Date: 22nd May 2009 at 8:18am
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Cameras are everywhere in football. Television, press, club and the odd supporter are all able to record every minute of a game and much of the pre and post game goings on. Football programs frequently show footage of the minutest background happenings as a steward tumbles down the steps or a ball boy belly flops over advertising hoardings. But Phil Brown is likely to rue their existence. Firstly because the cameras were there to record for posterity his hasty damnation of Arsenal as a club, the referee, it`s manager and Cesc Fabregas. Secondly because with all those cameras available none were able to support his allegation against Cesc, strongly denied by the player, of spitting.

Outside of the Hull camp, and those with an interest in doing down Arsenal, it was pretty evident within 24 hours that despite the plethora of cameras of all types there was no evidence to support the heated post match claims of Hull manager Phil Brown that his assistant Brian Horton was spat at by Fabregas after the Cup game at the Emirates in March. Further rejection of his disparaging remarks emerged just as embarrassingly quickly with pictorial evidence that his claim that Wenger wouldn`t shake his hand just wasn`t true.

The most serious allegation was that of spitting as Brown claimed ‘For their club captain Cesc Fabregas to spit at my assistant at the end of the game shows you what this club is all about. I was there and witnessed it, he spat at my assistant manager down the tunnel, that’s their captain. Hopefully he’s proud of himself. He spat at his feet.’

Brown`s hasty post match rant suffered under the ambiguity as to just what form the spitting took and a half hearted retraction and inability to explain what he meant by “shows you what this club is all about”. Much was also made of the way Cesc was dressed as though that alone was worthy of condemnation.

In the event a 4 man panel at the FA has apparently concluded that Cesc was not guilty of the charge of spitting. The cameras seemed to have come back to haunt Brown for longer as one report claims that Arsenal produced video evidence that Fabregas was still on the pitch when Horton, and other Hull staff were in the tunnel.

It`s perhaps understandable after losing a match that looked to be going your way that comments made in haste lack the rationality that reflection would bring. Brown isn`t the first person to regret allowing his tongue to issue words that hadn`t first been processed through the brain. Some Arsenal shareholders have suffered the same affliction recently.

What is less forgivable is trying to justify those words when it is clear that the accusations they contain aren`t substantiated by any serious examination. How much better it would have been for Brown to admit, as he should have, that the heat and passion of the moment got to him. He could have offered to retract his words publicly and taken up any concerns he had directly with Arsenal as a matter between the clubs. Instead he tried to widen the complaint to include Cesc`s sartorial choice as though it somehow reinforced his claims.

Cameras haven`t focussed kindly on Phil Brown. I`d keep an extra cautious eye out when driving through speed restricted zones if I were him.

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