Is society forgiving enough?

Published: Monday, 14 February 2022

Sarah Moulds. Ever heard of her? No? Well I can’t blame you. Until recently few people outside of the Leicestershire village of Somerby had either.

Later this month (February 28th 2022) Mrs Moulds will be appearing at Lincoln Crown Court. She’s chosen a jury trial to fight the charges she’s accused of.

She’s being prosecuted by the RSPCA with two offences - ‘causing unnecessary suffering to a grey pony and failing to take reasonable steps to protect the pony from pain, suffering or injury’.

She was a primary school teacher. But her day job was stripped from her when she was sacked. Her boss, Mowbray Education Trust CEO Paul Maddox, said, when announcing the decision ‘I can confirm that Sarah Moulds’ employment with the Trust has been terminated’. Not much sign of forgiveness there.

Mrs Moulds has paid a heavy price for her moment of madness. I can’t imagine what life has been like for her and her family since. The fall out is still coming.

Yep. She’s the ‘horse-kicking former primary school teacher’ as the Press usually describe her.

She was caught on camera kicking and slapping a horse at the Cottesmore Hunt and allegedly subjecting a grey pony called Bruce Almighty to ‘unnecessary suffering’.

Abhorrent. Disgusting. I don’t know - pick a word yourself. They’ve all been written to describe Mrs Moulds - who might yet be found not guilty of the charges. The law will run its course.

I should think by now it’s fairly obvious why I’ve brought this up?

What’s the difference between Mrs Moulds and Kurt Zouma? Well, there’s two I can see straight away. Mrs Moulds isn’t a £30m footballer. And she didn’t post the pictures of herself allegedly kicking that horse, screaming with laughter like dumb and his brother dumber. Hilarious guys. Sa commence. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. How we laughed when we saw the video.

Another difference? Mrs Moulds employers acted swiftly and sacked her. I guess they wanted to send a message to the thousands of youngsters who ride ponies - and their parents - that the kind of behaviour we witnessed was unacceptable? Judgement was swift. No forgiveness.

Compare what Paul Maddox said when announcing his decision to the weasel words of West Ham’s CEO, Karren Brady, this weekend.

Ms Brady told us ‘he (Zouma) has said sorry, and has apologised sincerely to everybody at the club and the wider public’. Oh. That’s ok then. Keep your eyes shut and Carry On.

Brady went on ‘that is an important first step on what will be a journey of re-education and atonement’. Yea. On this one - agreed.

But that journey should NOT be a public one. Zouma should NOT be playing football while he undertakes it.

Brady has failed her manager, David Moyes, and every animal loving West Ham fan - all the 10-year-olds that Moyes mentioned post-match at Leicester, while defending the decision (I’m not convinced it’s his) to keep playing Zouma.

Moyes went on ‘West Ham have done great work in the East End of London, young supporters coming in and a lot of good things being done’.  Moyes has been key to a lot of that work.

But stop for a moment - and ask some of those youngsters how they feel about a cat-kicking centre-back representing their club right now.

I’m with Graeme Souness ‘I have zero sympathy for him (Zouma). West Ham’s roots are in the East End of London, salt-of-the-earth people. They’ve (West Ham) mis-managed it from day one’.

We’re told Zouma was ‘unwell’ so couldn’t play at Leicester. Really? Moyes looked unsure about the nature of the illness when questioned after the match.

If Zouma really had missed team meetings and meals because he felt so unwell surely Moyes would’ve sent him home? Why go to the lengths to isolate him, yet still send him out to warm up with the intention of playing? Is he really that important to them? Come on - we’re not talking about Sergio Ramos here.

Or was it that Zouma started to feel unwell when he heard the reception he got? And the continued baiting? I wouldn’t blame him if that was the case. That’s another failure on West Ham’s part - protecting Zouma’s mental well being.

The RSPCA might yet press charges. Good. They should in my opinion. Zouma’s head must be full of mince. If Brady and West Ham care not a jot for decency in the public space - then they should be protecting their ‘asset‘ surely? Sorry - employee.

That’s what it comes down to. Zouma is an expensive ‘asset’. This is all about money. Brady is scared that £30m is going down the drain. She talks of a ‘forgiving society’. I agree - but that society isn’t ready to forgive in this case just yet. Long term I hope that happens - but don’t hold your breath. Zouma might just be finished in English football.

And ‘society’ certainly won’t feel too much sympathy towards West Ham if the brainless morons who took to kicking a blow up cat about at Leicester continue to behave in that manner. And cut those chants as well.

A final thought on why Ms Brady is so worried about her ‘asset’. Has it anything to do with takeover talks that we’re led to believe may have been taking place? Is that why West Ham are also desperate to hang onto Declan Rice until a deal has been done? To keep the share price high? I don’t know. But it’s a theory that’s been aired elsewhere as well.

I have no idea where Ms Brady and West Ham go with this. It’s a mess all of their own making. And I don’t blame David Moyes at all. I agree with the Mail’s Ian Ladyman today (Monday) on that subject.

He writes ‘Moyes has been hung out to dry. Somebody above him should’ve ordered him not to play Zouma.

‘Moyes comes out of this looking like he doesn’t care when, in reality, he undoubtedly does’.

This one is on Ms Brady’s toes. And all of a sudden - we live in a ‘forgiving society’. How convenient. As Richard Littlejohn might say ‘you couldn’t make it up’. What Alan Sugar would say is arguably more appropriate.