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Let’s talk about Sunday’s ugly incident with Rob van Persie

Dec 23, 2012, 11:09 AM EDT

You’ll surely hear more about this one, as Swansea captain Ashley Williams took out some frustration in a potentially dangerous way (with video):

You’ll surely hear more about this one, as Swansea captain Ashley Williams took out some frustration in a potentially dangerous way.

Manchester United star striker Robin van Persie had been fouled just outside Swansea’s penalty area during today’s 1-1 draw. With the Manchester United man lying on the turf, from just a few feet away Williams drilled the ball directly into van Persie’s head.

He absolutely knew what he was doing.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, frequently prone to overstatement, although possibly not here, had this to say: “Robin van Persie is lucky to be alive. It was a disgraceful act from their player today and he should be banned by the FA. Robin could have had a broken neck.”

That’s taking it a bit far, although not terribly so. It really was a terrible and potentially harmful response.

What Williams had to say: “I just cleared the ball with frustration and unfortunately it hit him in the head and he got a bit angry about it. Everything got a bit heated but it was all right in the end.”

Well, yes. But what if everything wasn’t all right? Just because van Persie wasn’t seriously hurt, that doesn’t make it OK.

The trick here is that mighty Manchester United is Manchester United. And Swansea isn’t.

That, plus the fact that van Persie is a globally recognized star, the Red Devils’ plum of last summer’s transfer season. By comparison, most fans would barely know Ashley Williams from Robin Williams.

So any punitive measure might be seen cynically as small team-vs.-big team stuff, as another case of Ferguson having his thumb on the scales.

But the FA should not let that be an issue. Players simply cannot treat one another’s safety with such disregard.

So, stay tuned for a potential suspension here.

Here’s the incident:


  1. tylerbetts - Dec 23, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Hey, at least the ref gave Van Persie a yellow …

    • Steve Davis - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      Yeah, I know van Persie did his part to instigate a near donnybrook, but good heavens, I would have thought common sense would intervene and the ref might have kept his card in his pocket on that one. (For van Persie, that is)

  2. dfstell - Dec 23, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Yeah…..Now did he not get sent off for that? Even you buy his argument that he didn’t *mean* to do that, it was still very dangerous. Actually, there was a LOT of snotty behavior from Swansea today. They got really pissy and frustrated in that second half. Lots of jabbering, lots of fussing at the ref, lots of cynical fouls….

  3. cornet76 - Dec 24, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Players have been red carded for dangerous tackles that missed, that never made contact.

    Intent is impossible to determine from afar but the idea is you did something dangerous to another player and the fact that you were lucky to NOT make contact is irrelevant. Regardless of intent a red card is issued to remind the player to be more careful next time.

    On that basis Williams’ actions could reasonably have gotten him a red card.The frustration excuse is horse manure since extreme frustration is something every pro faces and they don’t all blast balls are helpless opponents.

  4. starybyk3 - Dec 24, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Ferguson’s comments might possibly not have been an overstatement? Steve, really? At what point was van Persie’s life in danger? He got up a little too quickly to make anyone believe that he was ever in any danger.

    I’ll agree with Ferguson that Williams deserves significant punishment, but no one was about to die on that field yesterday.

    • cornet76 - Dec 24, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      Ferguson was exaggerating, but not by all that much. Would you have felt better if he said “received a serious concussion” instead?

      Trade places with RVP and see how you feel about it.

      • starybyk3 - Dec 25, 2012 at 8:52 AM

        I’d say that there’s quite a bit of difference between a concussion and being near death. Ferguson has always been a blowhard, pure and simple. His statement was nothing but BS.

        I’ve been kicked in the head while playing, so I have an idea of how van Persie felt.

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