One of the major pieces of news this week was Sir Alex Ferguson’s verbal attack on referee Alan Wiley.
Fergie may have just been trying to cover up for the fact that his team dropped points at home to Sunderland, even so he did raise some interesting points. The speed that the game is played at, particularly in the Premier League, means that the officials have to be super fit just to keep up with the pace of the game. Looking at Wiley and the likes of Jeff Winter in the past, are they truly fit for the job? One newspaper journalist insinuated that as Sir Alex himself is not fit, he had no right to criticise the ref. Which if followed to the letter would surely put that particular columnist out of a job.
This was not the only occasion of a manager criticising a referee this week as Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce was unhappy with Peter Walton following his side’s heavy defeat at Arsenal.
Big Sam once again champions video evidence to help out the referees on difficult decisions. On the face of it, it does seem a good idea. Yet there is one thing that will be lost if it is implemented – debate. One of the many joys to be had in football is looking at all the mistakes that have been made by players, officials, managers, even fans. Using video evidence for every major decision will make our game sterile and where will that leave us? Like the game of cricket probably. There is another solution and that is for referees to review the game and then make themselves available for press interviews. If they feel they made the right decision then they can say why, if they made a mistake an apology will suffice. Sounds simple enough, so simple in fact that it will in all probability never happen.
Kevin Keegan won £2m in damages from Newcastle which is small change considering reports he was looking for as much as £25m. There are more parties supposedly interested in buying Newcastle whilst Dennis Wise suggested that Mike Ashley probably wouldn’t sell the club until they were promoted back to the top flight. With all this going on, all the credit in the world must go to Chris Hughton and his team for their start to this season.
One club who were actually sold this week were Portsmouth who have what feels like their 76th owner in the past couple of years. One thing that has been proved at Pompey is that foreign investment is not the dream ticket some fans think it is. For every Randy Lerner, there is a Hicks & Gillett waiting to destroy everything good about your club.
Some news that slipped under the radar this week was the arrest of two young Premier League players. Firstly Aston Villa’s Isaiah Osbourne was arrested during the club’s training session on suspicion of conspiracy to rob. This was followed by Everton youngster Jose Baxter being arrested for possession of cannabis and counterfeit money. The first reaction is of course to suggest that they have simply fell in with a bad crowd. They would not be the first – think of Gazza and his army of inappropriate friends – but they do not have the talent of the mercurial Geordie. The amount of young players who are being released by clubs is as high as it has ever been, clubs do not need an excuse to move a player on. This is exactly what these players have done. Perhaps they will be proved innocent. For their own sakes, let us hope they are.
England’s international match with Ukraine will not have any television coverage and will be shown on the internet only. There has already been plenty of debate on this and it is ironic that at a time when England are playing as well as they have for at least 10 years, the game is not freely available. It is a case of England being victims of their own success. If England’s qualification hopes were still in the balance, it is a certainty that a television company would have snapped up the rights. However as the game is essentially a dead rubber as they say in tennis, no-one wants to spend the money. It is the credit crunch after all.
A Different Week
Michael Owen’s move reminiscent of The Boss – July 10
The City Circus – July 17
Beckham – End of an American dream? – July 24
Trouble at the Toon – July 31
Chester’s plight reflective of modern ways – August 7
What will happen – August 14
Joleon Lescott and the ugly side of a modern professional player – August 21
Defoe is Jermain man – August 28
Deadline day disappoints – September 4
Mixed fortunes for home nations, mixed treatment for English clubs? – September 11
Did Adebayor go too far or did we overreact? – September 18
A matter of race in the beautiful game’s ugly side – September 25
Managing the job – October 2
Arrested development – Fergie rants, youngsters Baxter and Osbourne in trouble – October 9