Blimey. You’d think with all the troubles in the world that there would be more important things to worry about other than THAT goal that wasn’t a goal at Old Trafford last night. But Radio Five has been banging on about it all day.
I suspect there wouldn’t have been quite so much fuss if it had been ABU (Anyone But United) given the conspiracy theorists belief that all referees, linesmen and fourth officials all wear red shirts beneath the black. Human error by the officials is part of what makes the game great and gives us something to bleat about win, lose or draw.
Now there is a clamour for the introduction of technology — micro-chipped balls (ouch), goal line cameras, sat-nav, robot referees, you name it. It will be the death of the game I tell you because it won’t end with iffy goal line clearances. Next it will be offside calls, penalty shouts, was-it-wasn’t-it a foul and before you now it, a match will be three hours long and boring as hell.
Mind you, not even technology is immune from human error. One of the contributors to the debate was Jonathan Agnew who was reporting on the cricket in South Africa. Cricket has used technology for years to decide whether someone is in or out. Apparently Aggers was sitting next to the third umpire who had been asked to adjudicate in a one-day international.
The replay clearly showed that it wasn’t a run-out, but the umpire pressed the wrong button and out flashed on the board instead of out.
I’ve just listened to Jonathan Pearce (commentator and a Spurs fan) passing judgement on Radio Five. He was at the match and said he could clearly see it was a goal from where he was on the media gantry, so why couldn’t the ref?
Exactly, Jonathan. Like tv, you had an aerial view where it was an easy call. But not on terra firma like the ref. Different story down there, Jon. And the rules say a ref isn’t expected to guess his (or her) decisions.
So when you’re bored witless watching a stop-go-stop-go one-day footie match, overseen by an android with laser beam eyesight and have absolutely nothing to get worked up about in the pub afterwards, remember you can console yourself with the thought that it was all ManU’s fault. Bastards.