Standing outside of the gate of my local 3G pitch waiting for the prior game to finish. Having arrived slightly early I can see that the game is heated with a slide tackle taking down a player worthy of a red card being the first action I noticed. But this is a ‘friendly’ game, no referee, no red cards, no sending off. The final move of the game and a player races down the left wing to connect with a squared ball. The keeper also races towards the ball in an attempt to clear it. The striker gets to the ball first finishing well into the top right hand corner and is a fantastic football goal. However, what happened after the ball had left the strikers foot left me in complete shock as I witnessed a man, similar age to myself lying on the ground in terrible pain with a leg, broken in two as a direct result of the keepers challenge. His immediate future changed, long term future effected. It took the ambulance half an hour to stabilise the man and have him on his way to hospital which would be the start to a long road to recovery.

Now, no-one other than the keeper will know what he thought would happen making such a challenge. I very much doubt he intended to cause an injury, never mind breaking another man’s leg in what was a recreational ‘friendly’ game. But the question remains, would that tackle have happened in the way it did had the game not have turned aggressive.

We’ve seen potential aggression in the Premier League only last weekend. With 2 players being charged with violent conduct, what gets a player in such a mind-set that they allow their actions to potentially hurt a fellow player? Sure, it might not have been intentional as I’m sure with the case above, but the actions those players have taken leaves the ‘chance’ that they could hurt other players.

Some of the best defenders to have ever played can be described as playing with passion. A will to take the ball away from the opposition using strength and skill is seen as an attribute that makes a great defender. They use their intelligence and ability to effectively and safely tackle their opponent with control and a clear mind. This doesn’t matter if we’re in the Premier League or at my local pitch, the same rule applies.

On the other hand, aggression is quite the opposite. When a player plays in an aggressive manner, that player will have less concern with the health and safety of their opponents. The ‘red mist falls’ and it is at this point a players thought process changes, and their skill, ability and control deteriorates to a level where the player poses a risk to every other player (including themselves) on the pitch.  You see this in every level of football and although I may be biased given last night’s events, it’s not acceptable on a football pitch. The governing bodies will always do their upmost to reduce the risk. The decent rule, the new zero tolerance towards aggression directed at the officials will all improve the game, but bottom line is it is the responsibility of every player to hold the health and safety of everyone on the pitch with the upmost of importance.

Passion to win makes a great football player, aggression shows a lack of control and is unacceptable at every level. Don’t be the person to end another’s sport, keep a clear head, play safe and let everyone enjoy the game.