Ian Hart: Horror tackle deserves increased suspension

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I don’t know what was worse – Miguel Britos’ ‘tackle’ on Albion’s Anthony Knockaert, the Uruguayan defender’s reaction to the subsequent red card, or the sheer look of disbelief on the Watford supporters, sitting right in front of the incident, as their player received his marching orders.

Actually, clearly I know the worst aspect of the whole chain of events, the tackle. Described by BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks as a challenge he hadn’t seen for 40 years, it was disgusting.

I would have been disgusted if an Albion player had done it, thankfully Britos didn’t fully catch Knockaert, had the impact been full on he could have ended his career.

The violent conduct dismissal carries an obligatory three game ban but given the severity of the situation, backed up by the extensive TV footage, is now the time for The FA to make a stand?

Would anybody, other than the player and possibly his club – although I doubt the Hornets were exactly turning cartwheels at the conduct of their defender – raise any objections if the FA upped the suspension to nine games? Too severe? Not really given that it could have permanently crocked a fellow professional. There’s no place for a challenge like that in football, be it in the top flight or the Sunday League. An extended ban, coupled with an increased fine, sends out a clear message.

As for the rest of the game, my first ever Premier League away day with the Albion, I left with feelings of what might have been. We learned a couple of weeks before against Man City, mistakes will be punished. By the same token at this level, perhaps more than any other, chances when they come along must be taken. The Albion played well, had chances, hit the woodwork twice, played ten men for much of the game, yet didn’t come away with all three points.

That aside, we’re off the mark. Early days I know but we’re out of the relegation zone.

Clearly as the transfer window shuts later today, a new striker is a must. With all due respect to Tomer Hemed, whose contribution to the Albion’s success last season can’t be understated, he’s not of Premier League quality. If the Albion had someone of Premier League ability up top on Saturday we might have been coming home round the M25 with all three points. But all in all, the first point is on the board, just another 40 to go...

It was Abraham Lincoln who said “You can fool some of the people all of the time”, while PT Barnum stated “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

For obvious reasons neither of them were in Las Vegas this weekend, but their iconic words certainly struck a chord. Hands up, I’m as guilty as the next man, sucked in by some incredible and extremely clever hype, I paid £19.95 expecting an exciting contest.

What I got instead was a true sporting legend, setting a record that will be never be beaten, in a contest he could have won at any time he wanted in the ten rounds. He was against a spirited opponent, clearly one of the world’s greatest sporting characters, but a man so out of his depth he made the hapless Olympian swimmer ‘Eric the Eel’ look like Michael Phelps.

Fair play to Conor McGregor for managing to get in a situation that earns him $100m, and sets his family up for life, but the ‘noble art’ it certainly wasn’t. All orchestrated by Floyd Mayweather and his team, fair play, job done, record set, mega money earned. I’m sure wherever he was, PT Barnum would have looked on in admiration.

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