The Michael Wood Column

Monday 23 September, 2002

Counting the cost of the Burnley game

Nicky Law stopped short of saying that he was wrong about Burnley and Dimitrios Papadopoulos, the Burnley forward who's diving got Mark Bower sent off, but he apologised for making the comments.

It's football etiquette of course. In the cold light of day even the rambunctious Law knows it's probably best not to upset too many other clubs. You never know where your next job will come from and with only 92 potential employees you can't scratch too many off.

However taking a look at what Burnley Football Club did to Bradford City on Saturday one would not be upset if Law, Gordon Gibb and Julian Rhodes went round Turf Moor with tyre irons.

Firstly Mark Bower. Papadopoulos cheated to get Bower sent off, no question about that in the mind of any reasonable observer. City are going to be without Bower for a game when the unappealable suspension for two yellow cards kicks in. Bower will join Andy Myers, David Wetherall, Andy Tod and Peter Atherton on the sidelines. City are not flush with deep squad and cannot afford to lose players unfairly. We will go into a game with a weakened team because Papadopoulos cheated.

Robert Molenaar may end up partnering junior Robert Morgan at the back and with the best of respect to the promising rookie Morgan, that could cost us points that we need badly.

Then we come to the points in the Burnley game. Burnley barely put two passes together all game. They were a poor team and even with ten men it looked like City would get the win. Hell when we had equalised and had nine the Claret's put an eleven man wall across the penalty area for fear of us nicking a win. If Burnley had not cheated, and they did, then we would have two more points.

It felt like a win at the end, it should not have, we were had.

Again those two points were vital to a club in our position. Financially we simply could not afford relegation. We need points.

Speaking of finance. Danny Cadamarteri was sent off after the ball hit Dean West in the face and West faked that he had been elbowed. I cannot even be bothered to go into what I think of people like Dean West.

City are trying to sell Ashley Ward to Portsmouth. The deal sees us keep paying the striker's wages but is worth it cause it could save us 750,000 over the rest of him contract.

If we are to be without Danny Cadamarteri, again through no fault of our own, then we either let Ward go into games two strikers down or we keep Ward for the five weeks until Cadamarteri's suspension is up at a cost of the club of around 45,000.

So because of Burnley on Saturday City could be out 45,000 that we could find much better uses for or we go into three games with only a single striker and risk nine more points to add to the two that the cheating clarets have already cost us.

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