Mullins bemoans final ban
By Lewis Rutledge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
West Ham's Hayden Mullins believes he should be playing in the FA Cup final.
West Ham midfielder Hayden Mullins believes The FA should have allowed him to play in Saturday's FA Cup final.
The 27-year-old will miss the Millennium Stadium showpiece after being sent off for a clash with Luis Garcia in the recent Premiership game against Liverpool.
However, Mullins feels that the incident was so innocuous that the referee, or at least The FA, should have shown some leniency with the ramifications of a suspension so significant.
"I think they [The FA] could maybe have done something.
"In harsh cases, where someone has committed a two-footed tackle and had broken someone else, then that is fair enough.
"I am biased, but I think my sending off was pretty soft to get a three-match ban and miss the FA Cup final."
Mullins revealed that he pleaded with referee Howard Webb to show him some sympathy, but they fell on deaf ears.
"I tried to talk to him and say 'it is handbags, there is an FA Cup final coming up. You do not really need to send us off. There is nothing in it' - he was having none of it," he reflected.
"I understand that in the heat of the moment people do things and it was out of character.
"I would not say I'm bitter, but disappointed that Garcia provoked me into a reaction."
Mullins admitted that having to watch the final from the sidelines would be heartbreaking, but he would try to enjoy the occasion nonetheless.
"I am gutted. It will be devastating watching the players out there, and thinking I would do this and that, to see the crowd, the horns, hear the fans," he anguished.
"Knowing that I am going to be there will cushion the blow, but it is absolutely devastating not be playing there.
"Who knows? It could be my only FA Cup final, and to not be part of it is absolutely gutting.
"These opportunities do not come along often. You want to be part of it."
Carl Fletcher could benefit from Mullins' absence after scoring against Tottenham, and the Welshman expressed his sadness for his team-mate.
"It is unfair for Hayden, he has had a fantastic season and it is a massive disappointment," Fletcher empathised.
Assistant manager Peter Grant also weighed in with a selfless gesture, declaring that he had "offered him my medal, if we win and he does not get one."