Amid the sanctimonious condemnation of Carlos Tevez there
seems to be a clear consensus: anyone who refuses to do their job, even for a
few minutes, should be sacked instantly.
Now, ED realises Tevez is paid a colossal sum of money to do
many people's dream job, and he was being asked to play against Bayern Munich
in the Champions League.
His behaviour was, to put it mildly, not good. And that's
why it's right that he should be punished.
But sacked? ED thinks not.
It is another case of holding footballers to standards we
cannot live up to ourselves.
Early Doors knows this is true because British workers take
an average of 10 sick days per year - double the amount taken in Asia and the
US. Got a sniffle? A hangover? Just don't fancy going in today? Throw a sickie,
everyone's at it.
To extrapolate the Tevez-bashers' logic, anyone who takes a
sickie, sneaks an extra 10 minutes off lunch or throws a strop when asked to do
something they dislike should be sacked.
All of these are degrees of breaching one's contract. None
of them is commendable, but in the real world none of them, in isolation, is
grounds for dismissal.
The problem - as ED mentioned at the top - is that Tevez is
so unlikeable it is hard not to let personal feelings cloud your judgement.
Which is why it was great to hear from Paul Scholes - one of
Englands greatest midfielders and a model pro who played 676 matches for
If ED had a penny for every time it heard Scholes described
as a perfect role model for kids, it would have... well, about 71p. But you get
If not universally loved for his scything 'tackles', he is
widely admired for his low-key dedication to the game.
But Scholes pulled a Tevez back in 2001, when he refused to
play in a Carling Cup tie against Arsenal having been dropped for the previous
Yesterday Scholes admitted his offence was "equally bad if not worse" than Tevez's.
course, Scholes's tantrum took place behind closed doors, but just because it was not televised, that does not make it any better.
This was a highly-paid footballer refusing to take part in a
match against his team's biggest rivals at the time.
"I know Carlos quite well. He's a player who wants to be
playing," Scholes told the
BBC. "When he's a sub, it will be killing him.
"You think you should be playing and my
head was all over the place. I thought he (Sir Alex Ferguson) was messing me
about, wrongly really. It's up to him what he does with his team.
"I realise it was stupid. I let the
manager down and it was something I regretted. It's probably similar to Carlos
Tevez's state of mind if it is true he refused to come on."
That is the same point for which Mark Hughes was roundly crucified on
Wednesday night, when he said: "The thing with Carlos is he always wants to play."
Hughes's credibility was undermined because his agent is Tevez's
Svengali Kia Joorabchian, but ED actually sees his point.
Of course it sounds a bit ridiculous to say: "He wants
to play so much he refused to play," but Tevez's detractors are playing
dumb when they pretend not to understand.
ED believes Tevez to be fundamentally a simple man. His (alleged)
refusal to play was not pre-meditated, nor was it even thought through
Here was a man with a high opinion of his own ability (he is, to be fair, pretty good), fed up at being on the bench, and enraged at
seeing Nigel De Jong come on for Edin Dzeko.
In an emotional moment, he lost it. Just as Scholes did 10
Which is why what happens next is more important than what
happened on Wednesday.
Scholes quickly realised he was in the wrong and apologised.
He did not want to leave United, and United did not want him to leave. There was
obviously no chance of him getting sacked.
That is very much not the case with Tevez. He does not want
to be at City, and City want shot of their highly-remunerated malcontent.
Tevez's people quickly claimed through a statement that he
had not refused to play - though not before he said: "I didn't feel I was right to play, so I didn't."
Had Tevez shown immediate contrition (and Roberto Mancini
not been quite so keen to share the details) the situation could have been salvageable.
But rather than apologising or professing loyalty to the
club, Team Tevez appears to be gearing up for a legal fight.
Their response (and, to a degree, City's) has been dictated
purely by business. And ED finds that more distasteful than Tevez's initial offence.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Barry Hearn on an offer of £17m from the GLA and Haringey Council for
Tottenham to build a new stadium: "Boris has made his move to try and placate Tottenham
and if I'm being cynical, it looks like a bung just to get him out of a court
case. I come from the real world and I can recognise a bung when I see it."
ED is afraid to say anything else...
FOREIGN VIEW: Big-spending Russian club
Anzhi Makhachkala have sacked long-serving coach Gadzhi Gadzhiyev and put his
assistant Andrei Gordeyev and Brazilian Roberto Carlos in temporary charge.
Roberto Carlos, who joined the club in February
as a player, said Anzhi had already discussed the possibility of buying England midfielders Steven Gerrard and Frank
"I'll have a meeting with the boss
(Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov) later tonight and we'll discuss
plans," the Brazilian was quoted as saying by local media.
"We've already talked about trying to sign
players like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard or Robert Pires."
COMING UP: Jim White and Paul Parker chime in with their
latest columns, we've got a Fantasy Football chat and an in-depth exclusive
interview with Fulham boss Martin Jol.