1702: FA Cup: Should Everton be cruc
by : Antony Melvin
As the slings and arrows of outrageous fans forums argue the toss over that coin toss at Goodison Park surely some measure of consistency needs to be applied here. It seems that Everton are being criticised because someone in their crowd had the misfortune to actually connect with an opposition player. If all the ‘missiles’ thrown had all flown wide of their targets there is little doubt that the matter would die away in a couple of days.
It seems only when missiles make some kind of convincing impact on a player or official that there is any outcry.
The referee, Anders Frisk, was hit by an object whilst leaving the pitch (under police guard) at half-time during a Champions League tie at Roma. He was unable to continue and the match was awarded to the away team. Roma played the next match behind closed doors. If Frisk had been missed would Roma have been inconvenienced?
Some commentators have pointed to the fact that Everton have been censured twice this season for letting a small number of fans encroach onto the pitch after vital wins – especially one against Liverpool – but this is hardly the stuff of nightmares. Think back to Villa Park in 1999 and after a semi-final win in the FA Cup, Manchester United fans stormed the pitch en masse. At the time there was some condemnation in the press – but little action from the FA.
At another match involving Manchester United this season, Wayne Rooney celebrated in front of the Spion Kop and nearly had his youthful good lucks tarnished after a mobile phone was thrown at him. I know that this point is getting a bit repetitive but why is inaccuracy some defence in this matter? Why did Liverpool avoid a big fine simply because one of their fans can only throw like a girl?
The Everton fans’ on Saturday night largely enjoyed themselves (before the goals) by exercising their right to express their disapproval of Wayne Rooney. Rooney to his credit ignored it. That should be the story; prodigal son returns home to hostile reception, and then leaves again.
That missile throwing has returned to English football is a bad thing; but Everton’s response in immediately accepting responsibility and explaining what they will do when they catch the thug in question (and they will) will do more to self-police any problem than any number of sanctions from the FA. Everton have been undone by a handful of fans – can they not be given a chance to put their own house in order?