Writer: Mehzeb Chowdhury
Date:Sunday May 3 2009
Newcastle United were condemned to relegation by referee Phil Dowd and his clueless assistants on a bleak day at Anfield.
Late on, in the second-half, United midfielder Joey Barton was sent-off for what looked like a forceful and wholly unnecessary challenge on Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso.
Alonso, who has been notorious for being at the heart of sending-offs this season, will undoubtedly be back for Liverpool next week, after putting in the performance of a lifetime at the Reds' home ground. He was stretchered off in the tie, but is it a coincidence that Rafa Benitez was signalling to his replacement Lucas Leiva to get ready to come on - only seconds before Alonso rolled on the ground as if he had been shot in the leg by a .32 calibre weapon? Probably not, but who cares at this point, right?
The Spaniard who is rumoured to be on his way out of Anfield should hop on a plane immediately and look up Executives from Warner Bros. or Universal Studios to further his acting career which has been absolutely stellar this season.
Alonso has been involved in over half-a-dozen sending-offs this season, and it was no surprise that it was him who was involved in the latest incident.
Reds boss Rafa Benitez has confirmed that Alonso will be fit 'in the next few' days and should be ready for next week. Suddenly, all the drama surrounding the challenge doesn't seem so warranted, does it? Barton's reputation preceded him on the day, it appears.
Benitez also refused to comment on the tackle, and said that 'it was too far away.' It does beg the query: When has Rafa Benitez ever shrugged away from making a comment? One may think long and hard about this one. He most likely knows, his player has a nasty reputation of having players sent-off (more than six times this season alone!) and it was best for him not to comment.
Alan Shearer's frustration at Barton was justified, but only a novice manager would lash-out at his own player in front of the media. It just goes to show the path Newcastle United are on at the moment - run, governed, and coached by amateurs.
If the tackle had been on any other member of the Reds, no one would have raised an eyebrow, and it would have been deemed an error in judgment, but it is Xabi Alonso after all, and like Joey Barton, he is developing a nasty reputation as well, the former's being of sending people off. Once, twice, thrice - okay acceptable. But six times? That's not a coincidence. It's a pattern.
Date:Sunday May 3 2009
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