Football’s New Years Resolutions

in Straight Red

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It’s that time of year, we’re all fat and bloated from too much alcohol and mince pies. Most of us have dropped an unnecessary amount of money into a never to be used gym membership as part of an ill thought out New Year’s Resolution. It got me thinking what resolutions football could come up with. Like 99% of our own, these will never actually happen, but it’s the thought that counts. Right?

 

The FA caring about match day fans

It’s pretty obvious that the FA are far more interested in keeping Sky happy, rather than the match going public, but some of the fixture arrangement are borderline silly, and in a lot of cases, really unfair on the match day fans.

An anecdotal piece of evidence for this claim is Man United’s fixtures over the Christmas break. An away trip to Spurs on the 28th of December followed by an away trip to Stoke on New Years Day.

It’s one thing to say Christmas is an expensive time of the year, and now you’re piling on an added expense of 2 away trips in a matter of days – but that’s just the luck of the draw, these things happen. My main gripe is that both were the early, televised kick offs. Is that really necessary to expect the away fans to get from Manchester to London and then Stoke in time for the early kick offs? But all United fans live in London anyway, don’t they mate? Har-dee-har-har.

Also on New Year’s Day Chelsea visited Spurs in the late kick off, which is a short trip across London – would it not make more sense, from a travelling fans point of view that these two games can be switched?

I don’t want to sound like I’m making some thinly veiled excuse for United failing to win those games – I know that this kind of thing happens to all clubs, I’m merely using United’s last two fixtures as an example.

 

Gamesmanship

Gamesmanship is the opposite of sportsmanship; it’s treading an extremely fine line of pushing the boundaries of the rules in order to gain an advantage. In some cases, it’s blatantly cheating – but it’s not really cheating if you don’t get caught, right?

We all think referees have a hard job, and it’s only made harder by 90% of the players constantly trying to con them. We’re all guilty of giving out stink when a ref makes a bad call, but think how hard each one of his decisions must be when there is a constant element of doubt in his mind that he is being conned.

Players diving, throwing themselves to the floor at the merest contact, accusing others of diving when the know that they have just fouled them, claiming corners/goalkicks/throw ins when you know you’re the one who has put it out of play, all fly in the face of proper sportsmanship.

A win at all costs mentality has completely replaced the idea of a sporting contest. It’s not a new thing, I’m not harkening back to some fictional “good old days”, and while there is always room for seeking an advantage, I would like to see more people try and stay on the right side of that fine line they are treading.

 

Hollywood Directors

What is with the worsening issue with cameramen showing everything but the game lately? Who is directing these people? I don’t want to see 20 shots of Jose Mourinho or LVG in the dugout, especially when they are just sitting there watching the game. If there is an incident, and they get particularly animated, then yeah – go for it. Showing us them sitting there with their arms folded, or jotting notes into a binder, while the game is underway is bonkers, and it shouldn’t be acceptable. Show us the fucking game.

Another thing that’s becoming more and more common is the director showing us shots of the stadiums scoreboard. I get it; if it’s some landmark, completely surreal, unexpected score line and it’s late in the game, then yeah – go nuts on that shit. But showing us the scoreboard when the home team is winning 1-0 after 25 minutes is hardly some headline grabbing, iconic score.

Showing the scoreboard is in itself the most redundant thing you can show us. There is a scoreboard permanently affixed in the corner of our screens. It’s there all of the time, another scoreboard is literally the least required shot we as viewers need. So stop it.

 

Managers talking bollocks

Managers will always protect their players, it’s the done thing. But that shouldn’t stop them from also telling the truth. Victor Moses was recently at the center of a high profile diving incident. Everyone could see it, it was a pathetic dive and he was justifiably booked by the referee. After the game though, his manager Mark Hughes defended him, claimed the referee got it wrong, and insisted it should have been a penalty.

Defending your player is one thing, but talking nonsense is another. Surely Hughes could have said something like: “He wouldn’t normally do that kind of thing, he has made a poor judgment call there, and we’ll make sure it won’t happen again.” As a manager, take some responsibility for your player’s actions and look to rectify it.

For every time a manager defends his one of his players against a dive or an atrocious tackle by saying “he just isn’t that kind of player”, they should be made give an example of someone who IS that kind player, so we can judge the case in context.

I think interviewers should be prepared better when talking to managers. How often does a tricky talking point get avoided by a manager saying “I’d have to see the incident again”? It should be a case of; “Well, we have a replay for you here – so go on, talk your way out of this one.” A smug git like Geoff Shreeves would love a bit of that.

by Andrew Furlong

Twitter: @Andrew_Furlong

Andrew Furlong
Andrew Furlong