By March 22, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

Siu’s View: McManaman the Tackler, Owen the Retiree, Beckham the Ambassador and Rio the Pundit


In my weekly column on SWOL, I take a look back at the weekend’s English Premier League and domestic cup action and the talking points that it throws up, as well as any significant news related to English football at large. Follow me @theredarmchair for regular updates throughout the week.

Okay, so maybe it’s not really that weekly of a column. In case you haven’t noticed, I already posted one this week looking at, among other things, Round 30 of the EPL and yes, Rio Ferdinand. But there has been so much going on in English football that I just couldn’t resist. So here are the breaking (sorry, Massadio Haidara) news of the week thus far.

Callum McManaman (Google Creative Commons)

Callum McManaman’s Tackle of the Season

I refrained from commenting on the season’s horror tackle in my previous write-up because the FA verdict hadn’t been issued yet. But now that it has (that Wigan’s Callum McManaman won’t be charged retrospectively for his knee-high challenge on Newcastle’s Massadio Haidara), it’s time to ponder out loud.

Which means: What on earth was McManaman thinking? Whether there was intent or not, this was exactly the type of challenge that endangers people’s careers and potentially their livelihoods. So let me add this: What on earth were Roberto Martinez and Dave Whelan thinking? It would’ve been all well and good if, in the aftermath of the game, Wigan came out, acknowledged how bad the tackle was and issued a public apology, but a poor PR exercise saw both the Wigan manager and chairman support McManaman’s nasty challenge. Whelan’s comments in particular, claiming that winning the ball made it a clean tackle, were almost riling.

At least the FA seem to privately recognize the need to revise their rule to not issue punishment after a match if the referee saw the incident. That’s a start.

Michael Owen (finally) retires

This Tuesday, Michael Owen announced his retirement from professional football at the end of the current season, bringing down the curtain on what has been, to us fans, a strangely anticlimactic and unsatisfying career. We can only be saying this, of course, given the promising and explosive start he had to his career as a footballer for both Liverpool and England. And what a promising and explosive start it was.

I’ll leave the tributes and career highlights to the rest of the Internet, which has gone overboard in their tributes and memories of Owen, but for me, personally, the greatest accolade I can give him as a football fan is that he is the player who got me into football in the first place. Michael Owen was the striker that I wanted to be on the playground, that I wanted to see week in, week out at Liverpool, that, in time, led me to realize Steven Gerrard’s greatness. (Yes, I’m a Liverpool fan.)

As a football fan, I don’t find myself exhibiting the tribalism that seems to exist (plague?) much of the footballing world, so I don’t harbor as many grudges towards Owen for joining Manchester United. I’ll be honest and say that my personal memories have come flooding back while reading the tributes to Owen. But it’s just sad that my overriding emotion is sadness at a great player not truly enjoying a top-notch, world-class career.

Beckham-watch: Dave’s China Tour

While Owen is putting the finishing touches to his career (sadly not on the field), another England legend is out and about. David Beckham is in China this week as part of his assignment as the Chinese Super League’s global ambassador, tasked with promoting the domestic game to its own audience and generally raising Chinese football’s profile. Well, raise it he certainly does, but how does he improve the quality on show in the world’s most exciting and profitable football market? Put simply: He should actually join a CSL team and start his work from the ground up. I’ve pondered this at length here.

It’s Rio Ferdinand again!

Oh my. Rio Ferdinand makes it back on this column for a record third time in a row. If you think he was being completely disrespectful to Roy Hodgson by turning his back on an England call-up just days after he said he would show up, think again, because he’s one-upped himself. Rio’s latest antic is to fly to Qatar, a 15-hour round-trip, to commentate on the England vs. San Marino game that he was supposed to appear in. Exactly the footballing reasons Hodgson had in mind last summer.

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