Beautiful game, ugly aspect

So this is my first real blog post and I’m afraid it’s a bit of a rant.

I’m going with a bit of a sports theme and it’s an issue within the game  of football that really, really annoys me.

I like to think we live in a free society. Here in the Western world we pride ourselves on democracy and one of the cornerstones of that is free speech. I remember the BBC let chronic racist Nick Griffin in Question Time! Admittedly it pretty much seemed like a good chance for normal, well sensed and rational people to have a punt at a big fat racist but, nonetheless, he was allowed to air his views on the most public of platforms.

This democratic pillar is not something, it would seem, that applies to football managers. Something very odd happens in the world of English professional football where a football manager can’t actually have an opinion… in a certain area of the game. He is allowed to criticise his players, a certain Paolo Di Canio statement about Ki Sung-Yueng springs to mind from this season alone! Futhermore managers are allowed to have a go at players on the opposing side and their opposite number if they really see fit. However, there are one group of divine beings who must never, ever be criticised.


Any regular listener of 606 on 5Live will know that referees get absolutely hounded when they get a decision wrong. Too many examples spring to mind to even start mentioning them. So yes, they do a difficult job that requires split second judgements, everyone understands that now. But footballers do a job that requires a lot of skill. When the whole world and his dog were lambasting Joe Hart during his poor form at the start of the season did anyone stop to think ‘Good god, being a goalkeeper is a bloody difficult job’. No, no they did not. Everyone was allowed to criticise him and the FA couldn’t care less, which is the correct way in my opinion.

I realise I am rambling. Referees. They seem to be exempt from any form of criticism whatsoever. In the last week or so, Brendan Rogers has been fined £8,000 for his comments made against the Lee Mason, and the other match officials, in the Liverpool defeat at Manchester City on Boxing Day.

Since then David Moyes is under investigation for the comments he made after Utd’s 2-1 League Cup defeat to Sunderland. He said that United are “beginning to laugh at referees” for their “terrible” decisions.

So, he’s under investigation and will also, probably, get fined a ludicrous amount of money.

My problem with this is it all has a whiff of dictatorship about it. I know that football isn’t quite on the same level as a sovereign nation, however a culture, within the game, where an officials integrity cannot be questioned?  Really? Apparently if one does criticise a ref, or match official, they are in breach of FA Rule E3. Now while that all sounds very lovely and Kim Jong Un-ish, by which I mean dictator-esque not Korean, I’m really not too sure why there isn’t some sort of… revolution. Why are managers and players putting up with this? Do they know something we don’t? Is there some sort of ‘next level’ punishment?

First offence, a smack on the bum.

Second offence, we’re going to kill your dog.

Sincerely… Greg Dyke.

What makes a ref so untouchable? We see it almost every week that they make god awful decisions. If those decisions drastically alter the game, I’m looking at you Andre Marriner, then they should absolutely be criticised.

Hear’s my suggestion to all football managers in England and Wales, who I know are all big fans of the site, free the beast! Make the comments you so desire! They can’t fine you all, that would be far too much paperwork, and I’ll be damned if the FA want all those dead dogs on their hands!

Next time a referee gives a penalty that shouldn’t be given, or calls a goal offside when it was clearly on, go for it in the post match interview! You’ve all got loads of money so a couple of fines won’t make a blind bit of difference.

I’m leading the revolution. Who’s with me?