Saturday, 3 October 2009

United's "next goal wins" tactic pays off once again.

Their aren't many things that I would adopt from North American Sports, I can live without the intermingled fans and the nauseating piano plucking that fails to make up for the absence of atmosphere, but punctual time keeping is defiantly one that I would favour. All North American sports, I believe, stop the clock for injuries and disciplinary. Even time sapping final minute substitutions would be a pointless tactical endeavor when you have the miraculous ability to freeze time with the push of a button.

When will the FA, finally update their time piece's with one's that have stop/start technology, i.e. a stop watch? Rugby has somehow kept up with technologies relentless charge towards progress with a complex audio device that hoots after 80 minutes, and they employ video replays for those decision that are just too tight or too physically difficult to call. Michel Platini's insistence to litter the bylines with humans brains, incapable of mental replays is an idiotic idea I will leave for another day.

Manchester United once again profited from stoppage time, rescuing a point against Sunderland after being uncharacteristically subdued for most of the game. Put it this way, its not often that Paul Scholes struggles with his passing, but he would have struggled to tie his own laces let alone thread a decent ball through a well organised Steve Bruce inspired defense.

Sir Alex Ferguson, vented his frustration at the Referee Alan Wiley's fitness being far inferior to that of a butchers dog from Europe, but I thought the rotund whistle blowers performance was just about at the level you would expect for 90 minutes. Nobody told him to train for 90+ minutes, poor little mongrel was probably wondering when it would finally end. I'm sure for his next match he wont be so ill prepared, having rebuilt his fragile self esteem by pounding the tread mill in mid week.

But its not just United I am targeting here. They have benefited from the most added on time in the Premiership over recent years, proved by a Guardian article published shortly after the outrageous 6 minutes added on in the Manchester derby last week -Craig Bellamy really does need to work on those over elaborate 6 minute goal celebrations- but teams win and lose out to vague stoppage time week in week out. In what profession are rough time estimates universally acceptable, apart from builders? Try explaining to someone unfamiliar with football, the complex equations needed to calculate what is a sufficient amount of additional time, and you end up making football look woefully primitive, as their disappointed faces will illustrate.

In a game, and especially the premier league, that has progressed so much in the last two decades in terms of both global appeal and the shear volumes of money at stake, football's reluctance to progress rectifiable problems is baffling. Its the equivalent of insisting on using a sun dial, only to start guessing the time when the ominous black clouds rudely cover the skies.

Besides feeling sorry for a referee that will now be insecurely checking his figure in the mirror, I to feel an unusual sense of empathy towards all referee's in general. Don't get me wrong, I am among the first to hurl verbal abuse at them through the TV, before the rationale of them obviously not being able to hear me enters my mind (when will they make TV's with two way audio so that I don't look psychotic??), but I can't help but feel they have way too much expectation heaped upon them. When you have the worlds eyes judging your every decision in HD, replays and slow motion, who then also needs the added worries of tacking on the right amount of additional -additional- time.

I say take away at least the time keeping responsibilities from referee's. Install a timer that has the uncanny ability to stop when needed, and signals the end of the half/game with a very clear horn blast. Mind you, it doesn't have to be a horn blast, I'm sure their are plenty of creative noises that could be used, such as Sir Alex Ferguson shouting one word profanities. That would do it. This way, ref's could concentrate on trying to make the right decisions instead of fretting over when to blow up for full time. The accuracy of their decisions can be assisted later, via video replay, but for now baby steps, one thing at a time.

This unprecedented, abrupt way to bringing games to a grinding halt will also prevent managers cowardly pointing at their Rolex's when sweating under the heat of the post match press box lights and camera's, as excuses slip their minds. Instead, they can moan about their own teams defensive lapses. For example, Where was Micah Richards when Owen slipped in that winner, and why on earth didn't Tevez boot the ball into the opposite stand when he had the chance? I await your answer Mr. Hughes.

Anyway, as progress in the governing bodies of Football seems to move at an excruciating slow pace, I'm sure my legislative reforms will take a while to churn through the cogs of bureaucracy, so for now I'm off to put Alan Wiley through his paces by chasing him with a butchers dog. One preferably from a Europe, like a German Sheppard. They must be from Germany right??

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