The FA have concluded that the red card received by Andy Carroll will not be rescinded and the Hammers’ influential target man will serve a three match ban which could have a significant effect on West Ham’s fight for survival come the end of the season. Although rules are rules and intently raising an arm to another player is against the laws of the game, I think in instances such as this one, The FA need to bend, if not adjust the rules in order to discourage the likes of Swansea centre-back Chico ‘Cheato’ Flores from continuing to influence the decisions made by referees.
I am in no doubt that had Flores gone down less theatrically, if at all, then Andy Carroll would be an ever-present figure in West Hams’ next few games and with him being ineligible for the visit to Aston Villa, and then two home ties against fellow strugglers Norwich and Southampton the aftermath of the FA’s decision could be hugely influential for all the wrong reasons as far as West Ham are concerned.
Personally, what has frustrated me, and I’m sure that I speak on behalf of Hammers fans up and down the country, is the way in which both Flores and ‘World Cup’ referee Howard Webb have gone about their business. It comes an no surprise from Howard Webb, who if you remember took charge of the 2010 World Cup Final, which although it was not very memorable for England fans, I’m sure that Nigel De Jong’s two-footed, waist-high lunge on Xabi Alonso will live long in the memory of many, although in Webb’s eyes, this only resulted in a yellow card for the Dutchman. I believe that Webb should have taken some responsibility for the red card of Andy Carroll and put his hands up and say that he got it wrong. He would have yielded a lot of respect from football fans and critics alike had he admitted that he acted only based upon the reaction of Chico Flores.
The behaviour of Flores was unprofessional, and listening to the reactions of Jamie Carrgaher and Gary Neville, I am not the only person feeling this way. It is clear, having watched countless replays, that Andy Carroll made no contact with Chico Flores’ face, a mere brush of his ponytail was all it took to send the Spaniard hurling to the ground as if he had been shot. Not only did Swansea leave Upton Park without getting a result, they also headed back across the border with a lot less respect from the West Ham fans.
On a more positive note, the suspension of Andy Carroll may make room for Marco Borriello to make his West Ham debut, which has been eagerly anticipated. The Italian frontman is a proven goal scorer and a decent performance from him at the weekend could ease the pain from the Carroll sending off.
In the future, it would be nice to see some backbone from The FA. I understand that they are working alongside the Referees, however they do make mistakes and therefore at times, the punishments that they so often dish out should be retracted. If nothing else, Flores deserves to be fined by The FA for his appalling actions by to encourage players not to try to get their opposite numbers sent off.