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Monday, November 26, 2007

Manchester United Complain, Chelsea Benefit but Refs are Destroying English Football

By The Coach

Why is it that referees in England, week in and week out, make so many wrong game-defining decisions?

Take for example the games of Derby vs Chelsea, West Ham vs Tottenham (which I watched this weekend live) and Bolton Vs Manchester United.

Derby was denied a perfectly good goal for a non existent off side that would have brought the struggling team back into contesting the game.

And as if that wasn’t enough poor Derby was blown a final knock-out by the referee when he allowed play-on at an obvious and flagrant foul committed by Shevchenko from which Chelsea went on to score their second goal.

In any other country such a tackle from behind would have earned the player at least a yellow card.

In the match at Upton Park, again there was clear off-side when Keane found himself on a one on one against Robert Green but was not given.

It was then followed up by a clear penalty offence by the goalkeeper which again was not given.

And to top it all up the referee saw a non-existent penalty in the final minute of the game, which thankfully for the home fans (and for justice) Rob Green went on to save.

At the game at Bolton, Kevin Davies and his Bolton team mates have reverted to old methods.

You even had Ferguson complaining about Bolton’s non- football tactics and blaming referee Mark Clattenburg for being too lenient!

Some cheek if you ask me since it was his United side that kicked the bones out of the Arsenal players at Old Trafford when the Invincibles run of 49 unbeaten games was brought to an abrupt and unjust end.

It was that inept referee Mike Reily in charge. He awarded a non existent penalty to Roonie’s falling over Campell’s leg; and it was him again in charge at Upton Park yesterday.

Nevertheless Ferguson’s cynicism should not detract us from the dire state of refereeing in England.

The above examples are typical of that we become witnesses to every week. Why isn’t anyone saying or doing anything about it?

What is wrong with English football? Why is it so hard to even contemplate change in some sacred areas such as refereeing?

It seems it is against the English culture to criticize authority.

“Criticize the referee but accept it. Don’t demand changes; if you do you will kill the game”.

But I say you should not worry about killing the game because the referees in England are doing a good job of this on their own.

Something needs to be done and sooner rather than later.

What is even worse it affects the way football is played in England and as a result stifles the development of talent in English football. Trevor Brooking should take note!

What needs to go out of the window is the religious belief that football is a physical game.

Not it is not! Rugby is a physical game; football is a skilful team game. Referees should not allow disguised rugby players on a football pitch to spoil it.

When a skilful attacker is dribbling through a number of players, balancing himself finely while running at 30 miles an hour, it doesn’t take too much of a push to put him off balance and surrender the advantage to the defender.

A little shoulder-to-shoulder or a slight body check is enough to render, in an instant, all the skills possessed by the attacking player useless on an English football pitch. The defender is, almost always, given the benefit of the doubt by the referees.

Teams and coaches who need to be successful in these playing conditions in England can ignore the fact that referees favour defensive play at their own peril.

It doesn’t pay dividends to play attractive attacking football in England.

Look at the switch of fortunes for Allardyce’s Bolton when he finally realised that this is how he can get results in the Premiership. It is happening again today with Megson (who has been renamed the new Allardyce).

Arsenal is perhaps the only team in the Premier League that has managed to play attractive attacking football successfully, despite the referees.

Are they the exception to the rule or has Wenger realised something that others have not?

I will ask why this is so in a future article.

McClaren and Wenger blamed for England’s failure: A nation in denial

England will probably never be a world football power


Vuja De said...

I agree that there is plenty of room for improvement in the performances & decison making of referees & their assistants.

However, nothing is going to change for the better in this regard unless & until FIFA & UEFA allow local FA's to use video technology at professional football matches to enhance the decion making & performances of referees & to ensure justice is done as and when, including punishing thugs like Barton & Hunt.

Unfortunately, FIFA & UEFA seem to take some kind of perverse pride in their refusal to move into the 21st century by making use of what technologies are now easily available.

If such technologies can be used for the good in Rugby & Cricket, then there's no real reason why they can't also be used in football.

Excuses about interrupting the flow of the game, having to add more time on games or making the game different from how it's played at amateur level simply don't cut it.

AMOS said...

Apart from just getting key decisions wrong and costing teams points, I believe that there is a wider responsibility from referees that was well highlighted in the Wiagan game on Saturday.
It was obvious from the kick off that as soon as Arsenal crossed the half way line or looked threatening from deep positions, that Wigan players would commit a foul just to break the momentum. These fouls are cynical and entirely pre-meditated and as such deserve a yellow card. As far as I am concerned, these fouls are much worse than mistimed attempts at tackling. The wider responsiblity of the referees and footballing authorities must be to eradicate this cynical approach. They must realise that for football to be sold it must be entertaining and the Wigan tactics just broke up the game into a non flowing spectacle.

Blue Forever said...

You must be kidding don't saying that Chelsea are in some way being favoured by referees. Mentioning the odd occasion does not make the rule. The list of times that Chelsea have been wrongly treated is too long to mention. You mentioned Derby's game. How about Essien's red card. We have seen similar fouls getting a yellow card, but a straight red is inconceivable. But maybe the referee had second thoughts about the Derby goal (or no goal) which was disallowed for offside and decided to make amends. Chelsea being favoured by referees!! My foot!! There was a certain Styles who mistakenly gave a penalty in favour of Chelsea. And he was suspended for 3 weeks. But you don't get referees suspended for outrageous decisions going against Chelsea. Come on boy wake up!!

Spy said...

I agree with the idea that we need to get rid of the belief that football is a physical game. Take a list of players that are touted to have been or are the best and everyone wants to watch, how many of them are associated with being physical. You will find that its the neat and sleek side of football that makes them stars and to be liked by all. On the other hand I disagree with the idea that Essien's foul at the weekend should have attracted a yellow card, rather we should be saying similar fouls that have attracted yellow cards in the past should have been red cards. Its never going to be a good idea to have players who only thinjk of themselves and carelessly injure other players who also work hard to be in those positions. Players must learn to protect fellow professionals.

Anonymous said...

My answer to blue for ever is that Essien's red card was a decision the referee got right! Wake up boy

gazzap said...

blue forever - dont you remember Chelsea's equaliser at Stamford Bridge last season? a clear foul by Ashley cole on Hleb in the build up.
Essien has had this red coming for a long time.

but overall the refs in this country are really horrendous. some of the things they ignore are disgusting while other petty incidents are met with a booking. for the fan, its very frustrating.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you arsechaps as well, not long ago during the Reading game when Adebayor scored, the goal was disallowed for the offside rule. Come on how can you give a decision like this when he was clearly onside, I think technology should be introduced carefully to some parts of the game surely it would not spoil it in any way and the fourth official wouldn't be bored shitles.

Anonymous said...

Lots of what this article said was right, but the rest was simply a cover for a lack of upper-body strength typical of Arsenal players. Look, I agree that fouling tactics are wrong since by their very nature they are against the rules. But stop whining about the fact that some teams are more physical than others. It's not that football is a physical sport, but rather that it is NOT non-contact. You can't possibly expect a defender to stop using his shoulder just because our players are quite fragile and tend to dive at the hint of contact (such as Eboue and RvP). Henry was a fabulous example of how you can play physically whilst not toplling every 30 seconds and before you comment that Henry had exceptional balance (which he did) the point is that the only reason why players don't stay up is because they usually choose to go down. We live in a time where 95% (or more) of players in our so called 'physical' league will go down if they think they can get a freekick or better out of doing so.

I agree that the officials in football are laughable at best. They don't know the rules themselves half the time (ie 'punishing' dives by not awarding the free kick when they should be acting against diving and exhaggerating). I'd love to see the entire PL officials team get sacked for utter incompetence, but to claim that they reward the more physical teams ahead of our own is frankly absurd.

I get as frustrated as the next person when Arsenal drop points, but physicality has long been a very cheap scapegoat for a poor performance from our boys. I mean yeah some teams commit a few more fouls (and a few more worse ones at that) than others, but to seemingly take the stance that the refs approve of physicality is just a joke.

One of the worst things about our officials is that 3/4 fair pieces of play which involve physical contact are given as free kicks. All those 'fouls' in the penalty area on the goal keeper and defender at set pieces, is that refs rewarding physical play or straight out punishing it? The latter.

Tackles from behind are often considered fouls or are punished more heavily when they are fouls even though tackling from behind is safer than from in front. Frankly our league is so far from having physicality the actual thought of a physical game is some bizarre concept I can't get my head around, since I see maybe only a handful in an entire year.

The simple fact is physicality is punished usually on sight rather than rewarded. There are very, very few physical players left in the league. It's a scapegoat for when Arsenal don't score one of their 30 chances in a game when the opposition is blamed for those tactics. And quite simply regaining some actual contact is this contact sport would be a much welcome change to the diving antics that people desperately pretend don't exist, as I said from some of our own players such as Rvp, Eddie and Eboue. I'd much rather we had twice as many physical players and some pride restored to playing the game than this shit we have today.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think Kevin Davies was recruited by Sam Alardyce to Bolton. Not because he is a prolific goal scorer? Yes, he does score the occassional goal but his main mission was to play the physical game to the limit to which the referees would allow. That is what he is really good at and what he has been practicing at training. I must agree with the way Ferguson felt yesterday in seeing him in action again (although it was a little of his own medicine).

No, I don't agree with you that football is should be a physical game and unfortunately it is statements like "restoring pride" in the game by playing it hard that encourage and maintain this attitude or should I say mass paranoia in the country.

Anonymous said...

Mass paranoia about what? You can't remove physicality from the game without making it non-contact. That has already been done to some degree. A yes having some physical players would restore some pride because as much as I love our boys playing the best football in the land, if RvP can stop cheating for penalties by 'falling over' whenever 'there's contact' then we can actually have an honest game of football free from cheating. In punishing physical players who you even admit are not breaking the rules all you do is reward all those players who are happy to exhaggerate whenever there is contact. Contact is neither dangerous, nor a big deal, nor is physicality. There's a huge difference between being physical and being dangerous and although sometimes the lines get blurred (which is where refs must make their own call if it is not clear-cut) if you remove the ability to play firm but fair you make the sport even less soulful than it is today- and let's fdace it the sport is already in a dyer state. There's no respect from the ground up in football, the players are always mouthing off, they dive, they make a meal of the smallest things and they cry whenever the dives in the box don't get given and you want one of the few redeeming features of the sport (the ability to actually make use of your body in relation to someone else) even more toned down than it already is. Football is already full of pussies, don't make it even more so.

Frankly if a player gets paid £30,000-£130,000 a week to do the best job in the world, paid for by FANS, I'd expect there to be a little honourable pride from the pros. That means equally people shouldn't be using fouling tactics, but that's not the same as playing a very physical game. Don't forget if you limit the physicality even more than it already is our very own beloved King Kolo will suffer badly from constantly giving away free kicks since he's a great example of a physical player.

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