Canavan’s column - March 21, 2013

PUSH COMES TO SHOVE: Callum McManaman, far right, looks on as players and officials argue at half-time in the wake of his horror tackle
PUSH COMES TO SHOVE: Callum McManaman, far right, looks on as players and officials argue at half-time in the wake of his horror tackle
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I’M in a minority when I say it, but I love the Football Association.

No other such high-profile official body is prepared to make an absolute laughing stock of itself with such regularity and for that I salute them.

The decision to take no action against Wigan’s Callum McManaman for what can be described, for once without exaggeration, as a horror tackle in the weekend’s Premier League game with Newcastle is astounding.

Because one of the officials witnessed it (and by it I mean McManaman going in karate-kick style on an opponent and almost smashing the bloke’s kneecap into smithereens) but didn’t take any action at the time, the FA says it does not have the power to take retrospective action.

If ever there was an example of a rules-is-rules attitude at the complete expense of commonsense then this is it.

Forget retrospective action undermining the officials – if one or more of the officials did spot it and didn’t take any action, they deserve to be undermined.

The player has to be banned for three games for dangerous play. It was a terrible tackle and this nonsense about him possibly getting a touch on the ball first is irrelevant – McManaman’s challenge was downright dangerous. For the FA to do nothing continues its unblemished reputation for being absolutely toothless.

Oh, hang on a moment, I’m being unfair. They did take some action – charging Newcastle assistant boss John Carver for his reaction.

In other words, the FA is saying it’s OK to rob a shop but wrong to chase after the robber.

Mind-boggling but sadly – where our Football Association is concerned – very predictable.

Surprise? That’s a bit rich

HEARTWARMING story of the week goes to the British man who paid £240,000 for a ballgown worn by Princess Diana as a “surprise” for his wife.

The couple were having lunch at London’s Dorchester Hotel (I think we’re getting a vague idea about the type of lifestyle they lead) when the auctioneer called to say the offer had been successful.

“My wife and I toasted the news with champagne,” said the man. “She didn’t know I’d made an offer on the dress. I did it as a surprise for her.”

Actually, for someone with this fella’s obvious wealth, I don’t think that is much of a surprise.

I reckon it would have been much more of a surprise if he’d stood up at dinner and said: “Darling I’ve bought a council house in Doncaster and we move in next Friday,” before announcing he’d given their speedboat and collection of original Lowry paintings to the local Oxfam shop.

As it is, very rich man spends a fortune on something quite unnecessary – not much of a surprise there.

Ears why I shave no more

RESEARCH from someone with too much time on their hands reveals that men, on average, change their look only three times in their life.

This seems wildly optimistic to me but then again I am the kind of person who spends very little time in front of a mirror.

With a face like mine, I find it’s best not to.

I have had the same hairstyle throughout my life – unkempt.

I tell a lie. The one occasion I have done something a little radical is when, during my teenage years, I decided to have my head shaved.

I thought it would look cool but unfortunately had forgotten about my ears. They stick out a bit.

For the six months I had my head shaved, my sisters called me FA Cup. Hurtful.

That, going off on a tangent, reminds me of a joke my dad used to tell.

Did you hear about the fella who tried to become the first man with no arms and legs to swim the English Channel? He almost made it – but 25 yards from France he got cramp in his ears.

All the way to Peterborough and all I got was a rash...

THIS may surprise many but I was nominated for an award last week. For journalism. I know, I was shocked too.

Even more flabbergasting was the fact I made it to the final two so had to travel to Peterborough and stay in a swanky hotel (swanky because by the sink in the bathroom there was ‘thyme, lavender and rosemary hand lotion’ ... which actually caused me to come out in a rash that’s yet to disappear several days later).

I was at this awards do because my editor, unbeknown to me, had sent the judging panel what he considered to be my best six articles over the previous 12 months.

I don’t wish to bite the hand that feeds me but that’s a bit of a cheat, really. It’s like an edited highlights package and, let’s be honest, even Stoke-West Brom would look exciting if you chopped it down to two minutes. Anyway, there I was, at this posh do, feeling very uncomfortable in a suit I last wore at my grandad’s funeral in 2007, when the time came for the winner of the award to be announced.

My name and the name of the lad I was up against flashed on the big screen. Was this the moment I’d finally have something other than my Unsworth County Primary School 1986 Chess Champion medal to stick on the mantelpiece?

“So to the two candidates for journalist of the year,” said the announcer to the hushed room.

“First Andrew Sanderson of the Edinburgh Evening Times. Andrew’s writing this year has been a tour de force. He has single-handedly changed the face of the political landscape in Scotland with more than 60 front page exclusives that have forced ministers to do U-turns galore and have improved healthcare for every man, woman and child north of the border.

“The other candidate is Steve Canavan of the Blackpool Gazette, who went same-sex ballroom dancing and wrote a song about the local football club.

“And the winner is…”

Before he’d even finished, I’d turned to the waiter and ordered a beer.

It was free and my hands felt lovely and soft from the lavender cream, so every cloud...