The F.A. have announced that lucky punters will be able to buy common sense by the bag from their headquarters as of this Saturday, after they have decided no one in the football world has any use for it any more.
With the backdrop of multi-billionaire takeovers, Djibril Cisse’s haircuts and Alan Hansen’s “technical analysis”, the football world has recently become steadily madder, with the result that the common sense left over from the days when men were men is completely unused and is gathering dust in a basement.
Alex Ferguson, never normally one to be biased (ABU fans please note the sarcastic tone of this article before taking this statement as my serious opinion), is respected throughout the game for his record and dedication to chewing gum, but even such a wise old head was unable to engage his brain before mouthing off about the head referee Keith Hackett to the subtle occasion that is a press conference. Labelling the officiating body biased against his team, he casually ignored every dodgy penalty which has broken the deadlock at Old Trafford for his team, and even managed to lull Bolton’s Jlloyd Samuel into thinking he may be allowed to challenge Ronaldo fairly in the box.
Sheffield United only come across vaguely sensible due to the fact that the disciplinary side of the game is even more ridiculous. Apart from randomly deciding Carlos Tevez was worth just them amount to West Ham which would have kept them up, they failed to point out one of their own ex-players, Steve Kabba, had been prevented from playing for Watford against them in a game they won 1-0 (also therefore worth three points) by an arrangement as sinister as Tevez’s never-induced buy-out clause. Their players now feel they can sue for lack of earnings, after a tribunal (in which may I point out, each team actually chooses a judge!! Only in football…) found West Ham liable for Sheffield’s awful performances at the end of the season.
Then there are referees. It is one thing flagging for a marginal offside, but giving a goal where the ball went wide is a new low. It would only be fair then for the game to be replayed, which, admirably, Reading manager Steve Coppell offered to do. This wasn’t allowed by the authorities however, which therefore implies the goal that never was had less of an effect on the final result than when West Ham fielded an illegible player (Emanuel Omoyinmi, if you’re asking) for the last 5 minutes against Aston Villa in the cup and had to replay it. Needless to say, Omoyinmi never touched the ball, but it was important enough for a replay.
Arsene Wenger has also proved he is mad after giving his players motivational letters before a game. Described by my old dad as “nonsense on stilts”, Arsene genuinely seemed to think that players such as William Gallas and Cesc Fabregas would run that little bit harder with the words of the sharply-penned epistle ringing in their ears. He may have had more chance if he’d sent them each a text, but that is not the point. Players should not need to be told things such as “always want more” (especially if Steven Reid and a pork pie are in earshot) and if they don’t receiving a letter telling them to is unlikely to change anything. You only have to see them with their agents at contract time to know that is exactly what they were thinking anyway.
But maybe the stupidest thing of recent times is the endless debate about goal-line technology. It seems daily that balls are adjudged to have crossed or not crossed the line when everyone else in the entire stadium thought the opposite, but still the F.A. refuse to bring in goal line technology, and even had the audacity to smugly let us know they’d trialled having extra linesmen at the goalmouth to give another pair of eyes. The world and his dog could tell you we just need a camera, a screen, the fourth official, and the ability to give the correct decision at the next break in play; but the football authorities know better. We’re not demanding robot referees, micro-chipped footballs or divine intervention. We’d just like a decent game of football, and the FA to put up just two more cameras.
Is it asking too much?
The Armchair Fan promises to bring you all the stories from the football world which you will have missed in the regular press – check them out at his website.