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Monday Moan: Player protests misguided

Monday 22nd October 2012 13:22

Ferdinand brothers: Did not wear T-shirts

Ferdinand brothers: Did not wear T-shirts

Mark Holmes discusses the Kick it Out protests, fan chants in two weekend derbies, and England's poor show in Poland in his latest Monday Moan.

Last week I listed an A-Z of irritations amid a quiet international week, but normal service resumes this week, with the Kick it Out protest, fan misbehaviour and England's performance in Poland attracting my ire.

Player protests misguided

A number of players decided not to wear T-shirts in support of the Kick it Out campaign over the weekend, apparently in protest at what they deem 'weak sanctions' from authorities regarding issues of racism over the past 12-18 months.

PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle also claims some players would like Kick it Out "to be more vocal and authoritative" in their campaign, but to me it is ridiculous not to support a group that is trying to help eradicate a problem.

I said on today's Football Podcast that it was the equivalent of someone refusing to wear a Children in Need T-shirt because there are still children in need.

Kick it Out have no say whatsoever in the sanctions the FA hand out - there were surely better ways for players to make a stand than refusing to support a group that is doing everything it can, with little power and funding.

That said, footballers are entitled to free speech just as much as the rest of us, and I certainly don't believe Rio Ferdinand or any other player should be punished by their clubs for not wearing the T-shirts, no matter how much their managers were embarrassed.

Don't jump on anti-football bandwagon

I have said many times in the past that I prefer not to write about incidents of fan misbehaviour, mainly because I think it's unfair for clubs to be criticised for the actions of one or a few fans.

I can only reiterate that view after the incidents in the Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough and Wear-Tyne derby at the Stadium of Light.

People will try to claim that football's image is taking a battering and that families are being put off attending matches, but the truth is that stadiums in this country are a far more hospitable place than they ever have been before.

Neither hooliganism nor racism are prevalent in the stands any more, and there are far more women, children and people of ethnic minorities watching football than ever before.

There will always be some unsavoury incidents in the stands, just as there will always be trouble in a town centre on a Saturday night. But don't let the actions of a minority convince you that football has a problem.

Hodgson approach killing enthusiasm

I have to confess I'm not the most passionate England fan, hence I watch them purely for entertainment - I don't have the support for them that I do my club, who I would watch every week regardless of how bad the football was.

Judging by England's performances since Euro 2012, I'm not going to be entertained by Roy Hodgson's side any time soon.

I had no problem with his pragmatic approach in Ukraine and Poland given the limited amount of preparation time he had, but his continued pramatism since then makes it a chore to watch England.

Against Poland on Tuesday Wednesday Hodgson started with no winger - it's bad enough that he deploys James Milner on the right without him doing away with a left-winger, too.

Tom Cleverley spent more time on that side of the pitch than anyone, a player that has now played in pretty much every midfield position for Hodgson since the Euros. A player that is not bad, but one who almost certainly wouldn't be in the team were he at a smaller team, and one who without a shadow of a doubt wasn't suitable to play the role Hodgson asked of him.

Remarkably, it was the attack rather than the midfield Hodgson altered for the last 25 minutes in Warsaw - it was clear the England coach was happy with a point, something he admitted afterwards.

Poland, however, are lower in the world rankings (54) than both Ukraine (42) and Montenegro (44), and should not have been treated with the respect Hodgson showed them with his team selection.

The hosts' left-back, Jakub Wawrzyniak, for instance, is a mediocre player that has never played permanently outside of Poland, yet Aaron Lennon remained on the bench throughout as Milner furrowed to little effect on the right.

Hodgson may well lead England to the World Cup finals in Brazil, but don't expect it to be entertaining along the way.

Let me know what has annoyed you over the past seven days, and remember you can find me on Twitter @Homzy.

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