The Callum McManaman tackle has escaped a lengthy ban and/or ruddy great fine thanks to the uncovering of an ancient FA decree stipulating randomly conceived rule changes every so often.
The tackle, of the ‘horror’ variety, left unfortunate Newcastle United defender Massadio Haidara in no doubt that he had just been horror-tackled all the way to those “out for the season” headlines – and yet the Wigan Athletic youngster may now celebrate evading punishment by dint of the following ruling, which was found quilled on papyrus inside a long-un-crowbarred-open concrete chest in the Dubious Goals Panel wing of FA HQ:
“Would you awfully mind tampering with the laws of the game every few months or so? It really winds the fans up, and although I probably shouldn’t be saying this, I bloody hate football fans.
“They patrol the streets on match days, and should a man be so unlucky as to be caught casting a glimpse in their general direction, he can expect to be subjected to torn lapels, top hat wedgies and a cravate so brutishly ruffled as to be quite unwearable.
“The players aren’t much better – ruffians, the lot of them. You’d think they’d never seen a pocket watch the way they gawp at finery when they’re coming through, and when eventually they’re privy to it they’re gallivanting around town, waxing their moustaches for the ladies and tugging at petticoats like you simply would not believe.
“Ghastly specimens, they are – and mercenaries, albeit in a military sense in many cases. Are there many wars at the moment? I was never good at history. Er, I mean the present.
“So yeah, **** the lot of them, basically. Go nuts. Sincerely yours, Ebenezer Cobb Morley.”
Although the FA’s top brass only got wind of the ancient decree last summer, it has been upheld throughout the ages without their knowledge by family lines of FA butlers, chefs, tea ladies and receptionists sneaking in at night, tippexing out rules and scribbling new ones in their place.
This means that McManaman is now free to go back to chopping down folk at his leisure, as long as the referee gets a good look at it and doesn’t see anything wrong with it.
He said: “Three cheers for nepotism!”
Magpies assistant boss John Carver and Wigan coach Graham Barrow have both been charged for misconduct, and for having really prosaic names.