Moncs: I Am What I Am

John Moncur says that referees are sharpening their pencils the moment he steps on the pitch - but has vowed he won't change his ways.
John, who was booked against Newcastle on Sunday before he had even touched the ball after coming on as substitute - a reminder of the corresponding fixture last season - says the lesser spotted tackle MUST be preserved if the character of the game is to survive.
And he also says that Bobby Robson was 'grasping at straws' when he said refereeing decisions cost his side the game.
"My booking? You have to look at it that the referee has played up there," he says.
"I didn't think it was a booking, though I know I could be biased.
"I've gone in with one leg and he has just nicked it off my foot; it looked worse than it was.
"I think I get booked for my reputation; I've got to be honest and say I do feel hard done by a little bit at times.
"Certain players have had it at times in their careers where refs are half looking for you to go in for a tackle - and as soon as you mistime one you are booked.
"This year I have made a lot of tackles and won a lot of ball  - and I've been booked three times.
"I'll hold my hands up to the one against Leeds but the other two were harsh.
"You had it with Vinnie Jones, and he used to say about it - certain players are just flavour of the month to be booked.
"If they would just take a second before pinging the card out the pocket...
"Every booking I have had out of 60 odd in my career, apart from one, has been for a tackle.
"A lot of tackles are just borderline and you just miss the ball, or you only catch a bit of the ball.
"This season in particular a lot more lads are being booked or sent off and I think the refs have got to take a split second and think about it more."
He admits he has spoken with Glenn Roeder about the situation, and adds:
"The gaffer has been great with me - he talks to me about discipline - but he knows I am never going to pull out of a tackle; if it is there I'm going to go for it.
"You do get stereotyped with a certain label and I think the refs are too quick to get the card out against me."
And his only yellow card for a misdemeanour other than a challenge that went awry?
"The one not for a tackle was a booking at Arsenal where Paul Durkin got me for foul and abusive, and the FA got involved," he recalls.
He also points out that he has never been punished for hitting out at anyone.
Moncs is worried that the tackling side of the game in this country will become extinct, and he says it is the players' duty to preserve it for the sake of the paying public.
"I think it is part of the English game," he insists, "the crowd love it, and it is what our game is all about.
"We obviously have a load of quality in matches but we have quality in competing and in commitment as well.
"It makes the all round game for the fan worth watching; it is no good everyone walking around on tip toes showing lovely skills if you have no competing going on.
"People can relate to that who play themselves; you have got to have both, and I think the refs have been harsh this season."
He admits to sharing banter with the supporters after the incident, and says:
"I did have a little chuckle, but football is to be enjoyed, we are 3-0 up, and it was a great game.
"The Chicken Run are as good as gold; I get a lot of people tell me they are having bets on me getting booked, and that is why a lot of them cheer.
"You have got to have a laugh as well as be serious.
"But I can assure you it wasn't intentional."
John cannot concur with Bobby Robson's post match rant at the referee, where he said that Christian Dailly has fouled Robbie Elliott early on, and that the final goal was preceded by obstruction from Don to shield the ball for Fredi.
"He is grasping at straws - you only have to look at the statistics.
"We had the upper hand all game, even if the possession was 50-50.
"We were the side always looking to score and, although they had a couple of chances  - and who knows if one of them had gone in early on? - in general 3-0 was a fair result.
"They had a good chance early doors through Bellamy when it just went over the bar, and we had one cleared off the line.
"But look over the whole game and see the amount of attacks we had - we always threatened.
"We had 15 shots, with 10 on target, and three goals out of that - which is about right.
"Even the Middlesbrough game, which we watched on the way home from the game, apart from the two mistakes that led to goals, they didn't create anything."
John says the new players are bedding down fine and adds:
"Christian Dailly has been outstanding, and the new fellow looks great.
"We have got a certain way of playing and it is good; we stick to a system and we all know what we are doing, and I think that should give us confidence now to go on.
"I don't think we are going to be in the relegation areas; looking at it we could more likely be pushing for European places.
"All going well, we could nick another good result on Saturday - just look at the quality we have got now more people are fit."
Even though he had to watch most of the game from the sidelines, he still enjoyed the occasion, and says:
"It was brilliant; they obviously knew the importance of getting the win and the performance and result was good.
"That's all you can ask for; it seemed a nice game to play in.
"We had the upper hand and it wasn't as tight in areas of the pitch, as the Leeds game was.
"It seemed more stretched, the lads had more time and made the most of it by playing really well.
"The first goal was important, especially as we hadn't scored a goal in open play."
Of the three strikes, he says:
"Hutch got forward and that is his forte, he loves to nick a goal.
"The second goal was a brilliant goal where Christian Dailly played a great goal out from the middle and Paolo did the rest with his brilliance.
"I'd have been proud of that pass, I can tell you; as he came out the back he showed to play it short, looked up, and the measured ball was great.
"That puts Paolo in a one on one, and that's where you want him.
"Even the last one was a great move, with Don letting the ball run across him - and Fredi supplied the clinical finish."