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Sir Alex Feguson on 'Diving'


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Sir Alex Ferguson has "had a word" with Ashley Young amid diving accusations that have been levelled against the Manchester United winger. For the last two weekends, Young has received severe criticism for going down far too easily to earn his side penalties.

United legend Bryan Robson has warned the former Aston Villa man that it may come back to haunt him as referees may be reluctant to award him spot-kicks in the future. And Ferguson has confirmed he has spoken to the winger about the situation. "I have had a word with Ashley," said Ferguson. "He understands where we are coming from. Hopefully it makes a difference."

After watching this week's Champions League semi-finals, Ferguson feels we are in an era where anything goes. "Last week, if the player doesn't bring Ashley down he is going to score," said Ferguson. "It was a clear goalscoring opportunity. He caught him and he did overdo the attempt to get a penalty. I am not sure he tried to get the penalty but he certainly went down quickly. But people have reacted because it is Manchester United.

"I watched Real Madrid and Bayern Munich the other night and it was absolutely ridiculous, players were diving and rolling about, nothing like what Young has been accused of. Then you see the other night in the Chelsea game, we are in an age where you expect it now."

Ferguson continues to insist such decisions even themselves out. "We didn't get one against Wigan during the week. We didn't scream from the rooftops about it. It happens," he said. "We got one given against us for Newcastle, we didn't scream about that either. You get bad decisions and good ones. Believe me, it does even itself out."

Pot kettle eh?

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Bryan Robson has clearly been listening to me. Young's reputation will precede him after this spotlight has been shone. He is now known as someone who goes down easy (ooo err). He'll need to have his leg practically broken off now to get another one :thumb:

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Mmm, once a cheat always a cheat. I think what Ferguson would have said is, "Ashley, your dives are really obvious and over the top and it's having a negative effect on the club; get better at diving please and watch some videos on Cristiano Ronaldo on the fine art of kicking a defenders leg, going down subtly and claiming contact - It works a treat and everyone in the media thinks it's legitimate."

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It's obviously not a good thing, but why is diving any worse than any other sort of cheating?

Defenders are fully expected to pull shirts, barge at corners, clip heels, lean on an attacker just enough to make him lose balance without him falling over...

If defenders are going to cheat, I don't see why the strikers shouldn't and you don't see any sort of moral indignation when someone tugs a shirt on the edge of the area.

To phrase it better without plagiarising:

"In England at least, defenders have somehow created a moral monopoly on cynicism in football. When a defender tugs a player back, happy to take a yellow card in order to stop a promising break, it's described as 'using his experience', or 'being quite clever there', or any one of an array of euphemisms. Never 'cheating', which is what it is. Only forwards are capable of 'cheating', thereby making them a 'disgrace' and prompting calls for all kinds of ridiculous punishments as 'the only way we'll stamp out this blight on our game"
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We all knew Ashley Young was a diving cheat when he was here so its no surprise that he has continued with the most consistent part of his game at United. The only difference is that he seems to get everything now oh and he has dropped the 5 minute limp.

As for Fergie nothing new to see, same as ever.

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I wouldn't be against plenty more penalties for defensive fouls like the ones you describe. Initially it would definitely result in loads of penalties, but defenders would soon cop on. They do it to win games so if their approach meant they were all of a sudden losing games, they'd soon change their approach.

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That's what annoys me about this sort of thing. The powers that be seem to be terrified of upsetting people whe nit comes to punishments.

Neville the other day was saying if you punished diving then you'd be handing out punishements all over the place.

And, as BOF says, it's the same with shirt pulling. "Well if you give a penalty for that you'd be giving them every week!"

No you wouldn't, because people would soon understand that doing it results in a penalty.

Same with players crowding the ref. Just book the ****! Give them one chance, say "go away" and if they don't, booked.

Yes you'd get a load of red cards when it first started happening, but people would soon stop.

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It's obviously not a good thing, but why is diving any worse than any other sort of cheating?

It isn't but there are some differences.

One major difference is the consequences of the offence. If a forward takes a dive in the box and gets away with it then it often results in a penalty and likely a goal but also in the sending off of a player as happened to QPR at Old Trafford.

Someone blocking, pushing etc on a corner simply doesn't get close to having the same consequence.

Yes the both are cheating but the consequences are very different for the two and as a result I think rightly or wrongly this is why they are viewed differently.

In addition to this football is much to the frustration of Wenger a contact sport pushing, pulling and blocking while cheating are an extention of the physical nature of the game.

I think at least subconsciously one is deemed more acceptable than the other by Brit's due to our sense of 'fair play' and the fact one is deemed to be manly while the other is viewed as being dirty and continental. Another example of this is most Brits would think a fight between opponents far more acceptable than one spitting at the other.

Cheating is cheating but some cheating I think is worse than other forms.

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It's obviously not a good thing, but why is diving any worse than any other sort of cheating?

Defenders are fully expected to pull shirts, barge at corners, clip heels, lean on an attacker just enough to make him lose balance without him falling over...

"

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Actually I think the consequences of manhandling people in the box are often just as big as those of diving, it's just that it usually results in a goal not being scored, rather than a pen being awarded. Getting the right kind of contact on the ball, say from a cross, can come down to a matter of inches, so many of the clear defensive tugs and shoves which occur in the box are in fact lots of little cynical attempts to deny goalscoring opportunities. Now granted, usually it's too jumbled and frenetic for a ref to point out any one single infringement and blow for it, but over time that passivity builds into a kind of acceptance of even the worst examples of infringement.

Take AC Milan vs Barca at the San Siro for example: from a corner, Puyol attempted a diving header that missed the far post by inches, but Mesbah was tugging him back and making a tent out of his shirt. It's hard to imagine Puyol not getting better contact and hitting the target without a man's weight dragging him back. For me that's just as disgusting as any dive, and worthy of a red card for denial of a clear goalscoring opp, but that happened directly between the ref and the 5th official, in clear sight, yet they didn't give anything. It all comes down to gutless officiating.

As for diving too, I honestly think the psychological compulsion to dive has arisen out of a lack of trust and respect for officials. If you're fouled nowadays and you stay standing, even if you're taken off the ball, the standard of officiating is so bad that there is no guarantee that the ref won't bottle it and give nothing. Therefore it becomes habit for players to go down when they receive any kind of challenge, in order to force the ref into a decision he can't weasel out of. Eventually a free kick stops being a punishment for infringement and just becomes something you 'win' by manipulating the ref, who you don't trust to do his job of keeping the game fair.

Sure, giving out fines for diving might paper over the cracks for a while. But the root of the problem is the same as several other problems in football - bad refereeing.

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That's what annoys me about this sort of thing. The powers that be seem to be terrified of upsetting people whe nit comes to punishments.

Neville the other day was saying if you punished diving then you'd be handing out punishements all over the place.

And, as BOF says, it's the same with shirt pulling. "Well if you give a penalty for that you'd be giving them every week!"

No you wouldn't, because people would soon understand that doing it results in a penalty.

Same with players crowding the ref. Just book the ****! Give them one chance, say "go away" and if they don't, booked.

Yes you'd get a load of red cards when it first started happening, but people would soon stop.

Yep, eventually players would learn.

You'd probably have a months full of games where they finish 5-3, with 4 penalties and it finishing 6v6 though. :lol:

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Actually I think the consequences of manhandling people in the box are often just as big as those of diving, it's just that it usually results in a goal not being scored, rather than a pen being awarded.

No the consequences aren't as big because it doesn't result in someone being sent off.

Someone not getting on the end of a cross for a possible goal scoring opportunity is not the same consequence as a penalty and a man perhaps being sent off.

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It's true that nobody ever loses a player due to defensive cheating, but then people who get sent off due to divers conning the ref tend to be rarer, extreme examples, compared to the prevalence of diving on the whole. What I meant by consequences were consequences for goal scoring and the flow of the game. Much as a goal getting incorrectly chalked off is a major event - even though nothing in the game has really changed - denying somebody a goal opp by rough-housing can have major consequences. It's just that they're unseen and so the manhandling tends to go unpunished by bottling refs.

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That's what annoys me about this sort of thing. The powers that be seem to be terrified of upsetting people whe nit comes to punishments.

Neville the other day was saying if you punished diving then you'd be handing out punishements all over the place.

And, as BOF says, it's the same with shirt pulling. "Well if you give a penalty for that you'd be giving them every week!"

No you wouldn't, because people would soon understand that doing it results in a penalty.

Same with players crowding the ref. Just book the ****! Give them one chance, say "go away" and if they don't, booked.

Yes you'd get a load of red cards when it first started happening, but people would soon stop.

Yep, eventually players would learn.

You'd probably have a months full of games where they finish 5-3, with 4 penalties and it finishing 6v6 though. :lol:

Growing up watching American sports, it came as a real shock when I saw how much abuse referees get from players in English football. If you told an official to "**** off" over here, you'd be kicked out of the game on the spot, maybe even fined.

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It seems to me there is a difference between a dive - by which I mean someone falling to the ground to fake a foul when there was no contact - and overexaggerating a fall when you have been fouled, to make sure the ref spots it and awards a free kick.

Ashley Young does the latter. I don't think I have ever seen him fake a foul. He just goes down like a bullet has hit him whenever there is contact.

If we're honest, there was contact before Young went down against Villa. Clark was naive to leave his leg in Young's path in that way and he got what he deserved. (I blame Hutton really for letting Young through in such a pathetic way).

I think to label him a "diving cheat" is a bit OTT really.

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^ Young manufactured that penalty at OT. The proof is that he stepped on Clark's foot with his right foot before launching himself to the floor...which was nowhere near Clark's foot. If he were to clip his left leg with Clark's, it could've been argued that Clark fouled him by obstruction; though the fall would have still been exaggerated. Almost as bad as Carroll's dive in terms of believability.

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Makes me think the whole getting a penalty thing for random contact within an arbitrary cut of the pitch needs changing. It's daft to get a free shot at goal from 12 yards when you're vaguely hit going the other way or in one of the corners of the box.

How about only a penalty if its actually a goal-scoring opportunity - ie the attacker has to be facing goal, and considered beyond reasonable doubt to have an excellent chance of shooting on target for a penalty to be conceded if he's impeded. Anything else, an indirect free kick.

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It seems to me there is a difference between a dive - by which I mean someone falling to the ground to fake a foul when there was no contact - and overexaggerating a fall when you have been fouled, to make sure the ref spots it and awards a free kick.

Ashley Young does the latter. I don't think I have ever seen him fake a foul. He just goes down like a bullet has hit him whenever there is contact.

If we're honest, there was contact before Young went down against Villa. Clark was naive to leave his leg in Young's path in that way and he got what he deserved. (I blame Hutton really for letting Young through in such a pathetic way).

I think to label him a "diving cheat" is a bit OTT really.

Not at all, he is and always has been a diving cheat.

He creates contact with players and then throws himself to the ground, he might not be a Suarez style no contact cheat but he is still a cheat and he always was when he was here.

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