They're trying to kill off tackling... and that's a crime

Sometimes a great tackle is better than a goal.

When I was at Blackburn, each of the players was asked to supply a motivational quote about the game for the dressing room wall. That was the one I picked.

But soon you won't get slogans like that any more. They are trying to take tackling out of the game and it saddens me.

What happened to Vincent Kompany on Sunday at Eastlands was outrageous. A hard but fair tackle in which he maintained control was rewarded with a red card.

If that wasn't bad enough, the FA then refuse to overrule it and he has to serve a four-game ban.

Let's not get bogged down by the side issues - though for the record, I don't think Glen Johnson on Joleon Lescott was a red either, I reckon Roberto Mancini has a fair point about consistency and I can't blame Wayne Rooney for trying to gain an advantage for his team by running to the ref in the derby.

The real problem is this crackdown on any sort of physical contact in football. For me, it's taking out a vital part of what makes the English game so great and so unique.

Crowds love to see a firm, fair challenge in which one player wins the ball from the other and keeps the game going at high speed with a quick pass to a team-mate.

Players love that too. When you're looking for inspiration, a clean but crunching tackle can gee your team-mates up.

It is a vital part of what has made some of the most greatest players in our game - Bobby Moore, Patrick Vieira, David Batty, Roy Keane, Graeme Souness - so great.

I'm not advocating a return to the days when players clogged each other for 90 minutes and gifted players had to take a kicking every week.

But what I don't want is for us to go down the route of countries like Italy and Spain, where physical challenges are virtually outlawed.

I watch that football every week and outside of the very top teams it is over-technical and dull.

Football has got to be about more than just skill. It should be about heart and passion too.

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ROBBIE'S STORY OF THE WEEK

Took Strictly winner Harry Judd to Arsenal on Monday night and gave him a tour of the Emirates a couple of hours before kick-off.

The lad from McFly knows his dancing but I'm not too sure about football.

His first questions were, "Who's playing inside-forward for Arsenal?" and "What time to do the audience turn up?"

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williamhill.com

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