Are Football Fans Turning the Game Soft?

Simon JohnsonCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2008

Do fans really want to take all contact out of modern football?

Are we to dispose of all challenges that carry the slightest bit of "hardness" about them?

It would seem so to this writer.

Granted, we want to keep the "leg breakers" out of football and tackles that go over the top or are of a violent nature.

It seems nowadays though, you cannot put in a hard challenge on a player without the media and managers making an international incident of it.

Looking at the tackle on the weekend of Kevin Davies on Gael Clichy specifically, Davies went in hard but clearly won the ball before his trailing leg caught Clichy's shin causing him to leave the field and go to hospital for scans.

It was one of those injuries that was unfortunate, not the result of malice, Davies received a yellow card and that should be the end of it.

Fair enough if people focus on the more mailicious incidents but why blow the nothing ones out of all proportion.

No need for managers, fans or the media to blow it up at all.  And this is coming from someone who is an Arsenal member and has played the game.

Yet people cannot seem to let these incidents go and always have to be up in arms about every little incident, perhaps this is due to Eduardo's injury last season. For the record, I believe that tackle was malicious and deserved the coverage it received.

Compare for a moment, the Davies tackle to the following incident in the Australian Football League Preliminary Final last Saturday night.

Hawthorn played St. Kilda in a sudden death final.

Hawthorn midfielder Luke Hodge copped a knock early in the game and had suspected cracked ribs.

He was spitting up blood in the first quarter and had to be checked by the doctor at the break but opposition players still came up and hip-and-shouldered him in the rib area.

An ex-AFL footballer and commentator, Michael Voss, was asked "What would you be doing if you were playing on Luke Hodge?"

"I would be hitting those ribs as often as I could," replied Voss.

I understand wholeheartedly that AFL is more physical than proper football but I use this to illustrate a point.

This incident was not hyped at all in the media, or by either coach...It is part of the game and I would hate to see it removed from AFL football.

It is the same deal in the Premiership (although maybe less physical), hard but fair tackles are part of the game.  They should not be removed or blown out of proportion by the media, managers, player, or fans.

Players are made of sterner stuff and can wear a tackle if it's fair and not intended to injure. Clichy himself has put in a few hard challenges in his Arsenal career.

Fair enough, get rid of the malicious and violent tackles that are meant to injure but you have to leave some physicality in the game or else we may as well watch netball.