Putting your head even remotely close to an opposition player’s head is probably a bad idea unless you’re challenging for a header, says former referee Graham Poll.
Queens Park Rangers manager Neil Warnock reacted exasperatedly to referee Neil Swarbrick’s decision to give his captain Joey Barton a red card following a tête-à-tête with Norwich City’s Bradley Johnson that looked unlikely to result in an affectionate peck on the cheek.
Although replays showed that Barton had not in fact butted Johnson, Poll has questioned the wisdom of going head-to-head with an opponent at all given the opportunity presented for playacting, the officials’ lack of access to instant close-up replays and the laws in place that stipulate in no uncertain terms that a ‘Glaswegian kiss’ should always result in a sending off.
Poll told Football Burp: “It’s very simple – don’t put your head against an opponent’s. Instructions don’t get any more straightforward than that.
“I’m sure that two men as intelligent as Joey Barton and Neil Warnock could appreciate that it’s not hard to avoid getting mugged off in such a manner as long as you don’t lay the trap out in front of you like a suicidal mouse.
“If Joey Barton put his head in an alligator’s mouth, and the alligator bit his head off, he couldn’t very well go around blaming the zookeeper for not filling the alligator full of tranquiliser darts before the damage was done.”
He added: “Because he’d have no head.”
Meanwhile, Barton Tweeted: “’I could have been wild and I could have been free/But Nature played this trick on me’ #shouldhavedeckedthec*** ”