Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Picture That Proves Ryan Babel Is a Twit. But I Can't Say I Blame Him

There's nothing quite like the FA Cup. Historical, timeless. And there's nothing quite like Twitter. Hysterical, timely. For Ryan Babel, a combination of these two great social forces has served to create quite a stir this weekend.

Babel, infuriated by the actions of World Cup final referee Howard Webb, a shy, self-effacing official, chose to post the picture you see here on his Twitter site, @ryanbabbel.

Only the sharp eyed would have seen his response to Liverpool's desperate 1-0 defeat at Manchester United in an action-packed FA Cup third round. It was only up for a few minutes, but the Football Association reckon that's enough, and are set to "investigate" the Dutchman's itchy twitter finger.

Babel couldn't resist having a dig at Webb, posting the picture of him mocked up in a United shirt and complaining: "And they call him one of the best referees. That's a joke."

After removing the offending image and twitter, Babel realised what an erm... twit he'd been. He said soon afterwards: "My apology if they take my posted picture seriously. This is just a emotional reaction after losing an important game. Sorry Howard Webb."

Very convincing Ryan, thanks. It was his namesake Giggs who scored from the penalty Webb controversially gave when Daniel Agger's challenged Dimitar Berbatov. I said at the time (as @nealcol on twitter, where else?) that it was dodgy. No mastermind required to see that.

To rub salt in the wounds for Anfield fans witnessing Kenny Dalglish's first game in charge following the departure of Roy "Woy" Hodgson, Webb then sent the legend that is Steven Gerrard off after 32 minutes for a challenge on Michael Carrick.

The game over signs immediately began to flash. Dalgish said afterwards the penalty decision was "a joke" and, predictably also bemoaned his captain's red card.

Dalglish himself, who sometimes needs subtitles to help with his raw Glaswegian, could be in hot water for his comments.

In full, he said: "The two decisions are important factors in the game, but if you went into detail about them it would take away from the commitment of the players.

"It's difficult to come here, they are top of the league and when you are down to 10 men and lose a goal in the first minute you need to show commitment, and the players did that and they had great support here today as well.

"If we can restrict the team at the top of the league to that, that bodes well for us.

"We also brought three young lads on to try and freshen it up as our guys had put in so much effort.

"I did not think the penalty was a penalty kick. The sending off....Is anyone who leaves the ground to get sent off now? The thing was that Howard Webb stepped away from the incident and then blew his whistle after one of our lads kicked the ball."

Despite an opening defeat and a far from impressive performance, Dalglish insisted: "For me it's a fantastic journey this next six months. And if they put as much effort and commitment into the cause as they did today, then they should be alright."

Though Babel was only used as a sub for the final half-hour, failing to ignite storming comeback, it's not hard to feel his pain. Personally, I think the FA probably need to fine the bloke a couple of week's wages.

But to be honest, on a weekend of great football, I suspect some Liverpool fans will be quite happy to see Babel show some passion after a pedestrian display from their side, even if it is only on Twitter.

Before his apology last night, the FA had already announced that they will "definitely look into this matter". No problem. With the 24-year-old currently being linked with Hoffenheim as the January transfer window creaks open, this may be his final act before departing our shores.

And his most memorable one. Good on yer, Ryan Guno Babel. After impressing everyone during Holland's Under 21 Euro triumph five years ago, he's hardly made a splash in a difficult period on Merseyside. Just 12 goals and 91 appearances. But at least you've left a mark. Twit.

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