Archive | January, 2019

Officially Crisis

10 Jan

Let’s get the elephant in the room out the way. Keyboard Gangsters and Death Threats involving Police Scotland to advise and Protect Officials and Pundits is frankly an embarrassment for the whole of Scottish Football. Personally I do not agree with BT Sport’s Chris Sutton on most things but give the Englishman credit he may be wrong he may need to correct some of his methods of delivery could even become slightly less bias in his Apparent Hate everything but one of his former Employers but he makes you think and consider. I was once told that the best thing you can do is read a newspaper you do not agree with because it will allow you to form a rounded opinion. The Norfolk Tractor boy often barely hides his alegancies but he joins the debate and allow fair minded people not only to dismiss his opinion but form or cement their own opinions. In any debate there is always a lunatic Fringe take Brexit for example seems the Extremists have squeezed out the common ground in the middle. Polarisation is rarely the way forward. Ask Teresa May

And I guess that’s the point. Please by all means disagree with Mr Sutton or anyone. Feel free to use his views as a basis for your own. Agree disagree think he is Cutting through the Crap or convince yourself he is full of S**t by all means sign up or sign out. But death threats, I imagine that Mr Sutton’s thick skin was not concerned with being called an Ar**hole I would also envisage that Police Scotland thought there was enough Creditable Risk to become involved themselves. Threats against a person any person is simply not the way to behave or is it just me that considers that resorting to low life low level Terrorism is wrong. If I am wrong in this then I really don’t want to be right.

Do I think there is a Conspiracy or agenda held against any Club by any official? I think some officials seem to have more regular bad days when officiating some clubs? Yes do I think that is a reason to question their motives? NO and sometimes in life we just encounter situations that bring out the things we didn’t want. They are pubs I personally have never enjoyed being in even though Freinds think the Bar is amazing. This is same for all Humanity sometimes we just hit same barriers no matter how hard we try to avoid them. As stated above I do not think that it’s a reason to threaten or cause fear.

For me it’s very simple Officials will make errors, they will apply rules in different ways in different circumstances. The same way a Player will make errors, passing to the right when the better pass is to the left, mistiming a tackle when holding off would be more appropriate. Managers will make errors playing a formation that weakens their chances of winning, selecting a starting line up and keeping star striker on bench. And Chairman and Board Rooms well hindsight is perfect vision if some of the clowns who inhabit the Directors Box think for one second they are beyond scrutiny then ask your self one simple question. Have they Sacked a Manager? Binning a Coach they employed to provide success is clearly the Board Room admitting they made a mistake employing the Person in first place. How many points has a woeful and lengthy Board Room deliberations cost a Club. Many more than a simple error in a split second that is for sure.

To return to Officials. These highly motivated People are in fact the bedrock of the Game. No Officials no Game! Does it mean I think the current crop of Officials are beyond Criticism? Not in the slightest. I do actually have some questions that need answered.

So where to begin seems to me that since Linesmen were replaced by Assistant Referees on Touch Line that we have a major failure. Too many times I have witnessed these Flag Jockeys doing anything but Assist the Whistler. A ball goes out 3 metres from the Assistant Referee,. The Assistant has clear view the Referees view is obscured by two or three players and the Referee is 12 metres away. All common sense says the Assistant is best placed to make the call you would think. Yet time and time again the Assistant refrains from making the call pointing the flag in air and Assisting the referee to enter into what looks like asking for advice from the Whistler before making what everyone can see is a simple call. What is stopping the Assistant doing the Job of assisting the Referee? Is it a fear of removing the Referees Authority? I seem to remember Linesmen having no trouble raising their flags and Referees believing their Colleagues without discussion. No these flag Jockeys are wired up on intercom system with buzzers, voice and digital communications yet the basic running the line determining if ball had left field of Play and whom got last touch (basic Linesman duties). Has turned into asking the one person who is in worse position to determine what they think? Where is the assistance?

The fourth official, A bouncer and display holder? Possible sub should an Official go down with a torn Hamstring? Is this their purpose?

Additional Assistant Referees. A great idea badly delivered. Surely they run the wrong by-line. I mean why have the Assistant Referee and the Additional Assistant converge at same Corner Flag surely it’s advantageous in assisting in reaching a higher standard if this official stood on the other side of the Goal than currently. It’s maybe the emergence of that rarity of Common Sense with this one. For me potentially we have a minimum of two officials with different angles looking at Play in addition to the Fourth Official and at least one other with a wider view of what’s happening. Remembering we also have the eye in the sky. The Mysterious Referee Supervisor. This person seem to be there to grade officials performance.

Love then or loath them the Officials are being hampered by Powers in Authority.

Expensive VAR I have heard talk of Clubs baulking at potential loss of income due to paying for this and we then are faced with more officials who seem to have to slot into the In Play Referee Command Structure that plainly is already flawed either by Guidelines (FIFA, UEFA or SFA) or by what can only be classed as Whistler Ego.

Quick Idea NFL has SEVEN Officials on the pitch and some Video Officials. Any one of the Seven in field can Flag Foul Play. This is then communicated to main Umpire who communicates the decision. Now I totally understand that Soccer is more Fluid than American Football but surely with now a minimum of 4 Officials plus Supervisor and prospect of 2 AARs. We are getting into territory of each Official having the same skills to judge any incident on its own merits and alert the Lead Official (Referee with Whistle) to act accordingly and the Main Umpire Referee to believe their Colleague. After all they are all in constant Radio Communication. The command Teirs of Referee being in sole charge of a game has lead to Castrated Officials with Flags, in track suit in technical area or worse standing on wrong side of the Goal.

I have sympathy for officials they do the most difficult of jobs in a game that although remaining true to original rules drawn up in 19th Century have been let down as the speed of the game increases in the 21st Century. Scrutinised via television in super slow motion by so called experts who possibly requires a sharp eyed member of twiterati to highlight a possible Referee Error who probably like the officials did not see any infringement in real time.

Referees do not help themselves with a failure to engage after the match hiding behind Compliance Officers and official SFA statements.

It’s aloof at best and problematic. If the officials are being microscopically critiqued then it’s only fair that the Officials have a right to reply. Not answer a barrage of questions but at least defend their actions even if the reply is in the speed of the game and heat of moment I decided …… Subsequently I was shown to be wrong/right.

Finally and this probably does not affect you. To paraphrase Dennis Nordon “If you are the type of person who…” threatens when they cannot construct an arguement and seeks retribution via cowardly acts then you do realise that evolution has left you behind. Your presence is not wanted in any connection with Football, in fact society has left you in the gutter.