If you were lucky enough to witness Super Kevin Davies batter and bruise defences like the good old days this past Monday night, as Manchester United beat a very unlucky Preston North End side by three goal to one, then you very well may have noticed England's captain/leader/hero/pride/lion Wayne Rooney take a little dive in the penalty area, which won his team a penalty.
The Red Devils had already scored two goals which arguably shouldn't have counted when Rooney was sent in on goal, then threw himself on the floor despite the onrushing Preston goalkeeper not touching him in the slightest. Rooney then claimed the ball and slammed it into the back of the net, all but sealing the win for his team.
This article isn't about the dive though, so I won't be screaming to the highest of heavens about how diving is destroying the English game and I also won't be defending Rooney's pathetic and blatant cheating to get his team the advantage. This short piece will be discussing, or at least venting some anger at, the bias which is clearly so prominent in the media, and in this instance the BBC.
Our dearest Bolton Wanderers crashed out of the FA Cup in the fourth round thanks to two devastating late Liverpool goals but, as I'm sure you'll all recall, there was a rather controversial penalty in that game too.
The White's only goal of the tie came from an Eidur Gudjohnsen penalty, which was (arguably) won by a dive from Wanderers whiz kid Zach Clough.
The backlash towards Clough on all fronts was quite brutal, on radio, TV and Twitter, it seemed like everybody was getting a dig in on the young lad, and how he was everything wrong with the modern game.
So much so that when I finally saw the incident in question I was aghast at how not-clear cut his supposed dive was. Martin Skrtel clumsily got sucked in by Zach Clough, who drew the challenge from the big defender, let in a leg and there was certainly contact made - however minimal it may have been. He may have gone down a little easy, granted, but I thought that the criticism Clough was receiving was massively exaggerated and unneeded.
But ultimately, if their views were more aligned with just wanting diving out of the game, then fair enough, I can understand that.
So imagine mine, and I think pretty much every Bolton fan's, surprise when a few weeks later in the FA Cup another player dived and won a penalty, but the player received no criticism at al. In fact, he was actually defended by some of the utter idiots that the BBC persist on hiring.
Martin Keown, who was struggling with the rules of the game all night, immediately came out with the classic "It's not a dive he's had to throw himself out of the way", later insinuating that Rooney deserved the penalty due to the intent of the goalkeeper. After the game Gary Lineker opened the discussion with the line of "certainly a degree of doubt" which I'm going to guess he was told to say by somebody else at the BBC, so we'll let him off. Phil Neville also defended Rooney's antics saying that Rooney just had to get out of the way, or he might have actually died.
However, it was England manager Roy Hodgson who came out with the best quotes of the night with pearlers like: "No not for me, I think he was just taking evasive action." After a bit more muttering Lineker pressed him with "but he didn't touch him Roy" and all Hodgson could muster back was "ah well."
The only one in the studio who had the actual bollocks to say it was a dive with any real conviction was Kevin Kilbane.
I just can't get over the complete double standards and contradictions when you contrast the Clough and Rooney incidents. One was practically commended for his dive, and the other had a witch hunt started against him. The reason being that one of them is the England captain who plays for Manchester United, the other is a 19-year-old from Bolton.
I shouldn't really be as surprised or annoyed about all this as I am, but it's infuriating how people who are payed actual money for their opinions on football can sit there and honestly defend an obvious dive.
Obviously Hodgson was always going to defend his captain, but the others should be ashamed for not saying it exactly how it was. The BBC's mantra is Educate, inform and entertain, perhaps they should start trying to be more informative and educational where football is concerned, instead of trying so hard to not piss off the big Premier League clubs, when they'll never get to broadcast a Premier League match anyway.
There's an institutionalised bias towards the big clubs in the media, there has been for quite some time, but it pisses me right off.