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Tackles And Seat Belts…..For Your Safety – Wigan Athletic’s McManaman

I am not in the slightest bit interested in talking about the FA and its inability to give a simple three match ban for McManaman’s crazy tackle on Haidara at the weekend. What they do see at times is a mystery not even Sherlock Holmes could begin to solve other than just putting it down to plain stupidity.

But I’m also not in anyway interested in targeting McManaman in his crazy tackle. I don’t think his tackle was intentional. I honestly do believe he didn’t mean it. He is a young player and I genuinely hope it doesn’t effect him too much. I also hope that Haidara gets back on his feet and onto a pitch as soon as possible.

However, upon reading newspaper articles i just feel that everyone is missing a slightly bigger picture. I have played football for as long as i can remember. I played in defense and I have never gone in for a tackle like that. I was quiet good when I played there, if I do say so myself. I won the ball cleanly and never hurt an opposition player. My team mates were then same. Everyone came off the field the same way as they got on it, except just a small bit nearer to heart failure.

My point is simple. I knew how to tackle. I knew how to slide tackle and take a ball from someone without even touching them and i knew never nor would i ever consider leading with the studs.It just isn’t in my DNA. But i know that because i was taught how to tackle. And i am just wondering are professional players or even youth players taught the art of defending.

With the pace of the game now faster than it ever was, players are moving quicker and can snatch a ball away from a defender better than they ever could. So now defenders have to adapt to this new found skill players have and be as quick as they are. It was OK years ago to have a big tall heavy central defender that could muscle his way about and overpower attacking players but that day is gone.

Newcastle are barking up the wrong tree chasing the FA for a suspension and fines and threatening legal action They, and every other club, need to take a look at how defenders are trained and shown how to take a ball clean and without touching a player. All to often there are near misses with players leading with the studs and something needs to improve before someone does have there career ended.

A culture change is the way forward. Change is always seen as a negative thing. But bringing in a culture in clubs that not only gets rid of these types of challenges but just makes them unacceptable. If you can remember that far back or have watched programmes that show old reels of the news, you may have seen when the Government made wearing a seat belt compulsory. Oh there was outrage to be forced to put a strap around. But now i dare you to get into your car and drive just ten yards down the road. Do you feel safe, protected. I bet you wouldn’t.

The FA to be fair have already started the culture with the an immediate red card once a player has raised his studs going into a tackle but its now up to the clubs to instill this zero tolerance into their players and stamp out these crazy tackles once and for all.


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