There have been many occasions throughout the course of football history when altercations between opposing players have been rather fractious at times with claims of head-butts and subsequent over-reactions ensuing. Rarely if ever has there been a case where a footballer and a manager have exchanged such undignified actions during a top flight competitive game, but that was the situation in which Newcastle boss Alan Pardew became embroiled during the Premier League clash at Hull City.
Pardew is quite renowned for his touchlines spats as public arguments with Martin O’Neill and Manuel Pellegrini have proved and he was even guilty of a push on an assistant referee when it was adjudged that the ball had not crossed the line for a Newcastle throw. Only in January, Magpie forward Loic Remy was dismissed at Norwich when moving his head in the direction of Bradley Johnson whose subsequent actions were condemned by the Newcastle boss.
Although Pardew initially agreed with the referee decision with regard to Remy claiming that ‘you cannot do that on a football field’, he was aggrieved when a later appeal overturned the Johnson dismissal. Yet it would appear that the Newcastle manager has not taken heed of those uttered words on an afternoon when his team eventually secured a 4-1 victory at Hull.
Not for one minute can Pardew’s ‘head-butt’ actions be condoned and he has been correctly fined £100,000 by his club hierarchy, but however much he will be castigated within several sections of the media, the involvement of Hull player David Meyler cannot be ignored in the controversial incident.
As Pardew was standing on the touchline issuing instructions to his players while the ball drifted harmlessly past him, Meyler unceremoniously pushed him aside to retrieve the ball, a course of action which can only described as ungentlemanly conduct and totally unprovoked.
Words were obviously exchanged between the two protagonists, which then led to the head in the face movement by Pardew and later further pushing by Meyler before the intervention of touchline coaches and several more peace makers. It is possible that there may be some history between the two men as Meyler is an ex-player of Newcastle’s neighbouring rivals Sunderland but that should be no excuse for what happened.
Meyler only received a yellow card for his actions and may count himself fortunate to have remained on the pitch, but it is expected that Pardew will not be a fixture on the touchline for some considerable time.
He regrets his actions and has correctly apologised but it is still no example to set to his players or the watching public, but Meyler should also analyse his contribution and ask himself whether his conduct could be deemed worthy of a professional footballer.