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A brief respite from transfer deadline day…’Modern Bloody Football’!

6 years ago

Modern Bloody Football – Part 6

Since the transfer window hasn’t closed yet, the following may be out of date…Modern Bloody Transfer Window!!

We concede for fun but still don’t seem concerned about getting some decent defenders.  We can’t score but seem content with a young foreign import (among others) who looks out of his depth when it comes to hitting the target and sometimes even connecting with the ball.  It’s a worry that we have to score just to get a point and need at least 2 or 3 to muster a win.

Not being able to turn defeats into draws could see us down, as others at the bottom haven’t won many more games, they just don’t lose as much and those extra points will do us in because we can’t keep a clean sheet, not to mention goal difference.  Maybe the new signings will give us a better chance of bouncing back if they don’t have release clauses in the event of disaster.

We could do a lot worse than offer Peter Crouch a short term contract or loan – even Jordan Rhodes might have been worth a risk.  It would be worth a punt on someone like those two to get us out of the mire.  Today (Sunday morning) I’ve read we’re preparing a £24 million bid for Berahino – not sure about that one like.

Shelvey looks like the type of player we have missed since Cabaye left.  We have thrown away millions on Cabella and Thauvin but have now learned to find the extra few quid to buy a Townsend instead, finally!!  And we spend money on a Saivet who again I know nothing about and who we probably don’t need.  Could that money have been put to better use securing a decent centre half/forward?

Anyway, back to the main issue with Modern Bloody Football this time.

What’s annoying me at the minute?  Well, apart from the current media Jurgen Klopp love in and the LVG bashing (top five and in the FA Cup 5th Round – imagine that eh).

The FA and Referees

September 2015 we had Diego Costa being retrospectively banned, and rightly so, after his assaults on Arsenal’s Gabriel.  Gabriel though gets off with a red card despite blatantly trying to kick Costa but then gets a ban because he didn’t leave the pitch quick enough when he was in the FA’s view wrongly sent off.  Eh!!!

We had our own similar issues to Gabriel in October when Coloccini gets sent off in the derby and then has his red card rescinded.  However, the club are charged with ‘failing to control their players in relation to their reaction to the referee’s decision’.  Ah right, players getting annoyed when the ref makes an arse of a decision which the FA overturn on appeal, so the players are vindicated then?

You just can’t make this sh*t up.

We lost Mitrovic for 3 games post-Arsenal for at worst a clumsy attempt to play the ball, yet players who deliberately tw*t someone when they are nowhere near the ball (Dann on Ageuro at Palace) only get a yellow card.  So clumsy is red but blatantly malicious is yellow?

It infuriates me that some challenges get a yellow card without any thought that football has and will always be a contact sport.  Sometimes a player will just nick a ball a fraction of a second before the opponent tries to tackle them and yes it’s a foul but not a yellow.  Any player on a Sunday morning would accept that sort of challenge without much complaint.

The slow motion replays usually make things look worse than they are.  Yellows (and reds) should be reserved for persistent offenders, i.e. Cattermole and unfortunately and for the purpose of balance, Tiote (who never seems to learn) and for the downright nasty, erm, Cattermole.  We all know it was a joke he never got at least a yellow in the derby for running up Perez’s back and crippling Colback, to mention only 2 of his challenges but hey, Bobby Madley did well in that game didn’t he…cough!!

The other thing about mistimed tackles that get a yellow is that at least that’s just a natural part of the game.  How many times do we see teams (Stoke, Sunderland or any Tony Pulis or Sam Allardyce team etc) continually kick players off the ball, wrap arms deliberately around players’ shoulders and necks or just blatantly grab hold of a shirt.  Many of these never get punished but surely these are the sort of premeditated fouls that we should be clamping down on?  I just don’t get it really, genuine mistimed challenges and you’re in the book, premeditated shirt pull and you might get a ticking off if it’s the fourth time you’ve done it.

In previous seasons we had the Loic Remy ban for us for a head butt after being provoked (although he’d have been laughed at in the Bigg Market for how pathetic it was), while Costa has been getting away with this for the entire time he’s been here.

Then we have the Callum Mcmanaman incident on Haidara at Wigan which they refused to re-referee because the officials had seen it apparently.  But Gabriel’s red card is rescinded, so what did the ref see to give him a red in the first place?  Joey Barton does that and it’s the death penalty and usually with good reason.

While we’re talking about odious little scallies, let’s have a little chat about James McClean (more of him later too).  Not so long ago he put in a terrible challenge on Moussa Dembele against Spurs, not sure a free kick was even given.  Should the FA have retrospectively intervened?

Two weeks later and he does exactly the same to Adam Smith against Bournemouth, probably due to being allowed to do it last time, but this time he rightly gets a red card.  His actions sparked a bit of a melee but he probably doesn’t understand why.  Move forward to Chelsea v West Brom and McClean scores a late equaliser.  His post-match interview just goes to show how out of touch the modern footballer is:-

“it’s never nice to see opposition players running over waving imaginary yellow cards…it’s a lack of respect…it’s not nice…credit to the referee…”  blah blah blah

Really James, you suddenly have some sort of moral conscience on acceptable behaviour now?  Costa was a tool (yet again) in the same game, likes to kick and whine but doesn’t like it back.

Arsene Wenger also complained about Per Mertesaker being sent off when Costa went down like a gymnast last week in the return Chelsea game.  Thing is Arsene you’ve got a similar actor in Olivier Giroud (and most of the other Arsenal players, Cazorla particularly nauseating) who for the size of the bloke can fall over at the slightest knock.  It’s probably a case of what goes around comes around.

The classic defence from a club, usually from the manager is; ‘well I know James / Callum / Joey / Diego / Olivier / Lee… he’s a lovely lad… he’s not that sort of person… it’s not in his nature’.  Sorry, it’s exactly their Neanderthal nature I’m afraid, as these incidents have proven to rarely be a one-off.

Then we have decisions like Tiote’s disallowed goal against Man City (I know I should let it go but Mike Jones is in Trelford Mills’ territory in my view).

If anyone’s got the DVD of Newcastle’s 1000 Premier League goals then compare Tiote’s strike to goal number 143 by Robbie Elliott (v Leeds 17/04/1995).  It’s virtually identical in that the keeper doesn’t move because the strike is so sweet and there’s absolutely nowt he can do about it and that’s with nobody in the vicinity “causing a distraction” with that one.  The only difference is Joe Hart used the presence of a Newcastle player (not even in front of him) as an excuse to wave his arms around and sway the officials which they took hook, line and sinker.

There was the controversy over Sterling’s cross for the second Man City goal against Everton the other night.  Everyone stating it was clearly over the line but there is one angle looking directly along the byline that suggests it might have been in by the smallest of margins.  No close up or goal line technology to confirm that one and since a ball is round you will always see a bit of grass if the angle is 20 yards away from the byline.  Maybe if they digitally turned the ball into a cube you’d get a better idea of how close it actually was.  That said, if it had of been against us I’d be going nuts too.  I agree with Pellegrini though, they were done out of a clear pen in the first game so we’ll call that even too.

That incident reminded me of Shearer’s goal against Stevenage in a cup replay.  Depending on whether you watched SKY or ITV for your post-match analysis, depended on whether the technology they used proved the ball was over the line or not.  One side used digital images to “prove” it was over and the other used digital images that “proved” it wasn’t, so even the technology at that time was inconclusive.

Meanwhile, back at West Brom, James McClean (told you he’d be back) gets a reprimand for celebrating at the end of the game in front of the Mackems but Adam Johnson can leg it the full length of the pitch to smile and point at Newcastle fans with nothing said.  I can understand why they do it but that doesn’t make it right.  Adebayor did the same playing for Man City against former club Arsenal and received a £25k fine and a 2 game suspended ban.

And while we’re on the subject let’s document the tramps on the pitch at the SOS yet again, who are then helped back over the hoardings to regain their seats by the stewards.  Honestly, if this had been at St James’ on such a frequent basis we’d have been fined and had to play games behind closed doors!!

I read in the paper (Metro 02/11/2015) after the Rugby World Cup final that some 15 year old kid ran onto the pitch and was stopped by stewards.  In football this would usually result in a banning order, or if it’s the Mackems an invite to do it again next time!!  However, this kid was then given a medal by All Blacks winner Sonny Bill Williams who said;

“Hopefully he’ll remember it for a while.  He’ll appreciate it and when he gets older he’ll be telling his kids – that’s more special than it just hanging on a wall”.

I reckon it’ll be on eBay before long!!  I suppose though at Rugby you can stand up and drink beer while the game is in progress too so what the hell eh!!

Another incident I seem to remember came when playing Peterborough in a cup tie at London Road and the man of the match award was given to Barry Fry (the manager of Peterborough if you didn’t know) who had spent most of the game running the full length of the touchline when they scored.  He’s a loveable cheeky chappie so that makes it ok.  I found that a bit disrespectful to the 22 players who were actually doing all the work.  Just before that game Sam Hamman (Cardiff Chairman) had been vilified for walking past the away end at Cardiff v Leeds.  The balance is just not apparent with any FA decisions.

In Defence of Officials?

Strikers rarely get the benefit of the doubt with marginal offside decisions and when they do the officials get hammered.  If they aren’t 100% sure they aren’t supposed to give it but half the time it’s a bit of a guessing game, even when the TV use the old freeze frame to argue their point.

How many penalty decisions, particularly hand ball incidents, have we argued over so far this season.  You could almost flip a coin to decide if a referee will give a penalty or not.  It would be interesting to see the FA take 10 of those incidents (full speed, no slow-mo replays) and test each referee to see what decision they would have given with only a couple of seconds to decide penalty or not.  I’d be amazed if there was any sort of consensus among them.  They should do the same with pundits and see how many can agree with each other.

No doubt there will be more controversy before the end of the season and in some respects I do feel a bit sorry for the refs who have to make that split second decision, but not when the decision is blatantly just wrong…for example Frank Lampard’s non-goal against Germany or Pedro Mendes non-goal for Spurs at Man Utd when Roy Carroll chucked a last minute half-way line shot into the net.

I hate all the Modern Day criticism and micro analysis by pundits who have had the opportunity to spend hours watching 20 replays from a multitude of angles at different speeds before they disagree among themselves.  They’ve been banging on for years that ex-players would make better refs but it’s no surprise that suggestion hasn’t been taken up.  Why put yourself open to analysis when you can do that in a comfy studio without being held to account.

Having professional referees hasn’t made much difference either, in fact if anything, to me it seems to be worse.  Would I advocate more technology to iron out some of the difficult decisions?  Well, no I’m afraid I wouldn’t.  As I’ve alluded to above, the pundits can’t always agree after all the intense analysis, so what definitive outcome would you get in 30 seconds?

Football is such a great game as a result of some of these incidents because it stimulates debate and opinion in the pub after the match.  The day everything becomes clinical and definitive will be the day football won’t ever be the same again.  It’s already a shadow of the game I fell in love with back in the 80s.

There have been many controversies over the years and I’m sure everyone will have their own personal favourite head masher.  There were so many more I could have mentioned but I’ve picked out just a few that have been recent or stick in my mind.

Modern Bloody Football, it does my head in!!

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