Friday, 20 November 2009

Henry Handball

Thierry Henry has a special place in the affections of all Arsenal Fans. Because of his connection with Arsenal, i have been asked several times over the few past days what i thought of his handball against the Irish. My simple answer is i'm not French or Irish so its no concern of mine what he did. England's through and that's all i'm worried about.
Why, what a Frenchman did against Ireland has become such big news here that it dominates the front pages of the tabloids is beyond me. I listened to the game on the radio and the commentators never mentioned handball until minutes later and the benefit of a few replays where they changed their mind and spent the remainder of the game saying how awful it was that the referee and linesman missed it.
If he did it against England then the Irish would be laughing their heads off so my view is tough luck Ireland. Get over it.
What is more of a concern is the even louder call for technology to play a part in football matches and that is something i am not much of a fan of.
I like the idea of such decisions coming down to what the referee or linesman's see. It makes it unpredictable and exciting. Many times my team and country have been the benefactor and the victim of some awful decisions by the referees. I have said 'phew, we got away with that one' just as many times as i have questioned the referees eyesight when a decision hasn't gone our way. It's part of the game and as much as i screamed at Wayne Rooney for his blatant dive to earn Manchester United a penalty against Arsenal earlier in the season, i was laughing like a drain when Michael Owen went down like he had been shot by a cannon when a bootlace breezed past his shin pad against Argentina in a previous World Cup.
What Thierry did was not nice if you are Irish, bloody great if you happen to be French and if Frank Lampard does the same thing in South Africa next summer we will be using words like cheeky and clever rather than labelling him a cheat or a shyster.
After all this support, we can now expect the Irish nation to be decking out their homes in the flag of St George and cheering on Capello's boys.


Nog said...

Being not so much of a sports fan of any sort, I take a great liking to the psychology of sports fans. Everything is a black and white moral dilemma. You are right to point out how cleverness and treachery are all a matter of perspective. If my team does it, it's clever, but if the evil ones (the other team) does it, it is a treacherous scheme orchestrated by the other teams and bribed refs.

Being not all too familiar with pro soccer, I am however curious as to how the refs wouldn't notice the difference between a hand an a foot. Sure it is all going fast and the change in direction is small, but they're refs. In (American) football, there are questions about who has the ball at the bottom of a dog pile of 15 men. But if there is only one person to look at, how do you miss it?


Lucy said...

I don't know what angle the ref had or if he had players in the way and couldn't see it but as i said, even the commentators on the radio missed it until they saw it on a slow motion replay.

Cheezy said...

The fact that the commentators missed it doesn't exactly make the handball subtle or non-intentional though. It's one of the most blatant deliberate hand-balls I've ever seen. As you say, not nice.

On the plus-side, I'm greatly consoled by the fact that the dirty froggies are a mixture of over-the-hill(e.g. Gallas, Henry himself) and simply-not-good-enough, so they don't stand much of a chance in SA next year.

Anonymous said...

I only mentioned the commentators missed it at the time because they were being such arses about the ref missing it.
I do agree that they stand very little chance of doing anything now they are there though.

Anonymous said...

i played enough soccer to know these things:
- the ball hits hands by accident
- sometimes players other than keepers use their hands intentionally, on both offense and defense
- you don't make the call on yourself or your team
- refs miss calls
- sometimes you have good luck, sometimes bad

play on


Cody Bones said...

I like to think that it's important for the Irish to always have something to complain about. It's what makes them who they are.

Cheezy said...

Again Q, I agree with most of your list... but with one exception.

"- sometimes players other than keepers use their hands intentionally, on both offense and defense"

I played football - or soccer, as I believe you call it - for the best part of 20 years, right from when I started junior school, and while some of the kids used to grab at the ball with their hands when they were 5 or 6 years old, it hardly happened at all after that, after that we had it trained out of you. (Or if you didn't, you were encouraged to go and play rugby).

I'd estimate that during the last decade that I played every winter, I probably saw an intentional handball... three or four times maybe? It happened hardly at all.

Whereas unintentional contact with the arms and hands happen in pretty much every game of course.

Anonymous said...


i played football for 25 years myself including an international league and a latin league.

international was interesting because you saw the different cultures come out. americans played rougher than the europeans and didn't fake injuries, the central and south american teams played rougher than the americans. there was even a team from iran, they whined a lot and looked like they were going to come unglued all the time.

where i saw the intentional handball (and every other infraction imaginable) was in the latin league. my view of players from mexico, columbia, honduras, etc. is that anything you get away with is legal...

i must admit to an intentional handball as center fullback in a championship game (san antonio city league)... my keeper was out of goal... the shot was high... i jumped to head the ball out of goal but it was obvious to me that that the ball was going be just beyond me, so i stuck out my fist and put the ball over the bar... i got a yellow card (should have been red) and they got a penalty kick... keeper blocked the penalty kick... we went on to win one to nil... i suppose i'd do it again...

play on.


Cheezy said...

I won't tell anyone, Q :)

Interesting what you say about the Latin leagues. I think that would have pretty much made me sick, playing with and against a bunch of people who didn't care what they did to 'win' a poxy football match... and considered any of their four limbs fair game to use to this end. No doubt I'd have given it up a lot earlier.

Lucy said...

As i recall Q, you have a fondness for the Arsenal although i am fully prepared to be corrected.

Anonymous said...


can't say i'm An arsenal fan... i think i said i like the way Bbrits in general play football...


Cheezy said...

Brits? That's not Arsenal then ;)