There are poor takes, then there is calling the biggest hero in Australian sport right now a ‘borderline cheat’.
After Andrew Redmayne’s heroics in the intercontinental playoff against Peru in Doha to secure our five-consecutive World Cup berth, it would come as no shock if they erected a statue featuring the loveable Sydney FC goalkeeper at Circular Quay tomorrow.
What is shocking is the angle Fairfax journalist Malcolm Knox has taken slamming our latest sport hero and casting him to the same gutter Steve Smith and David Warner sobbed in during Sandpapergate.
Andrew Redmayne has been labelled a borderline cheat for his antics against Peru
A quick recap. Australia needed to beat Peru to make the World Cup. After 120 minutes of regulation play the score was 0-0. It went to penalty shootouts.
Coach Graham Arnold made the stunning call to bench captain and regular goalkeeper Mat Ryan in favour of an A-League custodian expected to only feature in the advent of a pretty serious injury.
Redmayne is a noted penalty shootout expert and had fresh legs. Legs he used to dance and sway to put his opposition off their game. He also found rival goalkeeper Pedro Gallese’s water bottle with notes on the Aussie player’s shooting style, so he promptly tossed that over the fence.
Yadayadayada Redmayne saves the Peruvian’s fifth attempt at goal and the Aussies win. An instant hero is minted.
The stop that stunned a nation. It was Redmayne’s skill, not his dancing or water bottle shotput actions that blocked the Peruvian shot and hoisted Australia into the FIFA World Cup
Aussie journalist Malcolm Knox has blasted the 33-year-old for his ‘borderline cheating’ antics
The overwhelming majority of Australians celebrated the achievement and applauded the larrikin nature of Redmayne. Orthodox is boring, right?
Not Knox. Clutching onto the modern narrative of picking apart everyone and everything until a fault is found he set about clawing at the bearded tall poppy in his column and effectively labelling Redmayne’s supporters as hypocrites.
‘Funny old world game. Imagine if it was the Peruvian keeper who stole our guy’s notes and leapt about like a dandelion on the breeze to get inside our shooters’ heads. All Australia would be up on its hind legs about cheating and poor form,’ he wrote.
That might be a fair enough cop on its own. There is little doubt Aussie sports fans would have bayed bloody murder if Gallese tossed our notes and the Socceroos ultimately failed in their bid to reach the big dance.
The Socceroos stopper was compared to sandpapergate cheats David Warner and Steve Smith
Redmayne returns to a hero’s welcome at Sydney International Airport on Wednesday
But it was what Knox penned next that showed his take was as far off the mark as Steve Harmison’s infamous first ball wide in The Ashes series in 2006.
‘Criticism has emanated from England. I know this because on Twitter his actions have been repeatedly described as ‘shithousery’ and ‘elite shithousing’,’ Knox wrote.
‘No, I’d never heard this term either. Through etymological fingerprinting, it can be traced back to English soccer, where it refers to what we polite folk would call a blackguard or a scoundrel.
‘In some parts of the world, Redmayne is seen not as a loveable hero but a borderline cheat.’
A borderline cheat. Search for Andrew Redmayne and ‘borderline cheat’ and all you will find is Knox’s column.
It is true, fans abroad have labelled Redmayne’s actions as ‘shithousery’ and ‘elite shithousing’. In the instances located on Twitter, they have been followed by laughing emojis. Or phrases like ‘Go Socceroos’.
This is not English football fans stoking the cancel cannons and aiming them at Redmayne’s house.
The genesis of the term shithousery is an attempt to gain an advantage by unfair means. However the term has been distorted over the years and context means everything.
Steve Smith and David Warner hatching a plot to alter a ball is not shithousery, it is blatant cheating [and was punished as such].
When football fans are calling out Redmayne for elite shithousery – especially when there is a laughing emoji beside it – is more of a celebration of the larrikin qualities he put on full display.
Needless to say, the football fans in Australia were not impressed at Redmayne being savaged before he could even enjoy his five minutes of fame.
‘Was playing drums and music outside our hotel all night in Uruguay sporting? Threatening players when they arrived at the hotel. Rolling around on the ground to waste time or in an attempt to get a penalty? Redders Wiggles move was not against any rules. Bravo,’ self-proclaimed football fanatic Rossco Tweeted.
Stavros pointed out: ‘Just another sokkah hater. Also funny that he doesn’t realise that “elite shithousery” is sort of a compliment’.
A profile known only as M pointed out that the notes Redmayne hoisted over the fence was borderline cheating in its own right: ‘Redders wanted a fair chop and was just levelling the playing field – Peru coaching staffing trying to give their keeper an unfair advantage providing code on water bottle. Jog on Malcolm’.
Don’t be gaslighted into thinking Redmayne is a pantomime villain and you should feel guilty for celebrating him as a hero. His eventual statue at Circular Quay is going to look might impressive.