Add this to the file of “things I would be angry about if I had known they had happened.” Middlesbrough keeper Victor Valdes clashed with Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele in the first half of Spurs’ 1-0 win at White Hart Lane on Saturday, with cameras apparently catching Valdes putting his hands twice into the face of Dele during a first half corner.
Here’s video of the incident.
Match official Mark Clattenburg apparently didn’t see it happen, but had a talk with Valdes and Ben Gibson on the pitch. It was enough, however, that there were murmurs, including from former match official Howard Webb, that the FA might issue a retroactive violent conduct ban.
Guess not. According to the Middlesbrough Gazette, Clattenburg noted it in his match notes after the match, and the FA is declining to bring any additional charges against Valdes for the incident.
So, I totally did not see this happen or note any of the fallout at all during the match. Possibly it’s because I was watching the NBC feed, and it was BT Sport cameras that caught the incident, or possibly I was busy tweeting and just plain missed it. The video footage is pretty egregious, though: Valdes smacks Dele on the side of the head and apparently attempts to pick his nose just afterwards.
Valdes appears to be a lucky, lucky man. The FA generally takes a dim view of players deliberately putting their hands into the faces of opponents, and had Clattenburg seen it there doesn’t seem to be any question that he would’ve sent Valdes off. As it is, it feels a little weird that Clattenburg would note a red-card worthy clash in his match report that he didn’t actually see on the pitch. Since it was in his match report, the FA can’t step in and make any further issue of it.
It’s the second straight game that Spurs’ opponents got away with a red-card worthy offense; Sunderland’s Jack Rodwell somehow escaped dismissal after scything down Mousa Dembele in last Tuesday’s league clash at the Stadium of Light.