Watching the excellent game between Fulham and Manchester City, I was struck by one incident. The Fulham equaliser was bizarre, when Vincent Kompany somehow deflected his clearance backwards over Joe Hart. If the object of sledging is to remove your opponent out of his zone of concentration then you might have thought that, in the absence of any goal scorer, the Fulham players might have congratulated Kompany. Not only would this have effected his morale, quite possibly he might have lashed out at one of them and been red carded. I’m sure both sides contesting the Ashes would have made the most of a similar misfortune. Yet nothing was said. Kompany refound his confidence, City their verve and they scored 2 more.
After the game I had a drink with Alan Tanner. He told me he used to clean the windows of a great Fulham player and character Bobby Keetch. Keetch was deputed to mark Fred Pickering, who made a big money move from Blackburn Rovers to Everton. Right from the start Keetch was riling him with such comments as:
” Did they throw in a car? Derek Temple got a car, top of the range Cortina, I heard.
No? No way to treat an international. What about the house? Did they pay the agents fees? They did for Jimmy Gabriel.”
Pickering did not have a kick all match. He did thank Keetch for showing such concern for a fellow pro. Keetch offered to refer the case to his friends in the PFA.