“He (Maloney) clipped my leg and I couldn’t stay on my feet. It was a simple penalty and it was nice to get up and slot it away.
I’ve missed a few when I’ve taken them in the past, but I fancied it. I was confident and thankfully I did step up.”
To steal the phraseology of the Dragon’s Den, let me tell you where I am on this business with Bale and the diving allegations.
Take Joey Barton. Here’s a guy who’s apologists swore blind wasn’t a menace to society. Not really. When he wasn’t
headbutting people playing football, ordinarily you might find him reading Nietzsche, humming a memorable refrain from a show tune, that sort of thing.
But Barton has been endlessly revealed for what he really is: the kinda guy in the centre of an affray outside a kebab shop.
And then there is Luis Suarez. Here’s a guy who’s apologists swore blind he wasn’t a cheat. Not Really. When he wasn’t
pretending to have been shot playing football, ordinarily you might find him playfully calling his wife ‘Negrito’, or being fed a carrot by a passing Scouser, that sort of thing.
But Suarez has been endlessly revealed for what he really is: the kinda guy that makes the ‘Boy Who Cried Wolf’ story positively autobiographical.
My belief with Gareth Bale is that he fundamentally isn’t a cheat. I base this upon the fact that he never used to get caught up in all this hoo-ha after virtually every game. So it’s not something he can’t help doing because he was born with deceit flowing through his veins.
But he is perilously close to finding himself tarred with the same brush as the two charmers above.If the allegations keep n coming, keep on mounting up then he will find himself in the ridiculous and unenviable position whereby after virtually every match he’s having to explain away an incident that happened in nanoseconds to him, but the world has watched in slo-mo from 47 different angles again and again and again.
He needs to actively take steps to distance himself from the allegations. I don’t mean play at 80%, but rather make a real effort to stay on his feet.
Yes there is a very valid argument for him avoiding potentially dangerous contact. But you can’t simply shout, ‘Wot about Charlie Adam, he’s a thug!’ every time this happens. It doesn’t work like that. Adam wasn’t the player chasing him in the incident above, nor to the best of my knowledge did Adam fee-lance for Aston Villa last week.
So am I saying nobody’s allowed to defend Bale? No, of course not. Specifically what I am saying is that Bale is the only man able to nip this ‘recent fad’ in the bud. I don’t want to have to hear Spurs fans sounding like Liverpool fans after virtually every game. Barrack room lawyers defending a client is far from ‘clearly’ innocent makes my skin crawl.