Robert Snodgrass has vehemently denied suggestions that he conned a referee into awarding Hull City a penalty and maintains his “dive” against Crystal Palace was an attempt to protect his reconstructed left knee.
The Scotland winger returned to action in February after spending 16 months sidelined by a career-threatening knee injury repaired by complex surgery which required two operations. It meant Snodgrass was not overly keen on being clattered by an anticipated penalty-area challenge from Palace’s Scott Dann in the 3-3 draw at the KCom Stadium on Saturday.
“When you’ve had an injury like I’ve had you’re not going to go in and try and get in the way,” he said. “I tried to get out of the way. I felt as if I needed to ride the tackle. I thought the defender was obviously going to come in and slide but he never slid, he never tackled.”
Snodgrass, who converted a penalty he readily agrees Mike Jones should never have awarded to give Hull a 1-0 lead, has been heavily criticised with Palace’s manager, Alan Pardew, accusing him of simulation with Gary Lineker following suit on Match of the Day. The vast majority of his critics, though, will not have experienced such extensive surgery and lengthy rehabilitation.
If the furore undoubtedly offered Pardew a welcome chance to divert attention from his still fragile job security at Selhurst Park, where he remains under intense scrutiny from Palace’s American investors, Snodgrass acknowledges that the evidence against him looks compelling but is adamant he would not have risked a sending off.
“It looks bad because the defender never tackled,” said a player who, at the time, had just been booked for tugging Christian Benteke’s shirt. “But I’m not intentionally wanting to try and dive because I’m on a booking. You can get sent off if you’re trying to con them. But I’ve never been that type of player, never.
“It was never a penalty but that was the referee’s decision. I never thought I might be sent off, I was just trying to get away from what I thought would be an obvious tackle. I’ve always prided myself on being an honest player, that’s what my game’s all about. I’ve never been one for diving. I’m not that type of player, I was trying to get out of the way.”
Snodgrass has left himself open to accusations of blatant hypocrisy after he warned Sheffield Wednesday’s Fernando Forestieri last season not to ruin the Championship play-off final against Hull by diving. “I wouldn’t want to win at Wembley by cheating,” he said at the time. “Diving’s terrible for the game. It’s cheating the referee.”
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