The Man U victory over Preston North End in the FA Cup 5th Round (Jubilate Deo – FL) has not only disappointed all right-thinking Leeds fans, who had hoped for a slice of history to be served up once again, reheated yet still as delicious – it has also highlighted the technical deficiencies of the recent spate of failed Leeds United penalty claims.
Leeds players, management, staff and fans – everybody, in fact, right down to Mrs Miggins in the players’ canteen – have been unanimous in their outrage and disbelief, as well as outraged disbelief and disbelieving outrage, over a series of penalty box incidents in which Leeds players have been either hacked down, sent flying, half-murdered, knouted, burned at the stake, keelhauled, kneecapped, scalped, napalmed, beaten about the head, given the Chinese burn or flayed alive – and yet no penalties have been given. It’s been nigh on unbelievable, said a Whites official disbelievingly. There’s been a couple of blatant handballs in there too, as well as an attempted coup by a well-known former chairman and something well dodgy involving hedge funds, traceable to the same source. Not once has the whistle sounded for a spot kick, despite the local casualty ward being overrun by near fatally injured Leeds players, all assaulted in the box, or something similarly embarrassing and painful.
But now new and highly convenient information has come to light regarding a little-known but currently preferred method of assessing penalty claim validity. The new guidelines are amply illustrated by the penalty awarded to Man U at Deepdale in last night’s cup tie. A top football administrator was kind enough to explain: “Firstly, as we can see on the TV replay, no contact whatsoever was made by the defender with the diving player, Sir Wayne Rooney of England and St George. This is a vital point – we can’t risk injury to England’s top diver. Secondly, the player not fouled was wearing a Manchester United shirt – again, this is absolutely pivotal to the success of these claims. And thirdly, we were drawing a ga… Ahem. I mean Mighty Man U were drawing a game we – they – needed to win. A combination of these factors will always mean a nailed-on penalty award, especially if Sir Wayne feels that he wants to score a goal. In cases of doubt, an independent panel can rule in favour of Sir Wayne using our extraordinary, super-special “TCP” – Tantrum Containment Protocol – (see picture above)”
“Clearly, the recent claims by Leeds United for penalties have fallen down when assessed by any and all of these three scrupulously fair indices. Furthermore, an examination of the penalties awarded against Leeds will reveal that no contact has been made in the majority of those cases, constituting an obvious prima facie case for penalty awards under the “It’s OK Cos It’s Against The Damned United” Provisions, 2007 (and ibid.) In most of those cases where Leeds were correctly penalised, these were technical matters where the ref simply had to award a penalty, or he may have had to caution the diving player – and risk handing an advantage to Leeds in contravention of prevailing League policy. You see? This was the clinching factor in Sir Wayne’s beautiful dive and claim at Preston – we were well aware of the strong desire among Leeds fans for Preston to win, and thus revive memories of that tragic occasion on January 3rd 2010. It was just Hobson’s choice, as you can’t fail to appreciate.”
Having got the nagging penalty mystery cleared up, it is still hoped, in some quarters at Elland Road, that an explanation may yet be forthcoming over apparent “fit and proper” anomalies. These are seemingly straightforward instances of perverse judgement whereby rapists, grand larcenists, porn barons and jailed money launderers are somehow deemed “squeaky clean”, technically speaking, instead of – as one might expect – “a right nasty, evil bunch of bent bastards who should be doing hard labour on bread and water at Devil’s Island Penitentiary, without the option” – to use another esoteric legal term. Our Football Administration source declined to comment on this point, explaining that he had an appointment for new glasses and his head polishing.
Shaun Harvey is bald and half blind.