As I write this blog in the company cafeteria, a long-haired techie is filling the otherwise-silent ambience with a string of confident babble about some multi-ring network stretching from Dublin to California via Virginia or something like that. It’s all a bit of an exercise in self-satisfaction. A bit like the way this blog is my own expression of my own self-satisfaction. But, hey, at least reading it is voluntary.
The Carlos Tevez affair was back on the agenda today with an arbitration panel ruling that West Ham were guilty of fielding an ineligible player in the 2006/7 season. West Ham insisted they alone owned Carlos Tevez but in fact he was co-owned by a company called MSI, a breach of Premier League regulations.
Sheffield United were relegated on the last day after Tevez emerged from seven months of chubby ineffectiveness to score important goals and lift his team from the bottom of the league and to eventual safety.
Sheffield United are claiming about £30m in damages and a seperate panel is to rule on the amount. Get ready for appeals to beat the band.
Tottenham are shit
They really are. Another dismal run-out for the Spurs in a 0-0 home draw with Wigan last weekend leaves them with just 2 points from 12 and rooted to the bottom of the league. Juande Ramos made some positive changes I felt when he moved Gareth Bale to left-midfield and started the snappy Jamie O’Hara in the center. But with the likes of Pavluychenko and Bentley completely ineffective and Ramos yet to find a winning formula, this could be a long, hard season.
The problem is that I don’t know if he’s going to find it. The large space between the defence and forwards (known as “the midfield”) is about as useful as Derby County right now. There’s no shape evident and – whisper it quietly – there are concerns that Ramos does not know how to set up a team in the Premier League.
It beggars belief.
Respect for blind people
The old “where’s your specs, ref?” taunt has been doing the rounds since the early days of football but referee Stuart Atwell must need bi-focals the size of the Hubble if he can’t tell a ball has crossed the line from 18 yards.
The 25 year old rookie has been fast-tracked through the system by the Football League but he was left wanting on Saturday when he awarded Reading a goal at Watford despite the fact the ball was three yards wide of the post.
Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd was sent to the stands for remonstrating and while fully supportive of the “repsect the refs” initiative, it’s moments like this when you feel immense sympathy for managers.
However, I think the saddest part of the episode is that Reading players did not come clean and tell the referee that it wasn’t a goal. Stephen Hunt said; “We can’t do anything about it. It’s not our mistake, but what can you do? You can’t say ‘no ref, it wasn’t in’. ”
Yes, you can. That’s exactly what the Reading players should have done. But that’s football for you. It’s “win at all costs”, an edict pushed on players by managers and directors. This stance has been backed by both Boothroyd and Reading manager Steve Coppell.
Look at Paolo di Canio in 2000. The then-West Ham striker chose to catch the ball rather than put it in an empty net when he spotted the opposition goalkeeper, Everton’s Paul Gerrard, lying injured on the ground. Or how about Liverpool’s Robbie Fowler who in 1997 tried to convince the referee that his dive over Arsenal’s David Seaman was not a penalty.
Referees do need help and some integrity from the players would be a great place to start.