Norwich City manager, Alex Neil says that Gary O’Neil’s dismissal at Stoke was out of character but effectively cost his side the game.
When asked after the game if he could understand what had happened with O’Neil, Neil said: ‘No, basically.
‘I think it was just a bad decision from Gary. The ball was going out aimlessly on the halfway line, I don’t think there were any flashpoints before that that riled him up, and I was as surprised as anyone else to see the tackle that went in.
‘To be honest, there is no defending it. It was certainly a sending off and Gary apologised to his team-mates at half-time.’
‘He’s an experienced player and if I was to pick anyone in our squad who wouldn’t do that it would probably be Gary O’Neil.
‘It was completely out of character but to make that decision in such an important game was silly to say the least.
‘He knows he’s done wrong and me slating him here isn’t going to help that.
‘But it’s disappointing for all concerned because it’s not helped the cause tonight and it’s certainly not going to help our cause in the next three games to have an experienced player missing.’
The player himself accepted his guilt as he later said sorry to supporters via Twitter, writing: ‘Apologised to all the lads & the staff @ Ncfc. Massive apology to all fans as well! Made a big mistake. Out of character. Won’t happen again.’
Afterwards, O’Neil received an outpouring of abuse and anger from some Norwich ‘fans’ on Twitter, which was little short of shameful. Yes, he made a ‘mistake’ but the vitriol I saw directed at him was outrageous – in a civilized society it beggars belief.
Brave keyboard warriors who wouldn’t dare say hello to him in the street, never mind stick a few Fu*@s into him.