The way West Ham demanded a review of the FA’s decision to uphold Andy Carroll’s ban and threatened to take legal action over the striker’s red card is yet another embarrassing chapter in the club’s recent history.
The owners are constantly saying they are West Ham fans and, in this case, that is exactly how they reacted. David Gold and David Sullivan are supposed to have the presence of mind to make careful, calculated decisions about what is best for West Ham as a club and a business. Instead, they often let their hearts rule their heads and go rushing in with rash decisions like fools.
There is no way West Ham would have won any second appeal or legal case after the first appeal of Carroll’s red card was thrown out. If the FA had reversed their decision at that stage based on the Hammers’ threats, it would have compromised the entire decision-making process in the English game. Every ruling a referee made on the pitch could then have been questioned again and again by the club feeling a negative effect as a result of that decision, and there is always one.
Luckily, the FA again upheld Howard Webb’s decision to send Carroll off against Swansea and West Ham (finally) accepted it, thereby ensuring that the referee; not the players, managers, fans, or club owners; remains in control of football matches in England.
The FA statement said: “An independent arbitration tribunal convened under FA Rule K has dismissed a legal challenge brought by West Ham United and Andy Carroll in relation to the red card received by Carroll in the match between West Ham United FC and Swansea on 1 February 2014.
“The independent tribunal resolved that there was no serious issue to be tried and also awarded The FA its costs.”
West Ham’s own statement, released on the club’s website, said: “Whilst West Ham United are obviously disappointed at the decision, as we have made clear throughout, we respect the rules of football and shall abide by them.”
It was more than understandable when West Ham appealed Carroll’s sending off the first time due to the harshness of the red card given by Howard Webb. Carroll did seem, after all, to only brush Chico Florres’ hair with the back of his arm after they had become entangled following an aerial challenge. However, the brashness in the way Carroll swung his arm around was seen as violent conduct by Webb and the England striker was given his marching orders.
Of course, Carroll’s superb performance against Swansea, up until the card, was reason enough for West Ham to appeal the decision to ensure he could remain available for selection in the upcoming games against Aston Villa, Norwich and Southampton. The England international was a menace to the Swans’ defence and brought the best out of his teammates, none more so than captain Kevin Nolan, who bagged a brace. Sam Allardyce and his men will certainly miss Carroll while he is serving his ban.
But another negative aspect about West Ham’s desperate scramble to reverse Howard Webb’s decision was the message it must have sent to the players now responsible for filling Carroll’s position spearheading the Hammers’ attack. All it would have just said to Carlton Cole and Marco Borriello is that they simply do not measure up to the number 9.
Hopefully, now that the Hammers have accepted Carroll’s fate and confirmed he will serve his ban, all of West Ham’s players, staff, and fans can focus all of their attentions on staying in the Premier League this season – no mean feat given their league position (18th) and poor form.