Very interesting to read Doctor Evil's comments about New Year's Eve parties allied to his comments about how "unusual" it is to have so many players collecting yellow cards in a game when they are already on four cards and a game away from suspension!
Allardyce makes it crystal clear that a player would be putting his career at risk if he "slipped out" to a piss up to see in the New Year, and the fact that he makes this comment suggests to me that he has his suspicions.
How else can you explain Nolan's rake on Zigic on the half way line, right in front of the referee? The foul was brutal and, given he was one card away from suspension, utterly senseless and irresponsible. Captain Fantastic? Nolan should have been stripped of the armband on the spot, with Allardyce marching on to the pitch and ripping it from Nolan's arm. "Captain Fantastic? Captain Lazy Stupid Fat Arsed K.uN.t more like! Here JT, you're my captain for the rest of the season. And if you want to stay in the team KuNt, start running and try passing the ball to teammates!"
And then Faubert "joined in the party" exactly as I predicted in my post on December 15 when I wrote, "So, expect a slightly late tackle from Faubert to secure him a day off after Christmas". Mind you, he had been chippy all game, apparently trying to provoke a yellow card from the off as he nibbled at the ankles of opponents in front of the linesman, attempted a piggy back ride right in front of the official and gobbed off at officials and opponents alike. Short of wearing a sign saying, "The referee is a wanker", he couldn't have done more to get himself in the book.
And we have to set all this within the context of an injury crisis and the ongoing suspension of Collison. Allardyce surely must have told them to be careful and to avoid any stupid or reckless challenges. But Nolan was gobbing off at the referee from the first kick, arguing the toss over the first throw in, which was virtually on the half way line. Ten yellow card points in the bank before the game is a minute old, he must have thought!
I excuse McCartney from all this because his booking was stupid. He wasn't time wasting as he lined up that free kick, he was simply running through the Doctor Evil tactical manual in his head. "Long lump? Even longer lump? Or super long lump? What would the boss want in the circumstances?"
Will Nolan and Faubert party regardless? I wouldn't be surprised if they did. Neither has any love for West Ham and both might fancy an escape route. And would we miss either of them? Well today might be informative! "Should old acquaintance be forgot..."