I see it is silly season in the media and at FA Headquarters, judging by the reaction to ‘SpitGate’ during our clash with Manchester United at St James’ Park.
It distracted from the fact that it was probably the most sterile of encounters between the two sides in living memory.
(To feature like Paul, send in your articles for our website to [email protected] – all views are the author’s own etc etc)
Look back over twenty years, there have been memorable games here for a variety of reasons:-
The travesty of the 0-1 title decider of 1996 and the 5-0 entertainment six months later.
The Ferguson rocket of 2000, with two Alan Shearer goals and a Roy Keane early bath.
The barnstorming 4-3 six months later and Shearer goading Keane into another early bath and the 2-6 the following season.
The seminal 3-0 win in January 2012, the point at which we peaked under Alan Pardew.
The other games were either one sided encounters, or edgy affairs nicked by the odd goal as Manchester United won things and we, well, didn’t. But the games were nearly always hotly contested matches backed by a hot atmosphere in the stands.
What we had on Wednesday night was a game that was as uninspiring as the teams that have been built to play in it. But I digress . .
On the incident with Johnny Evans and Papiss Cisse, it’s the comments from Paul Scholes and Van Gaal that are quite disturbing. Both say that Evans spits towards the floor and that the lad isn’t a spitter. Well sadly, the video says otherwise. Johnny Evans IS a spitter, as IS Papiss Cisse, nobody can twist that and both deserved the same punishment for the spitting itself.
However, from the videos of the incident I see,
1: A gesture of sorts from Cisse, with his foot towards Evans (Note:- No Contact)
2: A kick from Evans on Cisse with the ball nowhere near the two players. (Note:- Contact)
3: A spit in the direction of Cisse from Evans. Evans leaning over Cisse as he does it.
4: Cisse spits in the direction of Evans.
5: A lot of backchat and finger wagging.
None of this was seen by the referee, but now the punishment is 7 matches for Cisse and 6 for Evans? SERIOUSLY?
Here’s a perspective-
Joey Barton swings a fist into the groin of Tom Huddlestone and gets a 3 match ban- Seen by the referee.
Diego Costa ‘stamps’ on Emre Can and gets a 3 match ban- Not seen by the referee.
Putting all the incidents together, I know the recent rule change says a six match punishment for spitting but in my opinion a fair result would have been…
Evans- 3 games for the kick (Based on Costa and Barton) and 3 games for spitting. I would also levy an additional game for being the blatant instigator.
Cisse- A 3 game ban for the spitting and another for failure to improve conduct after a previous ban.