The following article was wrote last week while the system was down and was appropriate at the time!
I, like any Pompey fan, now rate Zokora as much of a diver as Robert Pires, when his prima ballerina antics cost Portsmouth two valuable points at Highbury. I live with a die-hard Tottenham fan, who flat out refuses to concede that Zokora dived, maintaining Martin Jol`s pathetic excuse of ‘he lost his balance`. (I don`t think I`ve ever lost my balance so hard that my legs and arms flew up in the air like I`ve been shot, but hey, who am I to judge?)
The resistance of nearly all Tottenham fans to acknowledge they have a cheater in their midst made me absolutely furious, until I actually sat down and thought about it. Would I really ever turn on a Portsmouth player if he ‘fell` in the penalty box, especially in such a blatant manner? Part of me wants to say yes, that Pompey are a good and noble team lost in a sea of teams winning by hook or by crook. I imagine a lot of other Pompey fans like to believe the same.
But think of it this way. If Kanu fell in the penalty area, and you saw that he had literally thrown himself to the floor, and the referee called you out to stand in the centre circle, to decide in front a of 20,000 fans, would you say that he dived? Of course not. Which fan in their right mind would give up the chance of a goal (especially a pivotal one) just so they can maintain the moral high ground?
I truly believe that the Pompey squad is devoid of any ‘proper` divers (the likes of *cough*Robben*cough* spring to mind), and that`s definitely something to be proud of. Some players, such as Thierry Henry might fall a bit too easily sometimes, but his skill precedes him, and often the decision is given his way. But the difference is he doesn`t look for the dive in the way that some teams do.
So there isn`t a short term answer, or really an effective long term answer. The only options are to start using video evidence, which is a much debated topic, or for referees to start brandishing the yellow cards with almost militant ferocity, so anyone even suspected of diving will think twice. Unfortunately, video evidence could destroy the flow of the game as we know it, and yellow carding everyone means that a lot of legitimate fouls will go unpunished.
So next time a player dives against Pompey (and they will) remember: football is football, and diving has (unfortunately) become a part of the beautiful game. Hopefully one day the rough English tackler will flourish again, and the dainty European footballers will know what a proper tackle is, rather than acting like they`ve been shot in the penalty area.
He will be writing two articles a week, one on a Monday with his view on Saturday`s match and the other on a Thursday, of a topic of the reader`s choice. If you have any suggestions of an article topic you want to see, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org