Of all the low-down divers in the low-down dive that is the den of iniquity they call the Premier League, Ashley Young is lowest, downiest, diver-iest of the lot.
First of all, he's English, and Englishmen don't dive. We leave that to oily, slippery folk from hot countries. That's right. You know who I'm talking about. Michele OwenInho, Gareth Baleiovic, Stevio Gerrardini - untrustworthy sorts, I tells ya.
Second of all, he plays for Manchester United, one of the most upstanding of names in the world of international sport. United players have a history of never falling over to win a penalty. Like ever. (And unlike Evra.)
Thirdly - and perhaps more to the point - Ashley Young doesn't actually dive properly. While many prefer to indicate the slightest of ankle-taps has thrown him off-balance, Young attempts to simulate that he's been wiped of his feet by someone wielding the trunk of a recently sawn-down redwood. He doesn't so much fall as throw himself into an invisible tumble-dryer.
Having said that, he is at the forefront of a new and subtle variation in the art of diving. Falling over when no one has touched you can make you look a bit silly. Ashley counteracts this by kicking his opponent's leg before going over. This has caused all sorts of confusion for the regular pundit who will tell you that 'if there is contact he is entitled to go down'. Given that football is a contact sport, we are in serious danger here of losing the plot entirely.
The Young approach is akin to the old joke of the police officer's report that states that 'the suspect repeatedly smashed his face into my boot for a good ten minutes' before he confessed. The fact that Ashley has been warned about this appallingly blatant somersaulting before just adds to a sense of frustration about the player. (That and the fact that he's another of these England internationals who is promising at 22 and NEVER GETS ANY BETTER AFTER THAT).
The referee did well to book Young on Saturday. The irony is of course that the same player won a penalty kick a little later on as a direct result of trying not to fall over. If you watch the incident again you will see Young's feet start to stutter and stammer as he tries to overrule his now natural inclination to try a couple of Nadia Comaneci flick-flacks as he makes his way into the box. Dikcagoi makes a clumsy effort to get the ball, but nothing much more than that, and Young goes down anyway in the inelegant heap that would have happened even if the Palace man hadn't nudged him.
But this is the problem with these serial offenders like Ashley Young. I'm told that practice makes perfect; that the way a sportsman becomes very good at something is through repetition of tedious routine until that action becomes automatic.
You can't tell me that Young hasn't been practising. He has a little trigger, a muscle memory if you like, so that his inevitable response to going past someone in the penalty area is to cartwheel through the air like a bit of tumbleweed. He can't actually help it. Much like a batsman can't help lolloping a short ball down long leg's throat, or a golfer tends towards the draw in a tee-shot.
Except in football it's what's known as fucking cheating. So we wonder why Ashley Young can't just stop fucking cheating. And we find that the answer might just be to penalise the little bleeder severely until he unlearns his sinful little addiction.
So how do we do this?
Well first of all, as David Moyes has done, players and managers (and fans) need to condemn it whole-heartedly. A goal has been scored through the overt deceit of your player, your teammate. And not through the incompetence of the officials. And yet too often you get club representative shrugging their shoulders, grinning wryly and muttering the tired old maxim of 'winning some and losing some'.
The Crystal Palace chairman says the ref should give a red card for diving. Yes, mate. If he's absolutely certain, then he should. Especially if it is an attempt to win a penalty. However more often than not there's an uproar precisely because the bloke's got away with it. And in that case, you're a goal down and the punishment has to be retrospective.
Now to anyone but those folk who believe that the world spins on a stick of celery and is rotated twice a day by a giant marmoset with sticky hands, the idea that the FA haven't yet been able to introduce serious retrospective bans for simulation is simply gob-smacking.
It is the most obvious thing that can be done NOW, straight-away, to say that anyone found guilty of successfully conning the referee into awarding a penalty kick shall be given a three-match ban minimum. If he does it again, double the ban. So what if that means that Luis Suarez never plays another game of football? It would work.
Me, I'd go further. Humiliate the cheating little bastards. If you want to be a diver, you've got to dress like one. Ashley Young should play the next match in body paint and budgie smugglers. If he transgresses again, he plays his next match in snorkel and flippers (and he MUST be selected in both instances).
While said player is missing games he plays an important role in the half-time entertainment - a large paddling pool is pulled on to the pitch and small children take turns pushing the little sneak into the water. Then we strap him to a cart and he is given of lap of dishonour during which fans may boo, hiss and jeer, throw half-eaten pies, to their hearts' content.
If that weren't enough, I would make them explain themselves on national television, like disgraced Japanese businessmen sometimes do. Hell, let's get Piers Morgan to interview them. Let's see the contrition.
As it is, the FA lie motionless like basking seals, barking out the odd complaint but doing, appropriately enough, FA. It is ridiculous.
I don't really know anyone who has anything but contempt for the falling-over brigade. Ashley Young couldn't be less popular if he became an estate agent in his spare time. This is actually a very straightforward issue. Ban the Divers. Properly. Outside of the marital bed, there's no place for simulation.