23 Mar 2008

Javier Mascherano's sending-off against Man United was PATHETIC. He showed real leadership ability and all Reds should support him.

Idiotic Referees and ceaseless bureaucracy are ruining football and Javier Mascherano’s dismissal against Manchester United for so-called ‘dissent’ is another depressing example of this. The Argentinean did not deserve to be sent-off and I have nothing but support and admiration for him and his actions.

Admiration? Yes, because he was the only Liverpool player who had the balls to question the referee over the injustice of Fernando Torres’ yellow card.

Mascherano made a stand in adversity and displayed the true strength of his character. It should have been Steven Gerrard questioning Steve Bennett, but he was hiding away somewhere, nowhere to be seen. As per usual.

That Mascherano questioned the referee despite his earlier yellow card is further testament to his commitment to the cause. And I submit that he has every right to question the referee; he did so in a non-threatening manner and was not abusive or confrontational in any way.

And Mascherano’s ‘dissent’ was nothing of the sort - he merely asked the referee ‘what’s happening’ after Torres was booked. Replays clearly show that he did not impede or intimidate the referee; he just had the audacity to question a decision.

Why is this wrong?!

What is the game coming to when the simple questioning of a referee’s decision is deemed to be a yellow card offence? If the player launches an intimidating Roy Keane style tirade then I can understand the ref taking action, but Mascherano did nothing of the sort.

Mascherano was entitled to question the decision; indeed, civilised discussion between referees and players on the pitch has been a staple of football since the game first began. In such an important, passionate game, referees should expect to have their decisions questioned and act accordingly.

There are those who will argue that given his earlier booking, Mascherano should have stayed away. Why? I'm sure he had no idea that simply asking the referee a question would lead to him being sent off!

If Mascherano had said nothing, then he would have been as bad as Steven Gerrard, who is supposed to be looking out for the players on the pitch. If the so-called captain is not going take the responsibility, then someone has to step up to the plate.

As a result of this ludicrous, irredeemably pathetic decision, the game was ruined. Ten years ago, nary an eyelid would have been raised at such behaviour. Indeed, ten weeks ago, a referee would just have waved him away! Refereeing standards are in the gutter and football is being ruined as a result.

Football used to be a game of men - no more. It’s now a sanitized game where passion and competitiveness are slowly being eradicated.

And fair play to the much maligned Andy Gray, who slammed the decision during his half time comments. He was absolutely right in everything he said, whereas Jamie 'jellyfish' Redknapp (predictably) sided with the referee.

Andy Gray and Jamie Redknapp perfectly illustrate the clash between old and new values: Gray is an old school, no-bullshit' type of guy, who like many, hates the way football is being turned into a passionless, sanitised non-contact sport.

Redknapp on the other hand is a typical 'modern' footballer - always following the crowd and jumping on the bandwagons, spouting whatever opinion is most popular at the time.

I've never had a problem with Andy Gray, and the accusation that he is biased against Liverpool is complete and utter drivel without any foundation in fact.

Anway - Liverpool lost the game, and Steven Gerrard was anonymous against Man United again.

And at the end of the game, what happened? Xabi Alonso and Jamie Carragher headed straight for the ref and expressed their frustration and discontent. Passionate as ever, Carra actually had to be pulled away.

Where was Steven Gerrard, Liverpool's so-called Captain?

Nowhere to be seen.

There is one positive thing that has come from this incident: Mascherano showed all the qualities necessary of a true captain and this bodes well for the future. As of now, he is officially my choice for next captain of Liverpool FC.

The sooner the better.


  1. Hey bro,
    agreed that the referee was fluked in his decisions, Mascherano deserved all the credit he does. Liverpool will never win with the authorities' biasness.
    What a disgrace it is to football this day.


  2. I agree Jamie. 100% right there and 100% support javier.


  3. Ridiculous post, Mascherano was abusing the ref from the start. He ran 30 yards to get involved with something that was nothing to do with him, after continually telling the referee to 'Fuck Off'.

    Good decision, and a good precedent to set. (Y)

  4. heya jamie,

    The Torres booking was ridiculous, no doubt. I'm sure a lot of people who saw the game on the telly were left wondering for a second what the booking was actually about.

    But when Masch went into the Ref's face like that (compared to Torres, who seemed really polite about it and still got booked), warning bells should have rung. The other liverpool players initially held masch back then they let him go!

    Gerrard (i think) was standing a few metres away ready to take the free kick. As captain, more than anything, he should have held Masch back. That is his error in judgement as captain. He should have been the first to calm down Masch and apologise to the ref. His job should be protecting his team from things they might regret, not just watch idly by.

    Andy Gray's old school ways notwithstanding, since when has confronting the referee ever led to a change in the decision? Dissent and complaints should be stated post match or filed to the FA. During a match, tempers flare (even referees') and sometimes the damage could actually be made worse.

    Having said that, recent calls for 'respecting the referee' just took a severe beating yesterday.


  5. I disagreed with Janie comments on saluting and championing Javier Mascherano. At the highest level of football game, player at his calibre should maintain his professionalism whether the foul or challenge is reckless or dangerous. Referee know his job and as a player he just has to give his best on the field and NOT arguing and cursing like a little kid. He deserved to get carded as he is not fouled but being an unsung hero to argue on behalf of his teammate foul with persistent and vulgar ways. There is no way that referee would have sent him off if he has not said or yelled an abusive language to the referee. Referee like us too, if you talk to him professionally then you will be treated professionally. If he or she (referee) make mistake then the FA Referee Dept will take the necessary action. Let the referee alone, dude

  6. i completely disagree with the above post. i don't know if you saw motd2 last night but it showed exactly why mascherano was sent off. he didn't get the yellow card for questioning "what's happening", that was the straw that broke the camel's back. it was as a result of constant abuse towards the ref. after he had been booked any incident or free kick that was given to united masch was in the ref's face, at one stage he even pointed his finger right in bennett's face and he constantly told him to f-off and his body langugage was completely aggressive towards bennett. the timing of the second yellow was wrong as in that particular instance after torres was stupidly booked, mascherano wasn't as aggressive as he had been before and if this was his first confrontation he wouldn't have been given a second yellow, this was the final straw for bennett as it was at least the 5th time masch had confronted him and the previous 4 times bennett was told repeatedly to f-off and his authority was undermined. masch completely let his whole team down, i challenge any of you who have seen motd2 highlights from last night to argue against his sending off, if benitez saw it he would also have to hold his hand up and admit he was wrong. given the whole ashley cole furore, i'm convinced rafa would've told all of his players to be on their best behaviour which makes masch's behaviour on the day even more bizarre. he's a great player and will be for liverpool but he let his side down big time on the day, your head says we should look for a scapegoat i.e. the ref. if you're completely honest with yourself and saw the motd2 analysis of why he was sent off you couldn't argue with it. one more point, why did the FA appoint bennett to this match, this match wshould have been given to howard webb as he seems to be one of the only refs who commands the respect of players, the likes of riley and bennett remind me of two nerds who never played the game and are out of touch with the players.

  7. Hey Hazwan,

    I agree that Masch was asking for trouble when he appriached Bennet after his previous yellow card, but for me (and for him I would suspect), it's a matter of principle. Bennet was wrong and the way he was reffing the game until then was wrong. Someone had to say something, and Gerrard shirked his responsibility as Captain once again. So Maschcherano stepped up and did the right thing. Yes, he got sent off for his efforts, but action was morally correct in my view.

    Bennett is a weak referee, and he let the whole situation get out of hand very early on in the game. If he had controlled the game better, then things would not have got so heated.

    I see your point about complaints being raised after the game, but if a decision costs you the game *during the game*, what's the point of raising the issue afterwards? The damage is already done and it's irreversible, thus complaining is pointless.

    If referees want respect, they have to act in a manner that earns respect. Sending someone off for asking a question will not earn Bennett any respect. In fact, after this incident, Bennet's respect level has plummeted.

  8. T2

    Thanks for your comments. I did not see MOTD2, and if you're correct about Masch swearing at the ref, then that is of course unacceptable.

    The proble I see is this: If Masch was swearing at the Bennet and abusing him, why didn't he show him a yellow card for *that*?. Is that not a yellow card offence?

    I would have no problem if Masch got sent off for swearing at the ref, but that's not what happened. Bennett did not get a handle on the situation, and did not take action when he should have.

    Bennett had no right to send masch for merely asking a question; if he was going to send him off for his earlier infractions, he should have done it then, not in such an innocuous situation.

    It makes a mockery of the so called 'rules'. What constitues dissent? Is it a build up of niggling things or is something specific?

    In my view, every incident should be examined on its merits - did Masch deserve a yellow for what he actually did *in the moment*? Not at all. Did he deserve a yellow for swearing at the ref earlier? Yes.

    If the ref fails to deal with proper abuse (like swearing etc) then the ref is the one who should be penalised. It's not Masch's fault bennet didn't do his job at the right time.

    For me, it goes beyond mere right and wrong. It's a matter of principle: Bennett was wrong for booking Torres and for not protecting him more during the game. Masch sensed this injustice, and like any good leader, he couldn't just stand back and watch it happen.

    The real 'captain' just stood back and did nothing. As usual.

  9. i cant belive that Masch dosent see the light and he still belives he was wrongly treated.

    Playing as a holding mid getting a card so early put a downer on his game and he lost his head. Its a dissgrace that a high profile player thats in the spot light can act this way! What a good example to grass roots football!

  10. Jaimie I have to say that I disagree with you about this,Masch had "sening off" written all over him as soon as the match kicked off,he was CONSTANTLY in the ref's face,shouting,telling him to fuck off etc and Rafa should have subbed him after 25-30 minutes cause it was obvious that he will be sent off.He behaved extremly selfish(although he was "fighting for the team") and let the team down in one of the most important games of the league season,and it was the match that he should have been MOTM in order for us to take any points. He pretty much fucked up any chance of us getting anything from the match.

  11. I see your points, Davor, and I can understand why you feel that way. This issue has split peoples' opinions right down the middle.

    I disagree that Mascherano was selfish though - he just had something that Liverpool generally lack: A serious winning mentality and a never say die competitive edge.

    Gerrard should have kept him on a leash and done his job as captain. Gerrard should have ensured that the team harnessed Masch's passion.

    As soon as Masch was in the ref's face, Gerrard should have been onto him, telling him to cool down and motivating/encouraging him to go about things the right way.

    This is the impact a proper captain had, and Gerrard failed to provide this.

    Ultimately, as I argued above, the referee should have taken action against Masch for swearing. He didn't. Why? Swearing at the ref is a bookable offence, is it not? Why did Bennet let that slide?

    I wouldn't have have any argument if Masch had received his dismissal for swearing at the ref. Sending him off for nothing though as revenge for earlier abuse is unfair and shouldn't happen.

    The ref should also consider the importance of the occasion and the spectacle of the game before making such a stupid decision. Man U v Liverpool is the most popular fixture of the season. Steve Bennet ruined. He's an idiot and deserves to disciplined for losing control of the game.

  12. I can't believe how much some of you idiots contradict yourselves, firstly masch shouldn't have been sent off, he didnt swear, was non-aggressive, and was not attempting to intimidate the ref!! Some of you are saying that because of his earlier outbursts, he deserved it, well, if the referee had earlier told him to "watch his mouth" or "calm it", he'd obviously took note, because when he approached steve bennett following yet another dodgy decision (ie. wayne rooney clattering riena, going unpunished)he was a picture of calmness, he didnt raise his voice once, therefore the whole thing about him "asking for it" is just idiotic.

    The referee didnt send him off for dissent, he sent him off because he was tired of him, which is not a professional way to conduct your job and it certainly doesnt show impartiality! The referee may have took abuse off him earlier but he would have warned javier there and then, so when he approached him in a manner which steve bennet told him to, he sent him off!

    Steve Bennett is a fool who has time and time again show that he is as stupid as he is inept at his job!

    Steven Gerrard also proved he is more interested in getting his name on the scoresheet than captaining his side aswell, masch did gerrards job for him because the spineless woos from huyton was too busy trying to look good for tv!

    I'll support javier all day long over this, he did what the referee asked of him and was punished all the same! hes a natural leader and my vote for next captain!

  13. Don't get me wrong Jaimie,I agree completely with your remark about Gerrard and his behavior,he was a disgraceful joke of a Liverpool Captain and should have spoken to Masch but then again,Masch just should have known better,arguing with the ref doesn't get you anywhere,especially if you're already booked.

  14. hi jaimie, cheers for the post. you're going too far on stevie g, i know it's completely on a different level but we have a player on our sunday league team who persistently gives dissent to the ref and even when i've or other players have approached him or taken him aside to tell him to shut the f up he continues on. he's been sent off before and when we go into the dressing room after, we're not blaming the ref. masch in my view was out of control full stop. i was as shocked as anyone when i saw motd2 to see the way he was behaving, he was a disgrace. also did anyone else see the way alonso handled the situation, he grabbed hold of masch as m asch made his way over and then let him go and turned his back!!! alan hansen was the pundit on motd2 and he said there was no question whether masch deserved to get sent off. he was there should be two lessons learnt from this whole disaster 1. appoint a decent ref to ref one of biggest games of season 2. something is brought in in rugby whereby the ref if he's gettin sick of a particular player approaches that player's captain and tells the captain to have a word thereby making it completely obvious he is giving that player a second chance and if the player persists he gets sent off and goes against his captain and the whole team. that comment above that suggests masch was showing leadership qualities is ridiculous,leadership qualities do not include telling the ref to persistently f-off and pointing your finger in his face. stevie g has leadership qualities in his own right and prob does possess or will work on the ones such as communicating with the ref but there has to be something done by the fa to allow for the captain to communicate solely with the ref like in rugby. masch knows well he should have been sent off and is just using the particular instance when he was sent off as a smoke screen for his disgraceful selfish behaviour. i do agree with you jaimie though about the ref should have sent masch off at the time of being told to f-off or having his finger put into his face. but that's why i think there should be the above plans put in place by the fa. there's too much confusion when it comes to these instances. i wish you could see motd2, i guarantee you'd agree with me.

  15. here's the link to the motd2 footage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YQSmkB5XWg

  16. To T2, youre not understanding exactly what i was trying to say in that post.

    My point was that when masch had earlier told Mr Bennett to f-off, bennett wouldve told him to speak to him with respect or to behave himself, which is fair enough and had bennett sent masch off during one of those supposed numerous (2) incidents then fine.

    Mascherano approached mr bennett in the wake of yet another ludicrous decision, in a calm manner, he spoke to mr bennett in the way that the ref had earlier asked him to do so. For that reason alone the sending off is farcical and Andy Gray hit the nail on the head at half time! (someone who i dont often agree with).

    In response to your accusation about what i said of masch's leadership, youre wrong. A leader should question every bad decision, not neccessarily in an aggressive way but he should question none the less. Gerrard failed to do that even once.

    A leader should be vocal ie. Carragher, and constantly communicating, if you play football you should know that leaders are born and not made, gerrard does not have the fire that masch or carra has and no matter how much he works on it, hell never get that. He inspires liverpool at times but that inspiration doesnt come around regularly enough for him to remain as captain.

    You need a captain that will sweat blood and dig in even when youre playing the dregs at the bottom of the table, masch will do this for us, as will carra. Gerrard wont. Thats what separates the men from the boys.

  17. 2ruered, i'm sorry if i offended you in anyway, i wasn't accusing you of anything. i'm simply giving my opinion that f-ing and blinding at a ref and generally acting like someone who thinks they're above the law does not qualify you as a leader. i agree about him having the passion for the role but like say a roy keane, he'd have to realise eventually that abusing the ref for your own personal row does not benefit a football team winning 3 points. also, if you view the above footage at that link i thin you'll find there are indeed numerous instances (more than 2). stevie g may not be the captain you want him to be in terms of communicating with the ref but that's why i was saying about the fa bringing in a policy which allows stevie or othewr captains to go in and discuss their or their teams grievances without falling foul of the ref. also what do you think about putting a mic on the ref like in rugby which picks up what players are saying just to show exactly what they're being subjected to which shows how tough a job they have. although this still wouldn't make steve bennett any better as a ref!

  18. 2ruered said...
    "Steve Bennett is a fool who has time and time again show that he is as stupid as he is inept at his job!"

    andy gray made a similar comment on sky during the game, it shows a dislike to steve bennett and promotes a biast resonse in favour of masch. There is no doubt he deserved a 2nd yellow

    "The referee didnt send him off for dissent, he sent him off because he was tired of him, which is not a professional way to conduct your job and it certainly doesnt show impartiality!"

    i disagree i think he was sent off for presistent dissent, masch was lucky to not go early the ref tryed to give masch time to calm down but to no avail!

    Fair play Mr Bennett a good decision in a high profile game.

  19. No offence taken T2, everyone is entitled to thier opinion matey, you have a point about the mic on the ref tho, it wouldnt just show what the players are saying tho, it would also show exactly what the ref is saying which is no bad thing!!

    And in response to mr anonymous's recent post. Andy gray showing biased towards mascherano? you must be joking, if andy gray is protecting a liverpool player, that player must have some defence, i cant remember the last time i heard the bloke defend a reds player, its a rarer event than an everton trophy presentation!

    And the FA rules state (im right on this) that every incident should be judged on its own merit! Persistent dissent is a non-existent offence! So in the incident in which masch was booked, at which time did he show dissent?? (dissent possible mis-spelling:), and that, my good man is my point entirely, even 3 blue noses who (one is a manager of a semi-pro club) i play football with agreed on that point!

    Mr Bennett showed in that instant that he has as little regard for the FA rules as the players who flount them week in, week out!

    He did it to satisfy his own ego, and to make a point after the whole ashley cole incident, which in my view was a far more serious show of the affore mentioned dissent! Where is his ban extension? oh thats right he didnt get banned to start with! which is a joke in itself.