Caught amidst the fallout from Neil Taylor's horror tackle on Seamus Coleman was Celtic and Wales legend John Hartson, who was roundly criticized by Irish fans online for supposedly defending Taylor after the tackle, with a number of fans taking umbrage with his use of the phrase "he's not that type of player".
Hartson replied to a few of them before the sheer volume of irate eejitry became too much, so he decided to set the record straight on Off the Ball yesterday. Hartson said that Taylor's lunge was "horrible, reckless, and irresponsible", before clarifying that he did not defend Taylor's action, but merely stated that there was no intention on the Welsh defender's part.
Here is Hartson "setting the record straight", in his own words:
I thought there were some really strong challenges. I think Gareth Bale should have been sent off. For those Irish fans who have absolutely slaughtered me on twitter today, it's great for me to come on here to set the record straight: I never defended Neil Taylor. All I said was I felt it wasn't intentional, as I believe that nobody goes on the pitch with a view of breaking an opponent's leg. That is not acceptable, but that is not the case here. It's reckless, it's rash...it's a horror tackle. Neil Taylor will face a ban and will face criticism, and Neil Taylor will have to live with the fact that he could have ended another player's career.
All I said was, that all the times I went in physically, sometimes late, sometimes aggressively, sometimes even to hurt an opponent - but if I'm being honest, it's more intimidation, it's to show you're bigger and stronger than the opponent - but I never once, ever, went in to intentionally break somebody's leg. That's all I said, and I've been slaughtered for saying that, in terms of sticking up for Neil Taylor. I don't think that I'm defending him. I'm the first one to criticise Taylor and say that's not acceptable. He should get a ban. It was completely wrong what he did, it was reckless. But I genuinely don't think he intentionally went in to break poor Seamus Coleman's leg, I don't know what you boys think?
Host Ger Gilroy agreed that there was no intention on Taylor's part, to which Hartson eagerly replied:
Thank you, and that's one of your own talking. I hope people are reasonable about it People have been saying there's been no apology, but there has been. Taylor went straight into the Republic of Ireland's dressing room last night, shook every player's hand and said how sorry he was. It makes no difference, I'm not defending Taylor, but there was an apology. He shook Roy's hand, he shook Martin's hand.
Hartson then encouraged Irish fans to listen into 606 on BBC Radio 5 Live, as they would replay the clip of Hartson on air, before ending:
All the numpties, and the keyboard warriors and all the bandwagoners. One person sends a tweet, I reply, and then suddenly you have 20 more tweets and you can't really reason. I hope there I put the record straight.
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