Ball boys proving to be Hazard for Swans
I DON'T know if the Swansea ball boy row rang any bells among Argyle fans with long memories, but the midweek Capital One Cup clash chimed with a similar incident at Home Park.
And although it wasn't a player of the quality of Chelsea's Eden Hazard who was sent off for having a go at a ball boy, in an odd quirk of fate, it did involve Swansea.
In this instance, it was league points and not a place in a Wembley final that was at stake, but it just goes to show that bad-tempered footballers venting their spleen on a ball boy is nothing new.
The player who in April 1985 at the Theatre of Greens, was sent for an early bath by the referee John Martin was none other than Chris Marustik. And in case you're wondering, I'll 'fess up right now, no, I've never heard of him.
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Well, Marustik certainly made an impact on this Division Three (now League One) fixture which could fairly be described as 'bad tempered' and was by our Herald reporters at the time.
Marustik scored one of Swans' two goals – Derek Parlane netted their other goal in the Welsh side's 2-1 win. If I said that Tommy Tynan was playing for Argyle need I bother to add who scored for the home side?
I thought not given his legendary status.
Marustik, who I'm still not much wiser about about but trust he'll forgive me, which I'd suggest is more than the angry Argyle fans, and the Greens' charismatic manager Dave 'Ciderman' Smith felt about the contribution of the Swansea left-back.
And the referee, John Martin, isn't spared Smith's ire, as according to the Scot, he should have sent off Marustik much earlier.
Ideally, before he had scored!
It was a double-whammy for Marustik, who not only ended Argyle's five-match unbeaten run but had also inflamed the Green Army on the terraces by taking out his frustration on a young lad whose only crime was to return the ball to him.
I'm not so sure you could be so generous about the actions of Swansea ball-boy Charlie Morgan, whose refusal to return the ball to Hazard led to the Belgian – who said that nation had little charisma? – ended up with the unseemly sight of the Chelsea player kicking the teenager in the ribs in attempting to get play restarted.
I've only seen the highlights but even allowing for the old 'heat of the moment' excuse, Hazard's done himself up like a kipper, as they say at that end of the King's Road.
Even if young Charlie's admission on Twitter before the game that delaying tactics in giving the visitors the ball back were part and parcel of the game and thus used in mitigation for Hazard, the latter would be better off taking his punishment and putting it down to experience.
I certainly wouldn't cite the supportive comments from Pat Nevin and Michael Owen that the ball boy was also at fault, if I was Hazard.
Neither would I encourage young Charlie to take up an acting career either: if his reaction to Hazard's hacking is any guide, he could do with a few lessons.