The great red card debate reared its ugly head once more yesterday as Stoke City manager Tony Pulis announced that his players will not be wearing studs for the rest of the season. For the second time this month Pulis has been left fuming at one of his players being dismissed for ‘raising his studs’ in a tackle.
Seething at Rory Delap getting his marching orders against Crawley Town on Sunday, the Potters boss has made a cynical move to circumvent the current guidance being given to referees.
Pulis said: “The FA have forced us into a corner here and we’ve taken action. Asking players to tackle without showing studs is like demanding a lap dancer not to show her cleavage. Strip bars need boobs, the Prem needs tackles. End of.
“There’s no chance of my boys going in showing their studs and offending petty referees if they’ve got no studs to show. Problem solved.”
In a follow-up statement the Midlands club announced that Ryan Shawcross’ 17-year-old brother Liam – who is studying for a law degree via a free Daily Mail CD-Rom – has found a precedent that makes their proposed stud-less policy completely foolproof.
The statement read: “After going through the records Liam discovered that our current striker, Peter Crouch, wore ‘plimsolls or flats’ in his Premier League debut for Aston Villa in March 2002. According to Peter, the FA chiefs let it pass, accepting that his ‘height anxiety’ should be appeased for a three-game period. No more questions your honour.”
To back up their claim, Pulis sent a series of image stills to Match of The Day appearing to show Crouch wearing a modest Cuban heel in his second Premier League outing against Chelsea.
With FA bosses choosing not to comment yesterday, it looks increasingly likely that Stoke will get their way. FIFA officials’ initial anger has been dampened by Sepp Blatter who tweeted that he had “Always wanted to see Robert Huth in heels. That boy’s legs just don’t quit”.
The FIFA president added: “With Kenwyne Jones and Danny Higginbotham in the squad, the Potters already have enough studs on their team ;).”
In a candid response to ‘sandal-gate’ part-time referee and full-time bald man Howard Webb confessed that Nigel De-Jong’s X-rated tackle on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup Final would “not have even been a foul had Nigel been wearing slippers”.
A chipper Pulis claimed the Potters were in talks with brands including Clarks and Hush Puppies about a potentially lucrative kit-supply deal for the remainder of the season.