So has football lost its soul?

What an emotional, mentally draining week its been.  Monsieur Henry’s handball has been talked to death at this stage, im sure some people will be rolling their eyes at another article over this much talked about topic, but I haven’t given my two cents yet and I’ve got some things to get off my chest.

As an Irishman, I am one of many millions affected.  In the build up to the afforementioned match on Wednesday night, I had an enthusiasm about our chances that had been missing for at least 4 years.  1 unlucky goal down, a perceived arrogance (unperceived once Lass Diarra showed his character) from the French,  memories of Paris 2004, all served to make us dream again.

After 33 minutes, enter dreamland.  Keano pulled us back into the tie.. Beautiful.  After 90 minutes, we deserved the victory.  “We could nick this” was a collective feeling.  I never rated Keith Andrews, Glenn Whelan, Darron Gibson, but they were immense.  With a backbone of the colossal Dunne and the impressive fearless St. Ledger, we had it in our hands.  One more goal and we would surely be through, and we were creating chances.

Never had a defeat been so crushing for me personally, especially in the circumstances.  I support Blackburn you see, so its not particularly surprising to lose. 

Currently as I write this, there are 374,691 fans on a petition to have Ireland v France replayed page on Facebook.  Of course I’m on the page, but one thing is for sure, there will be no replay.  Unjust? Yes.  Fair?  Absolutely not!

This is classic Fifa, and conspiracy theories are at an all-time high for anything I’ve experienced as a football fan.  Mr. Henry himself, captain of the national side and the perpetrator at the centre of this episode, would welcome a replay.  The French public are ashamed of their side, world cup or not.  WE definitely feel we deserve a replay.  Everybody’s on board except Fifa and the FFF (French Football Federation), and of course, Mr. Popular Raymond Domenech.

This has been talked to death, everybody has an opinion on it.  Our players and pundits have said that if the decision went in our favour, we would’ve kept quiet too, which is the truth.  

The big loser in this has been Thierry Henry.

A proper modern day legend, his reputation has been tarnished by Media and fans alike.  I know alot of casual fans, who know f**k all about football who have never liked Henry because he looks so “arrogant” when he scores a goal.  In my opinion, he was so good he ran out of celebrations.  Not everybody can do a corkscrew somersault y’know.  He remains one of the top 5 players I’ve seen in my lifetime, he was undoubtedly the star of the Premier League for at least 4-5 years.  I know that proper fans with the exception of United and Spurs fans have often applauded his skills. 

Though I am abit peeved at the fact that he did cheat.

It’s high time I reckon that video technology, or more linesmen are brought into the game, sharpish, not in the next three years or whatever.  I agree with Robbie Keane’s theory that Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini “were probably clapping their hands and texting each other”, and Duffer’s outburst that Adidas have alot of pull too.  Our game shouldn’t be corrupt anymore, it should have been sorted out a long time ago.  It should have been sorted out least back after Euro 96 when Romania took a shot that rattled off the bar, clearly crossed the line, but wasn’t given.  Two weeks on from the uproar of David N’Gog’s dive, he has been replaced by Henry as the latest cheat.  Henry won’t suffer abuse for too long, next high profile controversy and everybody will forget.  I give it a week or two.

In my opinion, the only reason video tech has never been introduced is because the “romance” and “drama” of the game might be distinguished.  I could go on more, but everybody’s already heard the arguments before, how it’s used in other sports blah blah blah!

It’s a shame that we’re not going to South Africa.  But I feel we’ll be at Euro 2012.  Our boys are a determined, passionate bunch.  We’re in love with our national team again, and our young team are going to feel like making a point. 

But as sad as it is to say, football needs an overhaul.  Divers shouldn’t prosper, games shouldn’t be decided by incompetant referees, who aren’t that I reckon (maybe bar Graeme Poll), why is there 1 linesman on each side, how about 1 per quarter pitch?  And of course, goals should be given that cross the line, not given when handballed in or to a team-mate.

Video Tech might take up some time, about as much time as players protesting against a decision.

When a player like Darren Fletcher, much joked about, can transorm himself into an energetic midfielder who’s important to the Man United cause and score a half volley of Gerrardesque quality, doesn’t that prove that football still has romance and soul?

From a disgruntled Irishman, adios!

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