I am happy to admit that I got a couple of things wrong in the podcast: despite it being decidedly foolish of Garath McCleary to pile in on Robbie Savage, the ref did the right thing by producing a yellow card (the TV footage showed Savage falling down rather more easily than you might expect from someone of his height and build, and I am sure that the official took that into account). Amusingly, on the TV, it showed Tys doing his bit to wind up the Afghan Hound, who squared up to him then bottled it, leaving the Forest man laughing out loud! On the subject of Tys, despite it being foolish of him to hold the flag aloft in front of the Derby fans, I was wrong about Dean Leacock, who clearly went to Tys looking for a fight, rather than to try and alleviate the situation.
To concentrate upon the match, well done to the Reds who played really quite badly for most of the second half but Derby still barely managed a shot on goal; occasional commenter The Maradona of the Midlands pointed out to me that their first goal had nothing to do with Miles Addison’s attempt at an overhead kick, as Chrissy Cohen tried to head it out for a corner, except it hit Wes and dribbled in. Livermore was credited with their second goal, but it was clear to me that McKenna’s foot made the crucial intervention. As Rahoul mentioned in the podcast, MOTM goes to Billy Davies for stirring the fans up to get us over the finish line (Campo did his bit too).
Then there was what happened afterwards…
Just like Rahoul, having seen some more evidence and witness testimony from the Reds’ fans, it seems as though Tys was doing a lap of honour, starting at C Block. It was foolish to go in front of the Derby fans but he was not “waving” the flag as some meeja outlets have suggested, and he was beyond the six-yard line, so it is not as though he was just inches away from the Rams’ support.
The pictorial evidence suggests that although the Derby fans were not happy, there wasn’t too much danger of there being any violence. If it hadn’t been for Dean Leacock’s intervention, then Tys would have made it to Victor’s Veranda within a few seconds and been on his way. Instead, Leacock and Teale pushed Tys towards the Derby fans, which meant that the stewards and police had to intervene to prevent fans and playing staff mingling; to Robbie Savage, this action by your own team mates is what would have caused a riot, and I didn’t see you breaking it up.
In fact, not content with that, Savage then proves his hypocrisy and (dare I say it) stupidity:
People might think I have got a big mouth … but I know what is right and wrong. What happened at the end is nothing short of a disgrace. The kid [Tyson] has never even played in the Premier League and he is giving it all that.
Firstly, Robbie, what difference does it make where Tys has played? I don’t remember Premier League status being a prerequisite for celebrating a victory over your team’s local rivals (especially when you have scored the winning goal). Secondly, I seem to remember reports of a certain R Savage inciting the A Block with his scarf waving (in fact, a certain Kristian Commons joined in too, but that wasn’t provocation, was it?); so, Robbie, was that right or was it wrong?
Derby’s Chief Executive has also joined in:
… There were no complaints made by Nottingham Forest about the conduct of any of our players or officials last season, so we find it puzzling that issues regarding those fixtures are being aired now in relation to the events of this weekend.
Well, Mr Glick, as Billy Davies clearly stated immediately after the match:
I remember the last time Derby were here and Robbie Savage was waving a Derby scarf around. There was very little made of that and we hope it will be the same for this. We never complained about it or made a fuss because we understood that Derby should enjoy the victory they had here.
Does that answer your question? We didn’t like it but never made a big fuss about it, our players and fans did not react to the provocation, unlike your players and coaches (and let’s not forget that your coach had already been sent off) who waded in and started a big fight. I would also reasonably point out that it wasn’t particularly clever for Savage to point at his Derby badge and make gestures towards the BC Stand and Trent End after the incident with the G-Man (and others have suggested that he was making gestures during the wam-up). In the meantime, Billy has rather sensibly decided to call for clarity on what is and isn’t acceptable.
Since I started writing this post, I thought I would take another look at the BBC highlights and although the actual match coverage doesn’t give much away, Steve Claridge’s awful, imbalanced and uninformed analysis not only suggests that Tys is doing some kind of corner flag pole dance wearing NFFC underwear in front of the Derby fans, but the pictorial evidence shows that he was not waving the flag, and was barely even glancing at the away end. Some of their other footage clearly shows the Derby players pushing the Reds’ men towards the away end, and also clearly shows Bywater and a mystery Derby player (don’t know who as he was wearing a training top) throwing punches at Dex, who did well not to fight back apart from deflecting the blows.
Just to conclude, it is clear in my mind that there would be little made of this if it wasn’t for the obviously organised violence by “fans” at Upton Park earlier this week – this had NOTHING to do with that sort of disgraceful behaviour. Our blogging colleague nffcblog has come up with his message to the FA on this matter, and is also encouraging Reds’ fans to write to the FA (although I have tried it and they don’t make it easy). In the meantime, I think we should also take a minute to praise the Derby fans, and this well-balanced post accepts the role of possible provocation from both Savage and a handful of Derby fans (I didn’t hear any of the chants to which he refers).
As far as I am concerned, Tys was silly, the Derby players overreacted, but it was a storm in a teacup. Let’s forget it and move on.