English Players Don’t Dive, Leon Osman’s Blatant Cheating Ignored By Media

Alan Duffy

28th, December 2011


By Alan Duffy

On Boxing Day, Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland were a goal ahead and looking to pick up all three points against Everton when, early in the second-half, the Toffees’ diminutive schemer Leon Osman ran into the Black Cats box with the intention of shooting on goal. The midfielder then completely missed his kick, with his foot hitting the turf instead of the ball. As he lost his balance and fell, Osman then raised his arms in protest at an apparent trip by a Sunderland player before punching the ground in anger at the phantom foul. This blatant act of cheating won Everton a penalty which Leighton Baines duly converted, to give his side a share of the points.

However, on Match of the Day that evening, none of the pundits dared to question Osman’s motives, instead pointing the finger at referee Howard Webb for awarding the penalty. This pre-meditated glossing-over of an obvious and outrageous act of cheating was repeated in most of the media after the game and one again highlighted the English media’s refusal to treat English and foreign players equally. Imagine if it had been Balotelli, Nani, Arteta or Adebayor who had won their side a spot-kick in a similar fashion to Osman? The pundits and journos would have had no hesitiation in branding the player a cheat or at least properly highlighting the player’s dishonest actions. Indeed, players such as Morten Gamst Pedersen have been mocked on MOTD for blatant diving, yet Osman is an Englishman and, as we know, Enlgishmen don’t cheat. Except Rooney, Gerrard and myriad others, of course.

There has been much talk about racism in football in recent weeks, but the fact that a casual, subtle xenophobia still pervades the media who cover the game, is also an issue which needs to be addressed.

The incident starts at 1 min 19 secs on the video…

Posted in Everton, FAIL, Media

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  1. Herman says:

    Come on, it’s not like Osman kicked the ground intentionally. It’s no dive, and the pundits were right to blame Webb. An official of his standards should not be fooled by something like that, even if you could see why he was.

  2. Conor says:


    Of course it was a dive. He knew there was no contact yet he protested venomously. You don’t protest when you slip.

  3. Alan Duffy says:

    @Herman – Yes, but as I said, it is Osman’s reaction after he kicks the ground which is an act of blatant cheating. He clearly appeals for a penalty.

  4. I think it was accidental…. Don’t see this like a dive…
    But in part I agree with you: it isn’t true anymore that English players don’t dive.

  5. Remember the abuse Eduardo got for the dive he did? Awful. There are double standards when it comes to this type of thing.

  6. SL says:

    Hes a cheat, its not the act of going down that could have been accidental if he didnt want a penalty, its the fact the he appeals immediately which means he must have planned it.

    We need 10 game bans without pay for incidents like this. Every FIFA crackdown has made cheating more profitable, how about clamping down on the only thing thats needed a clampdown in the last 20 years?

  7. Anonymous says:

    He may have thought the sunderland player behind him had clipped his foot when he took the shot, in the heat of the game? An accidental miskick no doubt, and David moyes himself has stated that i was never a penalty

  8. syndex says:

    @SL behave son, 10 game ban your taking the mick, when suarez is only on 8. The reason why no one was castigating Osman is simple he’s been in the prem for 7 year now and this is his first incident like this and whilst it wasn’t a pen it also wasn’t a dive and he probably thought he was clipped from behind. I can understand the if he was foreign he would be crucified cause there are english players who seem to get the benefit of the doubt fairly often in the penalty box and ossie ain’t one of them. Oh and btw when was Arteta ever a diver, he never was in a blue shirt and I haven’t seen it in gunners Jersey either.

  9. Adam says:

    I don’t think “dive” is the right word because he fell accidently and he couldn’t of been blamed if the penalty was given for that. However he did wave his arms about etc trying to win the penalty and for that he should be ridiculed.

  10. Bell says:

    Thank you so much. This has bothered me for years – not only the media, but many referees inclination to ignore more fouls against foreign players.
    I was even more disturbed at the difference between the coverage when announcements of John Terry’s criminal prosecution for use of racist language and Luis Suarez’ 8 match ban for same came out in the same week.
    To a one the headlines on Terry addressed his “bravery in the face of adversity”, or similar language, during Chelsea’s ensuing match at Spurs. In one case the article itself contradicted its headline, but there was the banner just the same.
    In Suarez’ case the universal response referred to the bravery of the FA in finally taking a stand and to Suarez’ vile behavior.
    I don’t condone use of racist language in any case, but am alarmed at the contradictory response. I also still do not understand why the FA has to “wait until the criminal case is resolved” to investigate/take action in Terry’s case.

  11. America says:

    Anyone who doesn’t see this as diving is either an Everton supporter or didn’t watch the video. He goes down and by the time he hits he’s already yelling at Webb to give the penalty. He would have known if someone clipped him, which if you look at the replay no one got anywhere near close enough for that to happen. This is pathetic. Instead of begging for a spot kick, the POS should spend a little more time on the practice pitch shooting, he got more ground than ball there.

  12. Apologies for any garbled earlier version of this comment that might creep on to the site:
    my reading of the incident was the same as Alan’s and I said so quite strongly at my own site Salut! Sunderland not because I quarrelled in principle with Everton getting a point, which they deserved, but because I have campaigned consistently on cheating – whoever commits it, foreigners or British, opponents or Sunderland. A lot of Evertonians and a few SAFC fans have argued that he must have thought he was clipped from behind, which I still find hard to believe. But if that were the case, why on earth didn’t he say so, or Moyes on his behalf, immediately after the game or even in the two days that have now passed since it? Webb’s decision was a disgrace but, beyond reasonable doubt, the result of an honest mistake at work.

  13. Krsta says:

    Good point Alan, could not agree more. Have watched MOTD on many occasions and almost every time the “punditory” when English players dive is the same: ref’s fault, isn’t a dive or is even deemed “clever”. Or is overlooked altogether, as was the case with Osman.

  14. bobbie says:

    Gerrard has long been a cheat. He’s been seen to be diving time after time but would Hansen every bring this up on MOTD? Absolutely not.

  15. cheiknorris says:

    Watch the reaction of English pundits when one of them bloody foreigners dives in a CL game against an English club. They ridicule and demand for the player to get banned, but when an English player like Osman dives its ignored. They try and make out diving to be an inherently foreign problem to make our game look good.

  16. tendon not is says:

    Compare this to the chicharito incident against wigan. Alcaraz clearly stuck his leg out and there was contact. But when hernandez went down he made no appeal for the penalty. Would have been a harsh one if it was given but as osman proves we’ve seen penalties given for much less. Appealing for the penalty makes him a cheat . end off.

  17. tendon not is says:


  18. Nick says:

    I agree with SL, maybe not such an extreme ban, but something that definitely sends a message. It’s a shame this has been allowed to continue and at least a 1 match ban should be given for first time offenders, then increase the match ban for repeated offense. That will clearly send a message to the players to quit being cheats.

    Also, don’t get me wrong Howard Webb is at fault for making the wrong decision, however Osman is a cheat for allowing the scenario to come about.

  19. jacko says:

    Have any of you people EVER played football before? When you’re moving forward at pace, using momentum to shuffle your body shape to shoot, then accidentally end up clicking the ground instead of the ball, it *feels like* your foot is clipped. With players around him Osman probably felt he WAS clipped, hence appealing the way he did. ANYONE who watches Osman play knows he is not a “cheat” or a “diver” – even Moyes himself had the decency to say as much (how many other managers would have done the same?!)

    This is an EXTREMELY POOR and biased article, to accuse an honest player of ‘the blatant act of cheating’. English or not should not be the issue, how many players of all nationalities do we see falling to the ground every single week like they’ve been hit by a tank – Rooney does it, Gerrard does it, Suarez does is, Ronaldo does it, Drogba does it…….. but let’s never ever say anything bad about the “tv darlings” shall we?!

  20. Dave says:

    I find it laughable that anyone thinks this was a dive. There are dives and there there is kicking the floor and falling over. When a player clips his own heels and goes down, is that a dive as well?

  21. XR says:

    “Colback somehow found a way through a forest of blue shirts to score, it was certainly a neat finish”

    Nice commentary, I suppose it’s pretty easy to miss a deflection which makes someone’s tame, grounded shot loop about 8 feet into the air after all

  22. Butty says:

    It was never a penalty, as has been established. But to be fair to Osman, when you do kick the floor in similar situations on a football field, it does feel like you’ve been tripped. I have been in his position before (and made to look very foolish), besides there is of course the defence using the old cliche of ‘he isn’t that sort of player’…

  23. bluetoffee316 says:

    This is a joke of an article. It’s plain to see that Osman really believes he was clipped. And whilst I agree it doesn’t look like a penalty from the replays, I can see why both he and Webb thought it was a penalty in the heat of the moment. In fact, if you followed the approach / protocol of American Football TV replays, I am not fully convinced “beyond ANY doubt” that he was not clipped ever so slightly when lining up to shoot. I don’t think he was, but can I be certain? No. It’s really hard to be certain without seeing every possible angle.

    But to the point of the “article”, it also clearly was not a premeditated dive, and nor was it a dishonest appeal by Osman – just probably an erroneous appeal, rewarded (unusually for Everton) by a penalty.

    Ergo I don’t think he deliberately cheated. Osman gets fouled quite a lot – and frequently brushed off the ball due to size, or lack of it – but I don’t consider him as a diver at all, and I would doubt many would, whether blue, red, or otherwise.

  24. Nick says:

    @Dave the second he flails around contesting for a penalty acting like he has been fouled, is when it becomes a dive.

  25. SL says:

    clipping you own heels and appealing for a foul is cheating, its often done on purpose when an opponent runs around the back of the player with the ball.

    The SPL are handing out bans for players that do this, someone was banned this weekend. Players should be banned for diving even when there is contact, like running past a player and sticking your leg at them and then falling over. When a player chooses to go down, he cheats. Sadly the MOTD idiots think any minimal contact equals a penalty.

    Why arent the PL doing anything?

  26. Mizman says:

    it wasnt a penalty so it was a bad decision. But the whole point of diving is to con the referee, so i dont see how you can blame Webb, osman mugged him

  27. Luke says:

    Jesus, imagine the media frenzy if Suarez had done that.

  28. np says:

    @ Luke……lol! If suarez would’ve done that the media would’ve gone into overdrive.
    I think the case for english players not diving should have stopped 10 years ago because everyone dives now. Look at Gerrard…he has dived on a few occasions including the champions league final against milan (which nobody mentioned because of the comeback).

    I agree with other posters that there should be a longer ban for divers and the fa can review dives that the ref got wrong or missed. I doubt this will happen because we are still waiting on basic things like video technology.

  29. syndex says:

    If you want to do an article about english players diving why not go for one of the serial offenders in a clear cut case rather than this biased bullshit about an incident that most people who have seen it do not think was a dive but an error on the player and the referees part. Lazy work.

  30. Degs says:

    Not a pen.
    Not a dive.
    But appealing for a penalty when you’ve just fallen over IS cheating.

  31. God says:

    Steven Gerrard, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, Jack Wilshere & Theo Walcott’s blatant cheating ignored by whoateallthepies.tv.

  32. Alan Duffy says:

    @syndex I think you will see that I did mention Rooney and Gerrard, but you are missing the point. It is not a piece exclusively about Leon Osman, but rather about the media’s failure to flag up English players who dive or cheat.

    @God You too have totally missed the point. As I said, I did mention Rooney and Gerrard. As usual, too many people are coming to the discussion with partizan views. This is not about Osman and Everton but about a more general issue.

  33. syndex says:

    When you describe the actions of an everton player as blatent cheating which basically the same as branding the player a blatent cheat, on a boarderline case you may find fans becoming partizan. When you decide to only site one case in your article it stops being about english players as a whole and become an attack on one player a player who over the years at everton has been pretty much as honest and hardworking a pro as you could ask for. Hence the shitstorm this has started

  34. Anonymous says:

    How can this not be a dive. I am pretty sure someone knows the difference between kicking the ground and being caught by another player. this is cheating

  35. Holland 1945 says:

    Everton fan here.

    This one puzzled me as Osman genuinely is as honest and professional a player as you could get. He’s never really done anything like this before, so I wouldn’t put it past him genuinely thinking he was clipped.

    He wasn’t, of course, and if he actually knew that then I’m embarrassed as an Evertonian that he was so vehemently complained. It’s not the kind of thing I expect from blues.

    That said, I don’t remember anyone calling out Suarez for his theatrics when Rodwell got sent off in the derby. Only the ref was bemoaned, but Suarez who rolled around like he’d had his leg blasted off by a shotgun, didn’t get a mention. Nor did Lucas and co who charged forwards brandishing the imaginary red cards.

    I’m a bit gutted that out of all these incidents of diving in the league this is being highlighted now, as despite my natural bias I have to say we are not the kind of team to partake in play-acting. Yakubu was definitely guilty of it in his time here, and Pienaar and Arteta were the kind to go down easy, but Leon Osman is one of the most honest pros I’ve seen play.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Alan Duffy realizes that this is defamation of character in relation to Leon Osman, and when you write and publish the phrase ‘This blatant act of cheating’ you are asserting this as fact and thereby accusing the player or it – and as this is wholly inaccurate, it is now a libelous statement to which legal action can be taken… (assuming the Press Office and Legal Department of EFC would bother with a clueless, 2-bit joke of a website like this).

  37. Tosser says:

    Didn’t see this one but I am wondering why Webb doesnt miss some games? Webb holds his run up and gets an obstructed view: he could have moved a few more yard from the advantage call he makes just as Osman moves on to the box. He is nearly as far away as the linesman: poor positioning cost him here.

    Simulation, especially in the box, is THE high crime in our game, you throw your arms up you best be bloody sure you’ve been hit/fouled. From the Laws of the Game – Unsporting Behavior: “attempts to deceive the referee by feigning injury or pretending to be fouled.” When you contravene the rules for your benefit you are a cheater. Thus Duffy is not defaming his character and is just stating a fact. The EPL should cover their refs with some post game video analysis and hand down some warnings and bans. After a couple years of that we could judge who dives – foreigners or Englishmen.

  38. Holland 1945 says:

    Oh and to add, I don’t see how Leon Osman is a good example of the media being pro-English. I realise he obviously is English, but Leon Osman’s never been capped and only last year really got any kind of appreciation from outside Everton.

    I sincerely hope he isn’t suddenly branded a cheater anyway. This was an embarrassing incident but honestly I can’t recall him ever doing anything prior to this that called his professionalism and integrity into question.

    And now that I think about it, I don’t see many media outlets scrutinising foreign players for antics either. Besides the odd incredibly bad dive (I remember Pedersen’s one a few years ago for example) poor sportsmanship isn’t really picked up on. In fact, I’d go as far as saying the media are anti-English, in that they seem to thrive on incidents involving players like Rooney and Ashley Cole, and enjoy defaming these poster boys.

    Perhaps the football media, like Match of the Day, are less guilty of that but if you’re looking to Match of the Day for a fair and unbiased review of the game then you’re looking in the wrong place. That show’s an absolute joke.

  39. unitedFixation says:


    It doesn’t matter if Osman is an honest bloke who loves his mom. Even if this is one incident it should still be criticized just like Rooney, Phil Jones or Gerrard. Your defence is no better than Suarez’s when he says his grandfather was black. He CONNED the ref. End off. Its not desirable. Whether Moyes accepts it or not is not the point. Good for him. Just look at it in this way – had Webb noticed what had actually happened then he would have probably booked him, right ?? Would you have then come out defending him saying it was a harsh booking??

  40. Holland 1945 says:

    @United Fixation

    It’s not really anything like people saying Suarez’ grandfather was black.

    The fact that this was his first instance of poor sportsmanship in a 10+ year long career in the game was more of a testament to his character. People saying Suarez’ grandfather was black were trying to deny his motive along with the “he’s played with black players/has black mates” defence.

    Not to mention an act of poor sportsmanship being on the other end of the ethical spectrum to racism.

    It’s a tough one though. If it was Suarez who’d done this I’d be on the other side laughing and Liverpool fans trying to defend the seemingly indefensible. So I have to admit that and be honest. I just can’t get over the fact that he doesn’t have a history of these things at all. It’s out of character, and contrary to your opinion that definitely DOES matter. If Suarez had done this we could not say the same thing, as he spents half his time on the pitch feigning injury, bemoaning officials and generally being a massive twat. To be polite.

  41. Holland 1945 says:


    I should really start checking for typos BEFORE I post. >.>

  42. David Macbeth says:

    He didn’t dive, he generally tripped.

    But did he then appeal forefully knowing that no offence had been committed?


  43. Rob says:

    Nice dive from Landon a few minutes ago, those Yanks eh?

  44. […] was painful to watch after a good draw at Goodison. Earlier, we’d had the infamous Leon Osman fall-over-and-claim-a-pen routine that our friend Howard Webb fell-for-and-gave. That piece of odious cheating aside, Everton […]

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