Date: 3rd May 2006 at 5:14pm
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has threatened legal action against Sunderland full back Dan Smith after his challenge caused serious injury to young Arsenal star Abou Diaby.

The Gunners boss today revealed that the club were mulling over the possibility of suing Smith for the over-zealous challenge that caused Diaby’s dislocation and fracture of the ankle.

‘An accident can happen,’ Wenger said today. ‘We all accept that. If two players go for the ball with the right spirit, then ok. What happened there was just not acceptable. The referee and the press cannot accept that.’

And he feels that Smith should be banned for the same length of time Diaby is on the sidelines injured.

‘I felt, having watched the game, that there were bad intentions there and I will take legal advice to take this game further.

‘The player should be banned as long as Abou Diaby does not play. When you see that he gets a yellow card it is just horrendous.’

Kevin Ball defended Smith, saying he was ‘not a malicious, dirty player’ and that ‘Dan went for the ball, unfortunately Diaby was quicker than him.’

The hypocrisy of professional football again rears its head here. Arsenal have never been a soft side and, while they might play prettier football than Sunderland, they certainly aren’t scared to put the boot in.

Of course all wish the talented Diaby to make a speedy recovery and it is a crying shame his injury means that he will not be able to play any part in the European Cup final, when most in this country will be cheering on the Gunners over Barcelona.

But for Wenger to suggest that Smith’s challenge was a deliberate effort to hurt the player is both inaccurate and an insult to the Sunderland players and fans. Ironically, it is verging on libellous. Poor, reckless and mis-timed yes, deliberate, certainly not.

What makes Wenger’s comments even more galling is that Arsenal, under his leadership, have been involved in several unsporting incidents over the years. This is the team whose ill-disciplined players have been involved in several shocking on-field fracas and attempts at group bullying of referees and opposition players.

Shocking tackle that it was, Smith intended to get the ball and it was indeed a tackle. Unlike a certain Mr Bergkamp’s unsubtle stamp on Sunderland’s Paul Bracewell at Roker Park 1996. Or Vieria’s spitting incident with Neil Ruddock not so long ago either.

And with Jens Lehman in goal you can rest assured that Wenger’s side will never be the paragons of fair play he seems to believe they are.

But hey, don?t let that stop the European finalists get all high and mighty on us mere relegation fodder. After all, Wenger, Henry and Toure haven’t even bothered to learn the name of the player who inflicted Diaby’s injury. That might be a problem when it comes to pointing the finger in court Arsene.


11 Replies to “Pot Wenger calls kettle Black (Cat)”

  • my god pack your handbags away!!! end of the day muppet smith intended to go for diaby for the fact sunderland are a awful team and thats the only way he/sunderland could do anything about it. just get over it and accept the fact he deserves to be banned for a long stretch!

  • Mackem, stop spouting *****e.. it was an awful tackle, what surprised me even further was the way the Sky pundits were silent in there opinion of the tackle – it was reckless, unnecessary. They sat there in silence didn’t commend the tackle and you could hear the boy screaming his head off, you cant tell me they couldn’t hear that?

    I dont believe any legal action should be taken as that would open the floodgates and a whole can of worms. End of the day you have to admit it was a needless wreckless challenge, you cant talk about ‘commmitment and fighting for the cause’ on this one – just don’t try and justify the assault (tackle) by criticising the injured players team mates or manager. Smith MIGHT of been going for the ball but he was a two bus rides too slow and he JUMPED into the tackle both his feet were off the ground, I cant believe you’re trying to do some PR job on this and defending the tackle – that makes the whole situation around it even more bitter and blinkered in my view. Remember in all of this a player is set to miss the biggest game of the season and not play again for UP To 9 MONTHS! Now justity that.

    Also whilst I at it – can you blame the AFC players for not shaking the Dan Smiths hand, i’m sure they would like to shake him by th efreaking neck and Alexis James I’m sure they know Dan Smiths name – so stop stirring up *****e – although if anyone of the SAFC fans agree with the write up they probably deserve to see they team in a division of kickers and bruisers..

    end of
    Mr T

  • lads. calm down. i’ve not defended the tackle in the slightest. i think you should read the article again, especially you tommigooner, i didn’t mention much of what you quote me on. i simply point out several incidents in the past to prove Arsenal players as much as anyone are capable of mistakes and unsporting behaviour. i also say that the tackle was mistimed, poor and reckless, my point is it wasnt deliberate as Wenger suggests and court action shouldnt be sought, as you yourself say.

    so despite your protestations, we actually agree. I must admit mind, your over-reacting posts don’t do much to sway the widely held opinion that Arsenal fans are as arrogant as their players and staff.

  • Typical, generic, cliche-ridden, attempt to highlight the “hypocrisy” of Arsenal, or “professional football”, as you diplomatically put it.

    Okay, Arsenal are no angels, but there is a big difference between a few players prodding Van Nistelrooy or spitting at people than a player almost ending a players career. You will never, and have NEVER, seen an Arsenal player carelessly going in for a tackle with scant regard for the consequences like Smith did.

    Did Smith mean to almost ruin Diaby’s career? No, probably not, but does a drunken driver mean to kill a person? Again no. But the sheer stupidity and carelessness of Dan Smith’s actions mean he should not be allowed to get away with a half-hearted-i’m-only-19- looking-forward-to-a-pint-tonight “sorry” which basically took the ***** in its lack of sincerity.

    The guy deserves everything he gets.

  • You are indeed defending the tackle by (1) calling it accidental rather than deliberate and malicious, and by (2) deflecting attention to prior acts of misconduct by Arsenal. Why do you have better insight into Smith’s intent than those who actually witnessed the tackle in person? And by your logic, any assault on Arsenal players does not deserve criticism or mention because Arsenal players have spat and thrown pizza in the past. Please. I can at least admit that Vieira intentionally spat and Pires intentionally dived. Why can’t you admit that Smith intended to take out Diaby?

  • Unbelievable. How can you compare badgering the ref and a little petulant stamp with a career threatening assault of a lunge? Dan Smith has not only robbed Diaby of potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in the European Cup Final, he may have done permanent damage to the lad’s ability to play.

    And before you start pointing the finger at Arsenal’s disciplinary record perhaps you should stop to think how many times Smith has ALREADY been sent off. The guy is no professional. He’s a nasty clumsy oaf who shouldn’t be on a football field. If that tackle had been committed on someone like Wayne Rooney Dan Smith would now be being hounded out of the game.

    We can’t allow this sort of thing to sully our game. It doesn’t mattered whether he ‘meant it’ or not. Players should not be throwing themselves at other players in that sort of uncontrolled manner. That is not the beautiful game and there is something very wrong with our coaching if that’s the sort of player our teams are producing.

  • you Gunners are so pathetically up you’re own arses its shocking! comparing it to drink driving? claiming to have never seen a shocking challenge committed by Arsenal! playing down SPITTING and STAMPING from the past? seriously, it was a shocking challenge, as James admits in the article, but you guys are so deluded it’s unreal. as soon as something like this happens to one of your guys you think you can take the moral high ground. wake up lads. The fact you have reacted in such a manner to this pretty innocuous article also suggests you guys are aware of your previous misdemeanors. I’m starting to see what James refers to with regard to the highbury arrogance.

  • Funny that even the SAFC website is trying focus on other news to try and distance itself from Smith. Will be interesting if it did end up in court because there an intention is considered as fact when a person carries out an action where, to any reasonable thinking person, it would on the balance of probability cause the ‘intended’ result. Jump two feet off the ground, straight at the person?s leg and it?s blatantly obvious what was intended. Watch the replay – the ball was NEVER where Diaby was standing. From that it’s obvious, the guy knew what he was doing. Where he may have been misled is the reason I imagine he was put on for – his manager knowing his record full well and therefore expecting him to take players out with the kind of tackling that needs to be stamped out. If it takes a court case to wake the FA up about ANY player who wants to treat football with such disrespect, then so be it. Otherwise, we’re all losers in the end for the talent the game loses, as well as the embarrassment of having to support blatant thugs.

  • You mackems can deflect the attention as much as you want. Dan Smith is why Sunderland and clubs like it will always be 2nd division outfits. He brings nothing to the game but thuggery and malice. Its not enough to be ‘committed’ as a footballer. You have to show some degree of skill if you are to raise football above mere midfield scrapping for the ball. Its one thing to push or spit at an opponent, quite another to go in to cripple him. I would urge that mess of a manager Kevin Ball to watch Barcelona in action and take some notes before sending out neanderthals like Smith to end other player’s careers. Perhaps he won’t feel so inclined to defend that sort of behaviour when one of his players is taken out for a season.

  • Tackle was horrendous and should not be defended.
    Legal action….thats just Wenger being a pratt.
    Did he intend to do serious injury..I doubt it, but he did know that injury could well be the outcome of that challenge so he is culpable.
    Gooners..come down from the morale high ground it is nauseating.

  • Only saving grace from all this is that the teams won’t get to meet again next season…unless the Cup ties throw up something. You never know.

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