Why Sterling's Sending Off Was Harsh and Why the Laws on Goal Celebrations May Need Relaxing
Raheem Sterling hit a 97th minute winner against Bournemouth on Saturday, but was sent off by Mike Dean for his 'overly passionate' celebrations, and the whole situation was a bit of a joke.
Sterling was obviously thrilled to have scored, but the manner of everything undoubtedly made the moment so much more sweet.
To win a game of football - either playing or watching - in the 97th minute is a brilliant feeling, especially after you've seen your team dominate proceedings without managing to break through.
Sterling's goal induced overwhelming feelings of relief as well as happiness - it was a huge goal in the grand scheme of things, and it could make all the difference towards the end of the season.
The lad should definitely have been forgiven for letting his emotions run high during his goal celebration that actually wasn't even that bad.
The former Liverpool man ran over to the travelling Citizens and revelled in the joy that the moment obviously called for, but he did not go overboard. He didn't throw himself into the crowd and the stewards were on hand to keep everybody safe. He didn't technically leave the field of play.
Dean clearly did not take into account the 'human emotions' aspect of the situation and needlessly branded a second yellow card which could have repercussions for City in their next game - the team's right wing is now significantly weaker with no Sterling and of course, no Kyle Walker; another player wrongfully serving suspension.
Some may remember Ross Barkley scoring at the same ground to put Everton 3-2 up in the 95th minute; the Englishman made a beeline for the away fans and was mobbed but received no caution. He never left the field of play just like Sterling didn't and who was the referee that day? A certain Mike Dean. But that is an article and an opinion for another day.
A riled Alan Shearer reiterated his stance on the situation on Match of the Day after tweeting: "Don't give me 'it's the law' nonsense. Mike Dean has clearly never experienced scoring the winning goal.
"And for all saying 'but it is the law' if we are going to rigidly apply law with no common sense, why did he only book Sterling?"
The Geordie, often maligned for his 'stating the obvious' and 'fence-sitting' over the years, was bang on. Sterling wanted to share a great moment with those that live to support Manchester City Football Club. Those that pay their hard-earned money to follow the club through thick and thin. Those that pay his wages.
It has always been a contentious rule and one that needs re-visiting because the gap between footballers and fans keeps widening. They are human beings that experiences real human emotions just like everybody else. Sterling won his team three big points and wanted to share his emotions up close with those that chant his name week in week out.
Matchday stewards are plentiful and so the laws relating to goal celebrations ought to be slackened; don't be giving out yellow cards to players who want to share amazing moments with the people that make football happen.