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Simon Rice

Simon Rice has worked at The Independent since the summer of 2007 and takes care of all things sport for online.

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Spits, spats and spectacles at the Emirates

Posted by Simon Rice
  • Wednesday, 18 March 2009 at 04:01 pm
So Arsene Wenger's yet to make an appointment with the optician it would seem.

Speaking about last night's 'spitting' incident the Professor claimed to know nothing: "There was no incident," Wenger said. "I haven't seen anything. You ask me what I have seen and I have seen nothing." Like the time you didn't spot Bergkamp stamp on Blackburn defender Nils-Eric Johansson or various other times you happened to have been looking the wrong way?

Yet Wenger remains a mystery because he's able to see some things that no-one else can. He was quite sure that Arsenal's clearly off-side goal deserved to stand. In fact, he even thought Arsenal should have been awarded two goals! "It is not offside because the ball was deflected by the fist of the goalkeeper," Wenger said. "(Johan) Djourou first, the goalkeeper after, then a foul on Gallas. Penalty. We should have got two goals."

It really was a fiery night at the Emirates. Phil 'The Tan' Brown was furious, particularly by Wenger's refusal to shake his hand after the match. How dare you Mr Wenger! If you're new to football, the refusal to shake another manager's hand at the final whistle is comparable to stealing an Irishman's Guinness on St Patricks Day - a definite no no.

One thing that Wenger did get right was his complaint that Hull were wasting time. I watched Hull a couple of weeks ago down at Craven Cottage and they were dreadful. From the first minute they looked to nonchalantly kick the ball away or 'accidentally' give it to the wrong person in order to eat up any time that they could. It made for a dreadful match and based on this (and the fact Hull stole Jimmy Bullard from us), I just wish it had been 'The Tan' that was on the end of that Fabregas special!


Shocking assertions
greggannon wrote:
Thursday, 19 March 2009 at 06:36 am (UTC)
I'm quite surprised this got past the lawyers as you are effectively calling Arsene Wenger a liar, not to mention asserting that Cesc Fabregas did in fact spit at Brian Horton. It has yet to be proven that Fabregas did anything of the sort and nobody, including Wenger, can see something if it didn't happen. Likewise, even if it is proven that Fabregas is guilty, it's entirely feasible that Wenger was not present. At no point have Hull claimed otherwise. Nobody deserves their integrity rubbished so glibly while the facts remain unknown - but you have decided that you do know the facts. I can only presume, therefore, that you saw the alleged incident take place. Please enlighten or retract.
things unseen
dan_brodie wrote:
Thursday, 19 March 2009 at 09:04 am (UTC)
I am really suprised by this article - when I heard Arsene say he hadn't seen it I expected some ill informed bloggers to take some cheap shots but you work for the Independent a really well respected publication. It was reported at the time that Arsene had gone straight in at the final whistle - the chances are he really didn't see the alledged incident.
s_rice wrote:
Thursday, 19 March 2009 at 12:36 pm (UTC)
This article was a tongue in cheek piece written to highlight Wenger's form for 'not seeing' various incidents over his Arsenal career. It's quite possible he didn't see the alleged incident after the Hull match, and if that's the case then fair enough.

Also, there is nothing in the article that suggests Fabregas did spit at anyone - the word spitting is in apostrophes to reflect this.
Re: Shocking
greggannon wrote:
Thursday, 19 March 2009 at 05:19 pm (UTC)
Good of you to respond, Simon, and I don't usually like criticising broadsheet journalists as the tabloid hack alternative is so obviously more loathsome.

But I did think this was defamatory at worst and lazy at best. Since the Elton Jon ruling it seems more and more pieces couch their accusations in 'humour' to avoid a trip to the courts, but I do understand you were trying to be humorous and that for your 'joke' to work, one has to assume the incident happened as Hull claim it did. However, leaving aside the fact that the Arsene-Wenger-missing-an-incident routine became the stalest of clichés many years ago, Phil Brown actually said this on 5 Live yesterday: "The referee and linesmen had gone down the tunnel and were probably well inside their room, the same as Mr Wenger and the majority of the Arsenal staff and players." That quote was not hard to track down.

As for Fabregas, you are probably right about the apostrophes, though I and surely many others came away from the piece with the sense that he was being judged guilty of the accusations.

Lastly, Wenger's comments about the 'two goals' were tongue-in-cheek also, so to claim that as your own defence while overlooking that aspect to someone else's words (wilfully or not) could strike some as disingenuous.
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