"..a bardy view!"

World Cup 2010 – The End of Football As We Know It!

Unfortunately, this is the World Cup which changed the game. No longer will we be able to get riled and angry blaming "the Ref". No longer can we have arguments in the pub about dubious decisions. No longer can the referee's decision be final.

After today, the glorious game will be monitored by technological micro chips, and if it happens at FIFA, it will happen at UEFA and eventually football associations around the world.

Congratulations to Spain, but just prior to their goal, there where two decisions which could have affected it.

When Maradona's Hand of God gave Argentina the divine intervention, England suffered in 1986. Then, for all the huff and bluster, it was regarded as dubious sportsmanship, nay gamesmanship and the name of the game.

In the South African World Cup, England again was the victim of a poor decision in their match with Germany. Could these events have changed England's mental and physical performance in both these games? Who knows.

Holland were superb in the 70's but never won the tournament. They took it well each time they made it to the finals, and that small country was big enough to handle it. As they will now. The Netherlands is unique in Europe. It is the most charming country, and I for one feel utmost pain at their defeat.

England were on the top of their game in 1970. As Champions they had the greatest collection of players in the world. However, a win on home soil at Wembley and then to play in the oppressive heat of Mexico demanded physical fitness and acclimatisation which most players were not used to, and they didn't play for teams overseas either.

On top of that the respected captain Bobby Moore was arrested for stealing some bracelet or other. Clearly innocent, it was an event that he and the players needed to rise to. How that would have been treated by 24 hour news media today I dread to think. No doubt the BBC and Sky would have catapulted their journalists all and sundry to dig the dirt.

Fortunately, that facility wasn't available back then. I'd like to think that Alf Ramsey would have shoved his opinions up where the sun doesn't shine (Fabbio take note).

But let's remember the greatest ever football match – that one in Mexico between England and Brazil. Sadly, if the micro-chip existed then, perhaps we wouldn't remember at all.

I remember the game, Brazil won 1-0 and I remember Moore swapping shirts with Pele. (Tomorrow, at some point, a lawyer will seek a ruling on health and safety, implying that his client caught an itch, which may interfere with his future performance or potential modelling career because of a rash. The days of shirt swapping will soon be over!)

Joking aside the problems are obvious. The flow of the game will be interrupted in the future. The heat and passion will be removed. The referee and his linesmen will not have ultimate authority, but usurped by the micro-chip – in the ball, in the net, and God knows elsewhere.

Big Brother has arrived in the great game. Fans may think this a step forward, but they do not realise the loss of human interaction. Football has almost become a non-contact sport, and what would be the point of defenders giving their all if their tackle can be instantly replayed. Ok for the pundits and followers, but for the referee his whistle would just be a passage of hot air.

The money is so huge, the international prestige and showcase so massive, that there is no room for error.

American team sports are clinical affairs dictated by sponsors and advertising. Today Wimbledon uses the technology to ensure a ball in or out. The likes of McEnroe, Borg, Connors, Năstase etc could not have been as entertaining with the electronic all powerful spy. And as for the women – I'd rather watch Yvonne Goolagong over the William sisters any day.

The new Centre Court roof was a reaction to the British weather (or was it the prospect of Cliff Richard singing again?) yet it planted a carbuncle on the stadium, and surely it is a lousy investment that will rarely be used? The summers are getting drier according to the climate change bods. (Yeah – its Cliff's fault!)

In tennis, human officials have been replaced by the micro-chip, and the game has suffered. When was the last great Wimbledon tournament?

Rugby has it's sin bin, but it is a contact sport and the referee must be respected. He has a link in his earpiece to a third referee when he needs it.  Cricket still maintains its umpire authority except when a wicket is in dispute.

Football (and by the way FIFA stands for Federation of International Football Associations for anyone thinking that the game is called "soccer" – It's not FISA) is different. This World Cup has created a knee-jerk reaction, fuelled mainly by media pundits because England had a goal disqualified.

Sepp Blatter (the FIFA bigwig) after much soul searching (about 48 hours) concluded that goal-line technology must be implemented – something he has rejected for years. But the power of the dollar is paramount. The money is too great. Football must enter the techno, clinical world of absolute accuracy.

This World Cup was not the greatest, but it meant alot for South Africa. Whilst they and the Spanish will dance into the night, and for many nights to come, a wake will be held elsewhere -  because the truth is football died in 2010 and it will never be the same again.


July 12, 2010 Posted by | Cricket, Culture, Current Affairs, Football, General, London, Politics, Sport, Tennis, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bill is Blattered by the Off-Side Rule

Bill Clinton is in South Africa and attended the World Cup game today between the USA and Algeria. The camera caught his very puzzled expression after his country had a goal disallowed.

It was clear that Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president sitting next to him, was attempting to explain to the ex-president the off-side rule.

Yeah – its a mystery for many. It's a good job he wasn't watching a cricket match. That would surely have made him wish he was back in the Oval Office with less important things to figure out – like the state of the world for instance.

All credit to the USA – Americans may not realise just how crucial their eventual goal was. Had they not beaten Algeria, they would have returned home and the group qualifiers would have been England and Slovenia. As it turns out, they topped the group – a great achievement, and qualified along with their best friends.

Speaking of which England had the nation holding its breath once again – the agony and ecstasy played upon the emotions once more.

Meanwhile the green and pleasant land is basking in sunshine and not everyone was glued to events in South Africa. Wimbledon is in play, and the crowds there had a football free zone.

So whilst many were perspiring with expectation for the nations pride, the tennis set was decorous, laid back, and adopted an air of classic pompous decorum, with no desire to forego their champagne, strawberries and cream in favour of beer and pizzas, happily forgetting the other important sporting event thousands of miles away.

There are no English tennis players left in the tournament and its only day three, but there is a Scotsman. Henmanesque hopes prevail for Andy Murray, and all is well because he is British.

So whilst the flag of St. George will continue to fly amongst the masses supporting their football team, the Union Jack will fly at Wimbledon supporting the last hope.

We are the UK at the Olympics, British at Wimbledon, and English at the Football World Cup.

It's all nicely convenient. What other country has such choices? The problem is we don't win any of them. Well, we did win the World Cup in 1966, but then we played West Germany, and even they don't exist anymore.

I should point out that England did win the Rugby World Cup in 2003. I remember it well because I watched it in Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines and 5000ft above sea level.

The current Rugby world champions are South Africa, which strangely enough brings this post full circle.

June 23, 2010 Posted by | Cricket, Culture, Current Affairs, Events, General, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Barrack Oh – Bummer! Come on England!!

Just a few hours before England play the USA and some thoughts from a less enthusiastic rampant football fan.
Englandflag No I am not flying the Cross of St George on my car, nor out of my windows. I have not painted my face or carpeted my lounge with fake grass (yes, some of even done that!). 

Had the volume of patriotic tat purchased in the shops been made in England, I may have bought something in solidarity. Yet it is all made in China and most of the junk will be thrown in a bin sooner or later.

Such is the national fervour even the English flag is now flown over 10 Downing Street. What the Scots and Welsh think of it is anyones guess, but as everyone in the country appears to have gone mad, it's only natural that the Prime Minister's house follows suit.

Even Tesco are selling condoms called "66" in honour of the country's victory 44 years ago. No doubt many will be utilised in either joy or remorse, and I wonder if they have a built in penalty shoot out mechanism should passions exceed extra time if England reach the finals.

How this will impact on the population in nine months should they be faulty is anyones guess, but no doubt the baldy beer-bellied parents will say they did it for England anyway and heck, it was a good night regardless.

On a personal note I hope England trounce the yanks good and proper. I like Americans but I want the English to kick Barack O Bummers arse into touch. This arrogant, opportunist president doesn't like the British. That was made clear when he removed the bust of Winston Churchill from his office. Recently he has been Brit-bashing because of BP – a multinational company whose investors are almost half his own people.

When the gas guzzling super-power wants oil they tend to invade other countries for it – but now when it's being delivered to their own door they're still not happy.

When things go wrong it's always someone else's fault – its the Obama syndrome. He deserves a good barracking.

So to paraphrase Winnie – Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves,
that if  England and the World Cup last for a thousand years, men will still say, this was their finest

June 12, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Events, Politics, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments


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