The first game as Sheffield Wednesday manager for Tony Pulis did not go to plan as his side went down 1-0 to Preston North End at Deepdale – and he found himself dealing with an unwanted incident that has gone viral.
The Welshman’s game plan went out of the window after just 17 minutes following a red card shown to attacker Josh Windass.
It was damage limitation from there, and Preston ended up opening the scoring through Tom Barkhuizen’s 48th minute strike, capitalising on a mistake from Keiren Westwood.
There was another major talking point in the game, though, that the referee failed to pick up on, but eagle-eyed fans watching from home certainly noticed.
An incident between Callum Paterson and Preston’s Darnell Fisher at a second-half corner ended up circulating the internet, after the Lilywhites full-back grabbed Paterson’s privates not once, but twice.
— Chris Robinson (@ChrisIRobinson) November 21, 2020
It was certainly a bizarre thing to do and is more akin to something you’d see in Sunday league football, not in the professional game.
The incident was incredibly hard to miss, but Wednesday boss Pulis had not seen it when he was quizzed post-game by the media – but he thinks the book will be thrown at Fisher.
“You’re the first one who’s said that to me… I haven’t seen it, but if that’s the case then that’s the case,” Pulis told the Sheffield Star.
“I’m sure with everybody on social media and all the places that people look now, he’ll be up in flames now if he’s done that.”
Due to the reaction that it has received on social media, the FA can’t ignore this incident, even if Paterson says that he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it.
A similar case occurred during a Six Nations rugby match earlier this year, in which England’s Joe Marler was banned for 10 weeks after grabbing Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones in the same area Fisher did to Paterson.
Will the FA lay down the same punishment to the Preston defender here? It’s hard to say for sure, however they may want to set an example to make it clear that the kind of behaviour shown isn’t acceptable on the field of play, and North End could then be without Fisher for a while.