West Ham forward Frederic Piquionne was sensationally sent off on Saturday for appearing to grin after scoring a crucial goal for his club.
Referee Peter Walton immediately called the player over and brandished a straight red. The player can now expect to be hauled in front of an FA committee on charges of ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ and ‘sporting misconduct’ for his heinous actions.
Walton was later overheard saying to one of his assistants, ‘If there is a colour stronger than red I’d have shown him that. But red is pretty scary isn’t it. Represents blood and stop and stuff’.
With just minutes of normal time remaining in the Everton V West Ham clash Piquionne bagged what he believed to be the winning strike, and a priceless three points that would have dragged his side clear of the relegation zone. There is no excuses however for the shocking behaviour that was to come.
We have gained access to Walton’s official referees report and in it he states ‘The French guy scored….fair enough. But on doing so he did not then strictly comply with the clear mandates set out for such a circumstance to occur. Instead of standing stock still, then turning and walking calmly back to the halfway line whilst emitting a humble expression of non-agitating contrition, the player defiantly headed away from the goal in the direction of excitable supporters’.
A clearly exasperated Walton continues, ‘At this point I was prepared to let things go a bit, realising the importance of his goal, and would have only issued a second yellow for deviating from his desired course. However, once Piquionne had realised his indiscretion – and was now in the powder keg situation of being within touching distance of the scum and hooligan flotsam who attend matches and possibly inflaming them into jumping up and down more vigorously than they were previously – he changed direction and now, for the first time, I could see his gloating happy face.
There was a noticeable ‘upturn’ at the corners of his mouth, and again, I was prepared to overlook this. But then I saw his teeth bared in what can only be described as a ‘grin’’.
Everton took advantage of Piquionne’s dismissal and were able to salvage a late equaliser. Walton however was not to know this and his frustration comes through in the report.
‘There were thirty-odd thousand home fans in the ground who were, understandably, peeved at conceding so late on in the game. The West Ham player’s broad grin could easily have made them very annoyed indeed’.
This is not the first time Piquionne has been punished for such outrageous flouting of the laws. In 2008, playing for Lyon, he received a three match ban for high-fiving a team-mate after scoring from the halfway line with a bicycle kick