Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Andy Carroll charged with assault (again)

As sad and tragic as it is, it's also unsurprising on the morning check of the world football websites to see the headline “Carroll bailed to stay at captain Nolan's house”. As a young footballer, Andy Carroll has immense promise and myriad physical gifts. As a young man, however, there certainly seems to be a lack of either common sense, luck, or temper-control.

It's disappointing for two reasons: first off because it involves Carroll (again); secondly because Newcastle appear disinclined to punish him (again). Last year he allegedly broke centre-half Steven “Who-Boy” Taylor's jaw over a text message found on Taylor's phone from his ex girlfriend. Shortly before this he was cautioned for assault for being involved in an affray outside a Newcastle nightspot. He's also awaiting trial for glassing a patron at another Newcastle pub. Either the young man has serious alcohol issues, an inability to stay out of trouble, serious anger issues, or a disturbing combination of all three. That two of his recent fracas have involved ex-girlfriends means that he takes women very seriously or not seriously at all - to paraphrase (badly) Wilde, "Once could be considered misfortune, while twice could be considered careless". To put it mildly, Carroll is guilty already of carelessness.

This latest allegation – again involving an ex-girlfriend of the England U21 star – involves him allegedly assaulting her in the very early hours of Sunday morning at her Tyneside home. Appearing in the magistrate's court in Newcastle on Monday, he listed his address as a hotel room and was bailed to stay at the home of club captain Kevin Nolan, except on nights where Newcastle United have to play away from home.

Whether he's guilty or not, Carroll is palpably guilty of a lack of common sense. Should he not be guilty of anything other than being involved in a private situation that got heated, he should have enough nous about him - especially given his bail status - to avoid either side escalating the situation to violence (he is currently defending his stance as being self-defence). Carroll needs to mature, otherwise he risks losing everything that his extraordinary body and talent have blessed him with.

Perhaps the magistrate who's bailed Carroll to stay at Nolan's is thinking both of community welfare and of the striker's. Nolan is a hard worker and a professional, an element of the game that Carroll obviously misunderstands - spending a number of months watching a true professional prepare can only benefit him and this seems a wise decision from afar.

Andrew Carroll is now a serial offender and there's the real possibility that he, like teammate Joey Barton before him, will serve time for his actions. In the past, Newcastle United have seemed reluctant to discipline their prodigy and in this case, part of, and perhaps all, the discpline has been meted out by the courts of law. This is a dangerous precedent for the club, but given NUFC's "live and let live" policy it's understandable that the magistrate felt he had no other option.

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