No Punishment for Callum McManaman’s Horrible Tackle


Wigan’s Callum McManaman has escaped punishment being handed down by the FA for his horrific challenge on Newcastle’s Haidara in Sunday’s Premier League match. No ban. No fine. Nothing.

It has happened again, yet another injustice in the world of Premier League football. Players and teams rely on the authorities of the game (the referees and FA) to do their job correctly and protect those playing the game. Instead they decided to serve up yet another reason for fans to feel slighted and angry.

In Sunday’s Wigan v Newcastle match Callum McManaman’s horrific challenge on Massaido Haidara was seen by many as one of the worst of the season. It doesn’t matter what “kind” of person he is, or even if there was malicious intent. The point is that it was a bad tackle. He went over the ball and smashed Haidara’s knee in what will surely end his season and could have career long implications for a young player.

I’m sure McManaman didn’t mean to do it. He is also a young player and is out there trying to show his manager that he is worth being played. He went for a ball that he probably shouldn’t have, and ended up going over and through the ball and into Haidara’s knee. It was a mistake on his part, but a mistake that should have been punished by the referee or linesman right there at that time.

Instead we are left still talking about this two days later and even worse, we are left continuing to talk about how the FA has let us down again. When will they learn? The sad thing is that this will be something that will trail McManaman. It’s not just going to go away like a red card more likely would have. Instead it will continue to come up and be stuck on him.

There have been many sad incidents in all of this. Wigan’s response to it borders on sickening for me. For Roberto Martinez and Dave Whelan to come out in such staunch support is annoying. I would feel much better if they could come out and admit he made a mistake and apologize for it. He did make a mistake. He went in for a tackle on a ball that was too high and he had his studs up. It wasn’t just a “coming together.” It wasn’t malicious, but it was definitely dangerous.

What needs to happen is for the referees to take a large portion of blame here, and not just Mark Halsey but that whole squad of EPL officials. The linesman claims to have seen the play and yet, he did nothing about it. This is shameful, almost as shameful as allowing a handball in the box to continue and lead to a game winning goal. Yes, that was allowed in the same match by the same linesman. It is shameful and needs to be dealt with publicly. Fans need to see that something is being done.

In the meantime I am left feeling that the authorities are toothless and not willing to make changes to the system that NEED to be made to advance the sport.

Stay tuned for more on referees in the Premier League.

Photo by: Michal Zacharzewski, SXC