Sunday 17th March. I remember it well, it was my first away game supporting Newcastle United and I was ridiculously excited.
I remember the game vividly. From Debuchy's disallowed goal; the incidents pre-match; Beusajour's opener; Carver's scuffle; McManaman's tackle; Santon's equaliser and Kone's winner which secured all 3 points for the Latics. I've never been so angry at a football match and never witnessed as much injustice in one match.
For starters, there was McManaman's horror tackle on Massadio Haidara. It was high, it was reckless, it was dangerous and it should've resulted in a red card. Mark Halsey did not give the lad his marching orders as he claimed to have not seen the incident. Fair enough. His assistant however had and did nothing about it. This act of incompetence meant that young Haidara was writhing in agony and the lad who had injured him had escaped without a yellow card to his name. What infuriated me the most was the ignorance of the Football Association who decided not to intervene out of their own stubbornness. Less than two months later, the FA intervened to punish Luis Suarez for biting Branislav Ivanovic. The correct form of action without a doubt. There double standards seem to be sending out a message. You're allowed to attempt to break someone's leg but biting is unacceptable. If the lad was punished like the media and fans demanded then he would have sat out Wigan's next 3 games. He would've sat out the FA cup semi final vs Milwall. Instead he went on to score guaranteeing a spot at Wembley.
As well as this, Kone's winner was quite clearly handball. It was visible from the away end -at the opposite end to the incident - and from first viewing on television. How can the referee and the linesman fail to see something so obvious. Was it not suspicious that every Toon player in the penalty area appealed simultaneously? Confidence is pivotal in football. The fortuitous win spurred them to defeat Norwich in their next game whereas the defeat hampered NUFC's chances of survival. I said pre kick off at the DW that whoever won would stay up and I'm praying that doesn't come back to bite me in the arse.
If Wigan stay up at Newcastle's expense I will be angry. Of course it's purely hypothetical but doesn't mean it's not a vaild point. I recall Michael Owen having a goal disallowed for United in relegation season in 08.