Wigan Focus – Reflections on McManaman’s unpunished tackle

As the scream of pain was heard around the DW Stadium from Massadio Haidara, it guaranteed Wigan and their youngster Callum McManaman would attract some bad headlines this week.

As television replays quickly showed afterwards, the high tackle by the youngster on Haidara was reckless. Some fans on Twitter described it as the worst they had ever seen. Everytime the tackle is replayed, it looks worse.

McManaman didn’t seem to offer much remorse in the aftermath as the luckless Haidara was carried off the pitch on a stretcher. The Magpies’ January signing from Nancy was extremely fortunate to only pick up severe bruising from the challenge.

There have been question marks about what makes a good challenge, and whether tackling is a dying art of the game – especially when we have more and more players going down under minimal or no contact, and then acting like they’ve just been shot by a sniper.

There was nothing funny about this incident, although those who said it was deliberate from McManaman might want to look back at the history of tackling, as there have been worse challenges.

People must remember Nigel de Jong’s kung-fu kick on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final. How about Benjamin Massing’s awful tackle on Claudio Caniggia during the opening match of Italia 90? Then there was Ben Thatcher’s elbow into the face of Pedro Mendes during a Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium in 2006.

Plus, don’t forget Roy Keane’s horror challenge on Alf-Inge Haaland in the 2001 Manchester derby at Old Trafford – a tackle that ended Haaland’s career and one Keane even admitted to committing deliberately in his autobiography.

Lastly, there was the callous assault of Patrick Battiston by goalkeeper Harold Schumacher during the 1982 World Cup semi-final in Seville between France and West Germany.

All five of these were far worse than McManaman’s challenge on Haidara. However, it should go without saying the winger should have received a straight red card, and a lengthy ban from the FA. For the FA to not take any disciplinary action is a bad move. What kind of promotion is that sending out to youngsters watching the game live last weekend?

Wigan owner Dave Whelan is liked by many, but his comments about the tackle angered Newcastle even further. In this instance, if you can’t find the right words to say, don’t say anything. It doesn’t look like the Latics have disciplined McManaman either, unless this has been dealt with in a private manner away from the media spotlight.

The whole incident has been badly handled by several parties, but thankfully, Haidara will probably be back playing before the season’s end.

It overshadowed a lucky, but vital victory for the home side, keeping Wigan afloat and on the coattails of Aston Villa and Sunderland. The international break might have come at the right time for and McManaman as thoughts turn away from last weekend’s domestic action.

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