Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Clubs should get their own house in order before complaining about officials

Distractions, distractions, smoke and mirrors.

Managers have for years sought to blame everyone else for their woes. Now whole clubs are at it.

Rarely do you get a manager admit that it was his fault or his team are just useless (as fans, we know that most of them are!). It's always somebody else's fault - nearly always the officials'.

Now Chelsea, as a club, are seekinbg to blame the officials for their defeat by Manchester United last weekend.

"It was never a sending-off."

"Hernandez was offside."

Referee Mark Clattenburg used "inappropriate language" to player(s) "containing a racial element".

I didn't hear Chelsea complaining when they were given two offside goals against Wigan Athletic last season or when a ghot "goal" turned the FA Cup semi-final in their favour against Tottenham Hotspur.

Managers and clubs only moan when they lose - have you noticed that? Of course you have.

They're not interested in fairness, only winning.

A referee using "inappropriate language"! He didn't swear, did he? Heaven forbid. Players swear at referees, assistant referees and fourth officials all the time. Well, that's all right, isn't it? No, actually, it's not. If referees are at fault at all, it's because they don't deal properly with players who break this law.

Law 12, sending-off offences (bullet 6):
  • using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.
Hmmm, watch how often that happens in a game. And see how many times it gets punished.

So, before players or clubs start accusing officials of inappropriate behaviour, I think they should get their own house in order.

As a final point: was John Obi Mikel's handling of Mark Clattenburg's arm (as often shown on Sky Sports News) in that game "appropriate"?

Monday, 22 October 2012

We all need to unite against racism

I have to say I am at a loss to understand why Rio Ferdinand, Jason Roberts and other players snubbed the wearing of the 'Kick It Out' T-shirt at the weekend.

What on earth was that meant to achieve?

If it was to get us all talking about the issue of racism in the game, then it has worked. But what else?

Rio's boss Sir Alex Ferguson was unhappy with the player for not uniting with his fellow Manchester United players in the wearing of the T-shirt.

Ex-England player John Barnes said: "If [Rio is] brave enough to go against Ferguson, then he's brave enough to say who he is unhappy with," said Barnes.

"I can't see that [the players] are unhappy with Kick It Out."

Perhaps Ferdinand thinks that Kick It Out should have done something about John Terry (who racially abused Ferdinand's brother Anton), but Kick It Out have no such powers.

Jason Roberts said that he would not wear a T-shirt before Reading's game with Liverpool because he felt that Kick It Out was not being "strong enough".

This seems ill-advised to me.

Talk of a separate Players' Union for black players also seems mis-guided.

We all need to unite against the scourge of racism in football. Break-away groups and protests against those trying to do the right thing are not the way to proceed.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Both Serbia and England to be charged

The scenes following the England Under-21 team's win over Serbia on Tuesday were disgraceful. As England's players naturally celebrated their late winner with some exubernace, there was nothing that could possibly excuse the Serbian players and support team from running over and trying to disrupt those celebrations.

It seems there was some racial abuse from the crowd, and it was little wonder that Danny Rose was so angered by everything that was happening round him that he kicked the ball into the crowd. That the referee booked him for that (second bookable, so Rose was sent off) was farcical given what was going on nearby, with Tom Lees being slapped around the head by Serbian players on at least two occasions.

I hear that UEFA is going to charge the Serbian FA with alleged racist chanting by fans and to charge both associations over the behaviour of players at the end of the game. Let's hope that UEFA also investigate and charge Serbia for the missiles that were thrown towards the England players as they celebrated their victory.

We will see what the results of those charges are.

The Serbian FA tried to deny accusations of racist chanting, no doubt fearing a worse fine than the ridiculous £16,000 fine it received for racist chanting by fans in 2007.

Serbia have a track record in this area. It needs to be stopped.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Manchester United top the rankings for September

On the rankings in the Football Ranking System Manchester United have regained top spot from Manchester City, who have slipped to fifth with indifferent form of late. Chelsea have jumped from fourth to second, only held back by draws with QPR and Juventus. Everton have kept up their early season form and are in third position.

Inevitably, Celtic head the Scottish challenge, falling one place to seventh. Hearts are next for the Scots in 27th.

Rangers continue to fall and have slipped from 19th to 33rd. from 8th to 19th.

Aston Villa have staged something of a recovery, rising from 29th to 19th and Championship risers Cardiff City jumped from 37th to 23rd.

Biggest fallers were Coventry City, who plummeted from 53rd to 72nd.

Ten-place plus movers elsewhere include:
Leicester City, up from 34 to 24.
Dundee United, down from 18 to 32.
Brighton & Hove Albion, up from 47 to 31.
Kilmarnock, up from 46 to 35.
Wolverhamption Wanderers, up from 49 to 36.
Sheffield Wednesday, down from 31 to 47.
Ipswich Town, down from 40 to 55.
Portsmouth, down from 57 to 70.
Crawley Town, up from 84 to 74.
Morton, up from 91 to 80.
Leyton Orient, up from 92 to 82.
Hamilton Academical, down from 76 to 87.
Port Vale, up from 102 to 92.
Southend United, up from 105 to 95.
Wycombe Wanderers, down from 85 to 96.
Hartlepool United, down from 87 to 98.
Burton Albion, up from 113 to 99.
Aldershot Town, down from 96 to 108.
Oxford United, down from 99 to 113.
Dartford, up from 169 to 157.
Chester, up from 173 to 159.
Oxford City up from 179 to 168.