At the start of the 2013/14 English Premier League season, a long time friend kindly invited me into her hospitality box at The Emirates Stadium and I gladly accepted.
I was all 'glammed' up in case I ran into Silent Stan and was looking forward to bending his ears a bit, letting him realise that he needs to use some of that family wealth to buy Pele, Maradona and Alfredo Di Stefano for the Arsenal. Never mind.
I parked my car not too away from the stadium and was looking forward to starting a new season with promise by beating Aston Villa handsomely.
It started well and it then got worse. Referee Anthony Taylor was the central character. A referee from hell. If he was on fire, I will piss on him to quench the fire, wait for him to recover from his 100-degree burns and then set him on fire again.
Anthony Taylor had his own football rulebook and agenda that day. 2 controversial penalties awarded to Villa and we lost 3 – 1. To cap that miserable day off, I got a very expensive present from the parking attendants when I got back to my car and none of my friends agreed with me on Referee Taylor. It was like triple or multiple jeopardy.
Since then I have been on the watch out for Anthony Taylor and he has not changed one bit. He was still at it at yesterday’s match versus Watford. He was very frugal with any pro Arsenal decisions and was quite eager to make calls for the opposition.
If you think I am exaggerating about this person, do a Google or Twitter search of him. The Leeds football club manager recently said that Anthony Taylor should only be allowed to referee Under 9 games. I would dearly love him to come and referee my Under 9 games. Hopefully the Police can be persuaded to look at my treatment of him as a case of parental rage rather than a case of attempted murder or grievous bodily harm.
As an Arsenal fan, I rail against referees regularly because the referees don't offer us any protection. The Arsenal boys generally have a reputation as ‘nice’ & ‘likable’ lads as a result, kicking Arsenal players is one of the top top tactics of the English game. Gary Neville wrote a silly piece early this season before his appointment as Valencia Manager basically encouraging Newcastle to kick Arsenal players into smithereens. The direct quote to his article and the tweet promoting that article was re - tweeted on his twitter time line. Please read here to refresh your memory. Here is the quote - “Arsenal are a soft touch - when screw turns they lack strength, power and pace”. Kindly spare me any nonsense about the fact that Gary didn't write the headline. Fortunately his advice to Steve McLaren backfired, Newcastle got a red card and they lost.
As the lack of referee protection has continued over the years, I have somewhat accepted the situation. Often joking about bizarre referee calls for the Barcelonas of this world and scratching my head as to why referees are slow to deal with the Diego Costas or that nutter Arnautovic who effectively ended Debuchy’s Arsenal career over that off - the - ball nudge.
However Martin Atkinson’s entire handling of the Arsenal Leicester match in February really incensed me. I am now somewhat convinced there is something untoward going on in the English game especially. This feeling was further reinforced by Mark Clattenberg’s decision to award The Spuds the dodgiest penalty in the whole universe in their match against Manchester City at the Emptyhad the following day. Nobody in the world except Clattenberg thought that was a penalty.
Is it inconceivable that with the wad of cash flowing through the English game and even the football game worldwide that referees have not been suborned? Do you know that Leicester have been awarded 10 penalties as at mid February. Their nearest rival have been awarded 5 penalties. I guess Leicester play more in the 18-yard box of their opponents. We will be observing for more magic today as brought to you by the Buddhist Monk super incense proudly sponsored by the Men in Black.
Listening to phone in programs yesterday, it was the view of a few West Ham fans and even Slaven Bilic that our dear Mark Clattenberg was at it again. He, the butterfly who thinks himself a bird by trying to sign up to a Hollywood style talent agency. Fortunately reason has since prevailed and he has rescinded that decision. However it is clear this man desperately wants to be the centre of attention.
Referees boss around players who earn in excess of £10m pa. Referees determine the outcome of games that is going to earn the bottom club in the EPL £100m per season. Referees can potentially determine the winner of the league and a £200m / £300m pay day for a club. And those Referees earn tops £100k pa. A mid table championship player earns that amount. If you wish put two and two together. There is a reason why Mr Mike Carney, the regulator of banks is on mega money. There is a reason why top coaches command sizeable salaries but the man who can determine the outcome of a game is paid a pittance compared to the prima donnas he superintends on the field of play.
I watched with a bit of mirth when Roy Hodgson complained about the Referee of the England v Netherlands match at Wembley last week. Perhaps Roy should have a word with the FA and PGMOB (Referees’ body) in England. Maybe if they can clean up, up skill, further professionalise refereeing in England they can help do the same for the global game. Let no England fan complain at the Euros if a dodgy refereeing decisions significantly impacts on results. If we are tolerant of these domestically, lets not be hypocrites when it comes to the national side.
Let technology take over the job of refereeing In this day and age, it is silly that we rely on a linesman to tell us the ball has crossed the white line for a throw – in. Goal line technology has worked. It is time to introduce it to throw – ins.
I hope we can honestly stop saying that referee decisions even themselves out over the course of the season. There is too much at stake to allow the ineptitude, the incompetence or the singed conscience of a referee decide the outcome of a football game. Refereeing must be aided by technology. I dare say we dispense totally with the man at the centre as the decision maker and go full scale towards technology based TV refereeing. The man at the centre can be there as a figurehead to communicate the decision of the technology referee (s) to the players.
Now is the time to do this especially as those two dinosaurs (Platini and Blatter) no longer have any involvement with global football. Hopefully their proxies and lackeys have developed back bone and cut their umbilical chord to their Godfathers and are willing to make groundbreaking decisions to advance the game.