Following some soccer tournament somewhere abroad recently, and the UK representative teams poor showing, it would seem the entire country has thrown its weight behind the idea of using TV replays in the game.
The whole country except myself that is.
I am totally against this. For a start as we saw first hand this past season the addition of two more sets of eyes did absolutely nothing to help with poor decisions. Remember Hangeland being red carded for a crime he didn’t commit, until Kelly went and pointed out the linesman standing about four feet away from the incident had royally muffed it up? Except to confuse me during the games (“Whats that fella in blue doing there? Oh, he’s the lineo!”) they don’t seem to have had any real impact on the matches in any positive way.
The beauty of football is that no matter what level it’s played at it’s the same. A ref, two linesmen and two teams of players. If TV replays are brought in how far down the pyramid would they go? Just the Premier League? Just the League? All the way down to school football? Why should, for instance, the football league have this feature, when a team who finished one place lower in the pyramid not get this ‘advantage’? And I’d find it very hard to rig such a setup up in the park.
And my main problem with it is what happens if they bring it in and it works brilliantly? Trudging away from the Cottage in the drizzle after we’ve just been taken apart by an average side you can always find solace in the fact that the referee muffed it. He bottled giving that penalty, the ball did/didn’t cross the line or that foul was outside the box. If we eliminated these from the game then I’d have no way around it but to accept that my Fulham had just been beaten by a better team. And blaming the ref is half the fun. I’ll always remember the game we played on 11th September 2004. Fulham V Arsenal, refereed by Mark Halsey. Had a TV replay shown the man in black that Cashley Cole had hacked down Andrew Cole he wouldn’t have been ‘persuaded’ he saw it wrong when the Arsenal players and had it shown him that Collins Johns header should have stood it could have all been so different. Sure, we may have won and I’d have had a lot of fun that night and the following days celebrating the victory and rubbing it in to Gooner friends. But I wouldn’t have remembered it all that well today. This way I may have been very upset by the outcome and refereeing, but I had a lot of fun being upset, downbeat and mardy, moping about and my friend and me slagging off the Arsenal players and Halsey all that night in the pub, all the way home and still to this day. Without referees being able to make these decisions themselves, many times wrongly, it would take away one of the great pleasures in football; being able to blame somebody else when your team looses.