Talking Sport: Taking one for the team is just cheating

Trevor Watson

Trevor Watson

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It is hard not to get cynical when people talk about a footballer ‘taking one for the team.’

This is the explanation when a player commits a blatant foul as the opposition look like scoring. The culprit is either given a yellow card or is sent off.

Actually it’s cheating.

There were too more examples last weekend. QPR’s Gary O’Neil brought down Derby’s Johnny Russell in the Championship play-off final and was sent off.

After Rangers had snatched a last-minute winner to clinch a return to the Premier League, O’Neil was remarkably honest and admitted that he had made the split-second decision to commit the foul to deny Russell a goal-scoring chance and benefit the team.

What a lovely example for kids learning the game - If in doubt, foul.

O’Neil will probably get a three-match ban for a straight red, perhaps 10 matches would make players think twice - if they think at all.

A Sunday paper report on the European final said Atletico Madrid’s Raul Garcia hacked down a Real Madrid player when things looked threatening and inevitably was said to have taken a yellow card for the team.

No wonder the game disappointed. Then again Atletico have a lower wage bill than QPR.

It makes you think when Rangers’ Bobby Zamora was said to be on £60,000 a week in the Championship.

I wonder how many Huddersfield Town players are on that, or even at Leeds United, who we all know are a ‘big club.’

There has been fuss about a French football club appointing a woman as head coach but this could soon be a trend.

A total of 41 people entered the football forecast at the Fox & Hounds in Hanging Heaton, predicting the results of Premier League matches with a five-point bonus for a correct score in two games.

The winner was a woman, Stella Mitchell, who only entered to beat husband Gerard, a Leeds season ticket holder, so his Premier League knowledge is limited.

Then she discovered there was prize money and took it seriously.

Unlike Liverpool, Stella topped the table for months and couldn’t be caught, cue much blushing among male competitors.

Incidentally in joint fifth was Luke Halford and he’s only 11. Back to the drawing board lads.

At a recent cricket match I saw a bloke given out stumped only for it to be pointed out the ball was at the wicketkeeper’s feet, he hadn’t taken it. The batsman still had to go.

At another game a man was given out caught behind and refused to walk.

He stood there for what seemed ages as the other side celebrated before trooping off in fury.

This is the gentleman’s game. We don’t want red and yellow cards, otherwise players will be ‘taking one for the team’ and cheating.