Saturday 16 December 2017

John Giles: No excuse for Cisse or Evans in spitting row

Newcastle United's Papiss Demba Cisse squares up to Manchester United's Jonny Evans
Newcastle United's Papiss Demba Cisse squares up to Manchester United's Jonny Evans

SO now it's spitting. It's bad enough that many use their mouth to bring football into disrepute with words. Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse should be ashamed of themselves.

I see that Evans has issued a denial and Cisse an apology. Sometimes you really do have rub your eyes hard to make sure they are seeing what your brain thinks it's seeing.

From my view, both men should be apologising and I've a few other candidates who should be begging forgiveness and Paul Scholes is at the top of the list.

Read More: Cisse faces long ban after admitting spitting but Evans to fight charge

Like any of these situations, you have to make a judgement on the evidence. I saw the incident and I'm in no doubt that Cisse deserves punishment but I don't take the view that Paul Scholes took about Evans.

He spat and because he was so close to his opponent, I can only reach one conclusion.

It is very clear that Cisse, for one, believed that he was the target and these was nobody closer to the incident than him.

But Scholes seems to know better. He was a great footballer and a kind of anti-hero when he was playing. He hated the hype, hated the media and very rarely said more than a few sentences to journalists.

As a pundit, he has been hard-hitting and not afraid to ruffle feathers but I have to say, he didn't cover himself in glory when he was covering this game. Nor indeed did Steve McManaman.


They both noted the spitting incident and for Scholes, Evans' spit was a casual, throwaway thing with no intended target while Cisse's was deliberate.

McManaman seemed to agree but eventually added a rider saying that Evans was out of order if his actions were deliberate.

I've got to admire Scholes' ability to see into both men's heads. He's not just an astute pundit, he's a clairvoyant.

How does he know that Evans didn't mean anything by his spit or that Cisse did? It seems to me this might be an example of a pundit who hasn't quite cut the chord with his old club and his old pals.

McManaman at least offered the possibility that both men deserved censure but like Scholes, he had no special knowledge so I can only assume that he was leaning towards the local lad, which as far as I am concerned would be unforgivable.

Spitting in any circumstances is low budget stuff. Nasty, ill-judged and universally condemned, it is only beaten into second place in the all-time list of cowardly acts in football by biting. Luis Suarez has that one to himself for the moment.

Apparently, Evans is "not the kind of person" but I'm not entirely sure what Scholes means by that. Is he suggesting that Cisse is that kind of person?

It seems to me that Cisse reacted to someone spitting at him.

Just as Scholes had a duty to the game when he was a player, a duty he fulfilled to the letter, he has a duty to readers and watchers to be completely independent.

There is no other right way to do punditry and Sky seemed to realise that now. Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville tell it like it is most of the time.

I have a problem with Neville's England connections but he hasn't hesitated to criticise Manchester United when they've deserved it and Carragher has not shirked the job of exposing Liverpool's failings.

Scholes gave Evans a pass for this one and he was completely wrong to do that. It added another little layer of hypocrisy to the steady corruption of the game.

Neither Louis van Gaal or John Carver saw the incident which didn't surprise me one bit but they both have a decision to make. Should they each discipline their own player for a spitting offence? I would if was running either team but I'm not sure they will.

I know some people might wonder why I go on about these kind of things so much and why it is so important to call people out on their actions.

I believe that football is slowly but surely rotting from within and that many of the principles which stand as a sturdy platform against the world are being eroded on a daily basis.

It is vital to hold the line and vital that we highlight bad behaviour and hypocrisy with equal vigour.

If we don't, the game will ultimately become a consumable, shaped by marketing men who always look for lowest common denominator. We really do not want to go there.

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