I HAD a quiet chuckle to myself when I read the online Guardian this morning, and in particular their report of the English Premiership clash between Champions-elect Manchester City and defending Champions Chelsea.
Colin McAdam - Hazard was only echoing big Col's views
Eden Hazard of Chelsea, post-match, complained: “I could have played for three hours and not touched the ball.” The last time I heard a player come off the field and say that was way back in the 1980s, when the late Colin McAdam came off Abbey Park, Kilwinning, following his debut for Irvine Meadow, against the Buffs, and remarked: “You could play all season in midfield in this league and never touch the ball, as it sails back and forth over your head.”
Hazard's observation proves – there is little that is new in football.
BEING, as I am, involved in rugby as well as football – I am blase about TMOs (Television Match Officials) as they are in rugby, so I welcome the introduction of VARs (Video Assistant Referees) into the beautiful game.
But, it is somehow typical that the game run by committees, should see its ultimate committee – IFAB (International Football Associations Board) come up with a bourach like their preferred VAR set-up.
In rugby, there is one TMO only, not the three officials involved in football's VAR system – far-less possibility of argument and prolonged debate about the incident being reviewed. Also, in rugby, any incidents in which the TMO is involved, is shown on the big screen at the ground, and while there is consultation between the two, the final decision is that of the match referee. This underpins the long-standing protocol: “The referee is the sole judge of fact during the game.”
Now, this is one of the cornerstones of football: Law V section I.i if memory serves me correctly. BUT, with VAR, the three-person VAR team can tell the referee: “Goal or no goal; penalty or no penalty; red card, yellow card, whatever.” There is still the means whereby, if the referee has his or her doubts about the VAR decision, for the principal match official – the referee – to review the VAR on a wee pitch-side monitor and over rule.
It's all, for me, a bit convoluted, I think the rugby system is simpler, more-easily understood by the crowd and faster. Mind you, as football will find out, and rugby already knows, even with video technology – mistakes happen, once the human element comes into play.
What might a VAR panel have made of this "goal"?
Mind you, I'd like to think a VAR panel of a Scotsman, an Italian and a Brazilian say, would, on review, have come-up with: “No goal”, for that third England goal in the 1966 World Cup final.
Let's not forget either, the SFA and the SPFL are holding back on introducing VAR to Scotland, on the grounds of cost. Hmm!!! I think one of the first tasks of the new Chief Executive, whoever he or she may be, will be to, somehow, persuade the clubs, they need to find the cash to fund VAR implementation. If they can afford some of the duds the clubs have imported in recent seasons, then they can afford VAR.
SO, the SFA has still not found where they misplaced their oval and square balls, so, they came-up with a Celtic v Rangers semi-final in the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Well, it will make it easier for the “Churnalists and Stenographers” to decide what they are going to decide between now and the game. They can go into their usual over-kill mode for that game, and totally ignore the other semi.
I have a gut feeling, the stars are aligning, and Kilmarnock will beat Aberdeen in their quarter-final replay, then see-off Motherwell in the overlooked semi-final, before Kris Boyd's winning goal takes the cup to Rugby Park, at the expense of Rangers in the final.
I HAVE yet to work-out whether or not having Hugh as his father has helped or hindered Andrew Dallas's refereeing career. He may be guilty of sending dodgy emails, but, “Hugh Bonkle of Dallas”, as the late Tommy Burns memorably referred to him, was right up there with Messrs, Craigmyle, Faultless (what a great name for a referee), Mowat, Phillips, Wharton, Davidson, McCluskie and Young in the ranks of outstanding Scottish referees.
Young Andrew should perhaps have followed the example of another Andrew, rugby referee Andrew Hosie – who took himself off to Ontario, where he was less-likely to have his performances compared with those of his father, the great Alan Hosie – arguably Scotland's best rugby referee.
Like father - like son
Any way, the footballing referee Andrew was just starting to make his way up the slippery refereeing ladder when I was switched from football to rugby reporting, but, I have followed his career with interest. And, as a former goalkeeper, I applaud his sensible Sunday application of that little-known ruling that, when a goalkeeper has his hand on the ball, clamping it to the ground, it is in his control, and cannot be played by another player.
Hugh and Andrew Dallas
I don't recall much attention being paid to that particular rule, on the killing fields of Ayrshire junior football – I must ask Charlie Richmond about that. But, well done Andrew.
I AM delighted to see Scott McTominay has done the decent thing and opted to play for Scotland, the land of his fathers, rather than England, the land of his birth.
The Manchester United kid is still finding his feet in the Premiership, but, from what little I have seen of him, I think he has a chance of a good career. I do hope Alex McLeish will quickly start getting promising young talents such as McTominay into the national side – and that he sticks with them and gives them a chance to develop. We need new blood, badly.