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New Year, Same Referees

Alas the new year is upon us and following the usual New Year festivities where joy is shared and merriment is enjoyed it also offers us all a bit of time for some quiet contemplation. One is given the chance to reflect upon the last 365 days not as if they have any intrinsic meaning, a year is an entirely man-made construct that basically means this - we've just flown around the sun through the vast nothingness of space and we are now in roughly the same spatial coordinates as we were this time last year. Which is true of any other day, but I digress ...

Upon reflection of the past year some of us vow to make drastic changes, like buying a DM for example... (I'm still not entirely convinced we need a DM per se but some physicality in the middle of the park certainly wouldn't go amiss. I suppose my personal view on the matter is that we need two box-to-box midfielders who both know how to attack and defend but in fairness, I haven't managed a game of football in my life so I'm probably not talking a great deal of sense.)

Or giving up smoking (an entirely accidental reference to our mighty keeper). Naturally of course, quiet contemplation isn't for everyone. If you think as I think and feel as I feel then you will most assuredly agree that quiet contemplation is for the weak!

Let's get on with this. 

I had a truly majestic New Years Eve, filled with a glorious array of mouth-watering dishes and my god, the hor d'oeuvres - they were to die for. Surrounded by my closest friends, the UK edition of card's against humanity and frankly obscene quantities of alcohol, it is safe to say we all had a throughly good time. 

Giving the events of the nights before, I was pleasantly surprised that I awoke just in time to catch Southampton vs Arsenal. I was less than pleasant following the game and the subsequent stupidity surrounding Szczesny certainly didn't improve that in the slightest. I shan't focus on it too much here as I was given the opportunity to vocalise my opinion (albeit ineloquently) on the latest Goonersphere Podcast

Following on from that tough away fixture we entertained Stoke at home. Given our track-record for this particular fixture I was reasonably confident that we would slay the orcs and I was vindicated. The fiery red attacking trio of Alexis, Cazorla and Rosicky proved too hot to handle as they dispatched our opponents with precision, pace and tenacity. I dare say even the mighty Legolas wold have stopped to admire their handiwork and he's seen his fair share of orc massacres. 

My only genuine concern before the match was that we might pick up a couple of injuries. How messed up is that? I thought we were more likely to pick up injuries than we were to lose the game (3 months for Debuchy, excuse me while I bang my head repeatedly against a wall. When we signed him I was happy because his injury record was actually pretty good, he had only missed 15 games due to injury since 2009 and he has already missed 17 for Arsenal. Bad luck or has Arsene ruined him already? You decide that one).

At this point I suppose you can make the argument about referees, but it is a pointless conversation as they're crap, plain and simple. It is considered an achievement when they don't make the wrong decision and that tells you all you need to know. Retrospective action for diving, missed challenges and the like, makes a great deal of sense to the average football fan but it doesn't completely convince me as viable. I trust an FA review board about as far as I can throw them which isn't very much at all (I'm still waiting for the inevitable January surge of new gym recruits to die down before I return and hit the weights so at the moment my throwing arm is pretty weak. You didn't really need to know this but I just wanted to make the point that I really don't trust them). 

Instead I quite like the systems employed in both tennis and cricket. In cricket each team has a fixed number of appeals (the Captain is usually in control of when an appeal is used), 3 for example. If they feel hard done by a decision or disagree with it then they can appeal and a decision is offered by a 4th referee with the help of replays. Given the nature of football there will be times when a decision is less clear cut than it is in cricket and during these times you simply allow the referees original decision to stand. Usual rules would apply, if your appeal fails then you lose it (3 would go down to 2) and if the decision changes then you retain your 3 appeals and the correct decision gets made.

This would stop diving, players shouting at referees and whatever you want call off the ball challenges like this.

alexis chokehold adams

The main advantage of this method as opposed to retrospective punishment is that the team against which offences are committed is the same team that benefits. The main disadvantage is the problem of time, there are questions on how much time decisions will take to make but there are two responses to this, Number 1 - Slightly more extra time isn't the end of the world and Number 2 - How much time is wasted by players surrounding a referee after every decision they perceive to be wrong? While it may not offset this entirely, if you could eliminate it then you would definitely save a couple of minutes.

And I want to make it clear that I do believe as many do, that football should contain a degree of physicality and it is a contact sport after all but some of the stuff that referees miss is ludicrous and as much as I slate referees I do accept that they have a tough job, I personally couldn't do better and humans make mistakes. But I ask you this - If referees keep making wrong decisions (which they do) then why not introduce a simple system to help them?

Well I doubt anything will change, better men/women than me have tried and failed but there's always a chance, however small and unlikely.

Now that I have just finished this blog I hope you can agree that the year of 2015 has most assuredly been ushered in. This year we can look forward to more soggy Monday mornings, Arsenal winning the Champions League and a win this weekend. 

I would also like to give a brief shoutout to my associate/muse @Jokman, he happens to be giving up cigarettes for the new year. I've never smoked so I can't attest to this but I have reliable sources that inform me that this can be a damn hard thing to do, so I hope you'll join me in wishing him good luck. Alternatively, you can message me how long you think he'll last before failing and we can get some bets going. 

And for anyone else reading this who is also using the new year to start some sort new diet, fitness regime etc I hope it works out. 

If you aren't reading well then ... you're on your own :)

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Tags: Adams Chokehold Alexis, Crap Referees

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