped to Manchester local leagues.
I haven’t seen that many cases at Scarborough Athletic games and you don’t hear much about it in either of the Scarborough Leagues, though I’m sure it does go on.
I suppose it is something you will have to perfect over a number of years, as Young seems to have done.
If you attempt a theatrical dive in the Sunday League and get it wrong then you will be on the wrong end of a barrage of banter for the rest of your playing days.
One of few local players I have seen pulling the art off is my sports editor Andy Bloomfield, who, while playing for Snainton, took a glorious swan dive over an Edgehill Reserves tackle back in the day. The ref didn’t pick that one either.
On a grander scale, Arsene Wenger’s view is that foreign players have brought diving into the English game, and as he says, the home-grown talent have taken to it.
Jurgen Klinsmann was a class above when he played in the Premier League, but he would have also slotted beautifully onto an RSC stage. Didier Drogba was another example of this in his early days in our top flight.
There is talk of goal-line technology, especially after the weekend and Chelsea’s controversial FA Cup goal against Tottenham, but why can’t technology be used after the weekend’s action to hit the divers hard?
Why can’t an FA panel take a look at the likes of Young when things have all died down and hand them a three-match ban?
If it happened often enough then English football would be clear of the cheats in a couple of months.
You would need a fair bit of fortune and a good eye to solve the problem right across the globe though.