Friday, April 28, 2006
West Ham have confirmed that they will be appealing Hayden Mullins' red card in the league match against Liverpool.
Although I fell asleep trying to watch the game last night, I did catch the incident and frankly I think both red cards were on the soft side, although the ref wasn't unreasonable in the decision. Garcia was fouling Mullins in an act that was well worthy of a yellow card (although not a straight red IMO) and I must say I was quite chuffed at Mullins "I ain't takin' no shit from nobody" response. When I first heard that Hayden was shown the red I thought he must have acted stupidly, but having seen the incident I'm quite proud of him. He acted like a man - in stark contrast to the cowardly, girly actions of his opponent. It's left me in no doubt as to which of the two will garner more respect on the field should the clubs' appeals go through and see the players head-to-head at Cardiff.
At any rate, I don't think that the fact that both players would be missing the final should affect the FA's decision. The importance of the match should have no bearing on the outcome of such decisions. That line must not be crossed. However, I do think that both red cards were very soft and under normal circumstances I would hope that the FA would show some clemency towards the players; although their acts were violent, neither would have resulted in any injury and that the more violent of the two (Mullins') was in reaction to the first act. Strictly, yes, red cards were deserved, but I think the "spirit" of the incident warrants only a yellow each. Or as one reporter suggested, the official FA term of "adopting an aggressive attitude" is spot on the money; at least, the existing charge of "violent conduct" is inappropriate.
But if the FA do downgrade the charges and allow the players to be selected for the final, they must make it absolutely clear that the importance of the match did not affect their decision.