Underhill on horizon, and one final rant

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14 July – quick poll

12 July – old post

How nice is it to be able to crane the old neck away from the World Cup, and back in the other direction, towards the league, and towards Arsenal. I was getting a crick.

Looking back, it’s very clear that I’ve barely troubled my laptop for blog updates. It’s really not had much of a workout at all since the end of the season – since the blind shock of the Wigan debacle – and has gained a little girth around the space bar as a result. That’ll have to come off.

That’s not to say I’ve not enjoyed the World Cup – I absolutely have. What’s not to enjoy, other than, as an Englishman, watching my team floundering around miserably? Even that enabled the country to let off a bit of steam with a good old moan and a navel gaze. There’ll be a post mortem, and much huffing and puffing, but will anything really change? Don’t Gordon Banks on it.

Respeck? What respeck?

The final was pretty dismal, if eventful.

[rant: begin]

There are plenty of disheartening things in football, many of which are not easy to address on a global level. Money tends to be at the heart of them – at owner, player and fan level (making money, making money and paying money respectively) – but there are some things that could be done to clean the game up on the pitch, but which never, ever get properly addressed.

One such is the total lack of respect shown to match officials – especially when you compare it to other sports. Watching the World Cup final on Sunday, it struck me how impossible it must be to referee. Sure, our very own Mr Webb did not help himself by failing to correctly punish several atrocious early tackles, but players haranguing referees, trying to con them and pressure them is far too common a sight in football the world over. And not just players – managers do it too. Without proper rule changes – zero tolerance – refereeing will remain the impossible job.

How hard would it be to tell players that they simply cannot dispute a referee’s decision? Or to look back, after a game, at any incidences where players have tried to deceive, persuade or cajole a referee and punish them retrospectively? And to do it fairly?

Of course, the referees need to improve too, but making their job a little easier would be a good start, and it’s totally achievable.

The simple fact is that footballers will try something if they are confident they will get away with it. And in football, it’s too easy to get away with it.

[rant: over]

Underhill, around the corner

The best and most important thing of all is we can now concentrate on Arsenal. We’ve got Barnet on Saturday, squad movement still to come – plenty of sticky rumours on that front but little by way of certainty – and we’re only a month or so from the big kick off.

Really, it’s only a month. If I tell Mrs Lower that, she will throw plates at me.

Take cover!


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. fourstar

    Couldn’t agree more. Wave yellow card, get yellow card. Wave red card, get red card. End of. The referee needs to be simultaneously invisible AND in total charge of the game. Not the players, the fans or the managers. The referee’s decision is final. But whilst FIFA is still the limp, lifeless bloated swan-eating buffoon it has become, this will never be so.

  2. jaygooner

    The problem starts at club level. The pressures on Clubs to win at any costs permeates the whole game, as such “cheating” is coached into players, face clutching is a relatively new cheat but more are on the way,Although The Netherlands astonished me at their approach to the World Cup Final, Bolton on a wet wednesday evening sprang to mind, Spain were atrocious. (cesc apart)There is very little the authorities can do. They banned time wasting, but a player can lie down dead for four minutes,the game has to stop, then he springs back to life, and the attacking team has lost its momentum, The defending team has got its shape back, and those four minutes will NEVER be added on at the end of the game,the cynical “half way line” foul will never be properly punished because the referee has done his job and given the free kick,once again the attacking team has lost its momentum and the defending team is back to its two banks of four, All this and more is COACHED into players as ways to win games and until that stops, there is no hope for the beautiful game.

  3. Tommo

    Problem is that red card is too strong. We need a sin bin

  4. AcTech

    Officials are under pressure from fans, managers and players because of number of errors in every single match. Less errors – more respect. Bring on the technology. And, yes, Webb is a very bad referee but obviously very loyal to any kind of officials whether its FA or FIFA getting such a high profile matches.

  5. 433

    I thought Howard Webb had a good match.

    I agree with Tommo that a red card is extreme.

    I agree with Rotor Goat that punishing players after matches based on the match video is good idea. That would help with some of the games problems, like diving.

    What does it take to give a vote of no confidence to Sepp Blatter and remove him?

  6. Paul

    last link was wrong

    arsenal fans are uniting and because of barcelonas dirty tactics we are going to boycott aneone who deals with barcelona we will refuse our sky sports subscriptions if sky continue to show barcelona matches and switch over to other matches for champions league if 100000 arsenal stop sky sports subscriptions etc people will listen to us fans

  7. RotorGoat

    Sadly you are right Fourstar. FIFA will not do anything about it.

    Jaygooner – the simulation and deception is not easy to deal with, but respect for the referee on the pitch is and it would be a good place to start. It works in rugby.

  8. Tommy

    Why sign a long term contract,take the money and accept the captains armband and then ask to be released from that contract soon after?

    Cesc is only human and so on, stil hes not catpains material.

    -Then again who is in this team?

    Has there been a real leader since PV4?

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