I have a lot of respect for Stuart Pearce and I can understand what he is trying to do by talking to the media and shielding Ben Thatcher, but the fact is that this is not the first time the Manchester City defender has done something like this. He may be a nice guy but if you execute pre-meditated assault on a player AND you have a history of doing so, being sorry is not enough – heck, it’s not even an option.
Believe me, Thatcher is very, very lucky to have gotten away with that elbow on the pitch. If he had done this to a Manchester United player the team would have mobbed him during and after the game.
And I expect backlash here, with people telling me stories of Rooney and Roy Keane. Listen – Keano’s deliberate tackles are not condonable, and they can never be accepted as part of the game. Similarly, you cannot accept that pummelling an opposition player like this can be justified as being part of a contact sport. It’s ridiculous, and while I doubt that the police should get involved the player MUST get a serious ban.
The referee (Gallagher) is going to be demoted to the Championship because he only gave the player a yellow card. Demoted! And what about the player himself then? What punishment is there for assault here?
To the FA: Please, for once, don’t hide behind officiousness and legalese – take action and resolve this as soon as possible.