Allardyce tires of Diouf the serial offender
Senegalese sinner fails to learn from past
Sunday 13 March 2005
There is one good thing you can say about El Hadji Diouf: he is keeping anger-management therapists busy. There will be few members of the Football Association disciplinary committees going hungry, either, while he plies his trade in England.
The bad things? He is so short in the senses department it is debatable whether he can take leave of them, and even in the less-than-pure ethics of a professional footballer he is beyond the pale given his inability to keep his spit in his mouth. Brainless, disgusting, you name it, the Senegalese striker is likely to be called it this morning.
His manager, Sam Allardyce, is unlikely to be rushing to his rescue either, because if there was one moment when Bolton Wanderers lost their FA Cup tie against Arsenal it was when Diouf lost it so completely he reduced his side to 10 men for 81 minutes of this quarter-final. Bang went the theory that he is curbing his temper; bang went the home side's chance of winning their first major trophy for 47 years.
"He shouldn't have done it, we all know that if you raise your arms you risk getting sent off," Allardyce said. "As usual, he's very disappointed, but you have to be able to put up with the intimidation that comes your way, particularly him because he leaves himself open to it. People know he reacts."
Allardyce did not say it, but he will be particularly distressed that Diouf was not even a central figure in the incident that led to the dismissal. Bolton appealed for a foul by Kolo Touré on Kevin Davies on the edge of the area and Diouf was looking for a penalty in a follow-up challenge by Philippe Senderos. The focus of the Bolton indignation was on the Davies incident, but when your temper is on a hair-trigger anything can happen and not so much a red mist as a pea-souper descended.
Diouf began to remonstrate with the referee but, as he moved towards Steve Bennett, goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who is normally the last man to spot danger, made a rare rush off his line. Whether he was trying to cap the volcano is debatable - Allardyce scoffed at the suggestion that Lehmann was playing peace-maker - but Diouf greeted the German by throwing his arm into his face.
"Lehmann pushed him and Diouf put his arm up to push him off," Allardyce said. "He made a meal of it but that happens in the game, everywhere, every single week. The biggest disappointment was that Diouf shouldn't have done it. If he was going to push him away he should have made sure he pushed him in the chest. Or just turned round and laughed at Lehmann when he put the ball in the net."
Diouf followed that up by getting involved in a mêlée in which he raised his hand to several Arsenal players, most of whom appeared to be trying to restrain him. Spitting mad you would call it, except that on this occasion Diouf at least managed to keep his spittle to himself. It was the only mitigating circumstance because, given the provocation, the referee, who missed the original incident but was informed by his assistant, had little option but to dismiss the player.
"It was a sending-off," Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, said. "Diouf plays every game on the edge, he is always like that. He hit Jens in the face. What can you say?"
Plenty if you are Allardyce, who ordered Diouf to go to a series of anger-management sessions that led to the Bolton manager describing the 24- year-old as a changed man after he had been the outstanding player against Manchester City on Monday.
"I think he has taken on board that he can't act like he did," he said, referring to the incident where his charge had spat in the face of Portsmouth's Arjan De Zeeuw earlier in the season. Things we wish we hadn't said.
Diouf's folly was more profound because Allardyce has done more than most to understand a player who is on loan at the Reebok after he became a £10m misfit at Liverpool. His seven goals this season had suggested the move might become permanent, but after this, Big Sam would be forgiven for changing his mind. Why bother when the man is such a liability?
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani and Gregorz Krychowiak were all linked but Wenger and Gunners fail on deadline day
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans devastated as they become only team in top 5 European leagues not to sign outfield player
David De Gea: Manchester United in bitter war of words with Real Madrid over failed transfer
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
Anthony Martial fee: 'Add-on' includes Manchester United signing winning the Ballon d'Or
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up