Filed: Tuesday, 5th April 2016
By: Paul Walker
Well you could have knocked me down with a feather.
The FA have overturned Cheikhou Kouyate’s red card and I could not be happier. In fact I cannot think of a time I have ever been so pleased to be wrong!
There are some explanations many top referees - Mark Clattenburg for one - will need after our midfielder won his appeal against the dismissal that cost us victory against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
But for now, just celebrate that for once the much-maligned FA have come down in our favour over something. It’s about time.
I knew when I opened my mouth on Monday to dare to suggest that the red card fitted into FA regulations, and I couldn’t see any grounds for an appeal, that I would get it in the neck. Referees, though, will want to see the fine print of this decision.
I also knew that I would upset 99.9 per cent of the West Ham nation with my piece. I was not surprised, though, that many people who commented only read what they wanted to read from my article.
I did not in any way suggest there was a comparison between Kouyate’s challenge and James McCarthy’s wicked assault on Dimitri Payet back in November. I only pointed out that the connection, fleetingly, was that both challenges had an element of two feet off the ground.
That, although ignored by the referee for the Everton game, is the trigger for a red card. Sky’s Dermot Gallagher went as far as to say that the connection between Kouyate and Dwight Gayle was a red card, adding that is what top referees are taught as soon as they get anywhere near the top flight.
But that we have been successful in our appeal is probably due to the fact that when Kouyate got to Gayle, one of his feet was firmly on the ground and there were no studs showing.
I couldn’t be more pleased for him. He has been magnificent this season, the heart and engine room of our side, and as close to Payet for Hammer of the Year as it is possible to get. He’ll just have to start taking ridiculously-tough free kicks to get himself ahead.
And it was about time we had some luck. Everything has gone against us of late. And don’t forget now that we have overturned four red cards in 14 months. Something for the FA and referees panel to think about there.
We now can say, of course, that the (non) penalty conceded at Chelsea cost us two points. And the week later, Kouyate’s red card cost us a goal - scored less than ten minutes after - and two more points lost. Just look where we would be with those four points to our name.
And look where we would be if Manchester United’s FA Cup quarter-final equaliser had been ruled out, as it should have been!
If these misfortunes do not fire up our team for the next three games - against Arsenal, the Man Utd replay and then Leicester - then nothing will. It should be an incentive, a siege mentality really, to give us the end of season this club deserves.
Welcome back Cheikhou, It’s like you had never been away. So great to be wrong, isn‘t it? So can I come back from Australia now?!
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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