Alec Swann - Shame on you Martinez

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

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Roberto Martinez deserves plenty of admiration for the work he has done at Wigan.

To keep a club of their stature in the top flight of the domestic game, annually punching well above their relatively puny weight, is proof of a manager who knows what he is doing.

But a touch of respect went awry last weekend following the Latics’ 2-1 defeat of Newcastle.

The Spaniard’s pathetic justification for Callum McManaman’s diabolical tackle on Massadio Haidara was both ill-thought out and sadly predictable.

To offer any kind of defence would have been out of kilter but the weak and half-baked drivel Martinez dished up - “I haven’t seen the replay, I believe that he touches the ball and then it’s a bad challenge, but it’s nothing malicious, he’s not that sort of boy. It’s the normal enthusiasm that you get in your debut.” - both insulted the viewers’ intelligence and added him to the ever-increasing list of football managers who serve up tripe as the after-match main course.

Would he have lost face by condemning the action of his charge?

Is warranted criticism of your own so difficult to administer?

If an ounce of common sense exists in anyone reading this then the all-too obvious answer is no.

Yet time and time again, Martinez and his counterparts shy away from recognising the obvious and it does them and the game that employs them no favours whatsoever.

Debatable goal? Didn’t see it.

Blatantly offside? No he wasn’t.

Handball? What?

Bad challenge? He’s a lovely lad.

It goes on and on and on and on and adds another piece to the jigsaw of football’s alternative side, that which runs parallel to the one with the capacity to enthrall.

Surely it won’t be long before, let me think of an example, something as repulsive as a manager saying he hasn’t heard thousands of fans making vile, anti-semetic hissing sounds.occurs

Oh wait a minute - Sam whatsisname, club in east London - that box has already been ticked.