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Big Sam, Premier Lies and Videotape – Technology Not New Ref Rules Needed



As well as the usual raft of big transfers at this time of year, there has been two major developments in the football world this week – one being the appointment of Sam Allardyce as England manager and the second the announcement of new Premier League refereeing rules yet still no more technology.

Both will have a significant impact on The Premier League as suddenly a new type of English footballer has a better chance of selection for the national team – goal-scoring Geordies like Andy Carroll – and the second concerns new rules governing player behaviour that will clamp down on “intolerable behaviour”.

Specifically, contesting decisions in an aggressive manner and swearing is now outlawed with red cards for language and disrespectful gestures toward officials. The rules extend to Premier League managers, who now face stricter enforcement of laws governing their behaviour in the technical area.

All well and good yet outlawing the surrounding & encroachment of referees as perfected by Roy Keane and Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils in the 1990s is 20 years too late. They’ll ban Fergietime next.

And the new rules beg the question – why stop there in making the beautiful game clean and fair?

If players and managers are expected to behave better then surely the same rigor should be applied to the conduct of, and especially the crucial, game-affecting decisions made by the PGMOB match officials.

The absolute solution for good behaviour is the implementation and use of readily-available modern technology in the form of a 5th official with video replays – like the system BT use with Howard Webb for instant expert analysis – to ensure 100% of the time, the officials get the decisions right.

No players protest when an over-the-line incident occurs as the referees are now aided by goal-line technology that tells them with 100% accuracy whether the whole of the ball crossed the line or not.

Every time the technology is correct, players & managers alike have 100% faith in it so each incident is accepted wholeheartedly even if Alan Pardew jokingly said its inventor should be “kicked up the bum” after one marginal decision ruled a goal out by then Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle for him.

Why not bring the same 100% accurate technology in with offside decisions when it is clear immediately through the use of similar technology whether a player is in an offside position?

In a discussion with a member of the football fraternity, the words “You make your own Destiny” in football came up yet that is not the case when crucial decisions like the two below can decide the football destiny of local rivals Newcastle and Sunderland, the direction of £100M in extra Premier League TV money as per the new deal and now the advancement of Sam Allardyce to the national football coach.

In this first example, in a key end of season game Sergei Aguero is clearly standing in an offside position from the free-kick for up to 30 seconds before the free-kick is taken and he scores. Newcastle go on to ultimately equalise in the game yet a deserved win may have been the 3 points that kept them up.

In this second video from the Sunderland win that was a turning point in the Black Cats survival, Patrick van Aanholt is clearly standing in an offside position when he receives the ball to cross for Fabio Borini’s equaliser hence why two Chelsea players have their hands up indicating correctly the offence.

A 5th official with video technology or the following Infra-Red system would clearly recognise this, disallow the goal & the ‘miracle’ of Sunderland’s escape from relegation would not occur and relegation-tarnished Sam Allardyce would not now be England manager.

Decisions matter immensely and the good, correct ones that saw Geordie referee Mark Clattenburg rise to the heights of English and European football for the FA Cup, UEFA Champions League and Euros Final are the opposite of the ones that saw Newcastle fall out of The Premier League according to The Sun’s Premier League table indicating Newcastle were the most victimised club last season.

“Newcastle would have avoided relegation had the officials did their jobs properly” reads the sub-headline and Sunderland should have gone down. Read more here


Leicester City should not have received a Premier League record 13 penalties last season and should have more men sent off and thus Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal ought to have won the title not finished second as they did although Leicester-supporting ex-player and now Match of the Day TV presenter Gary Lineker is in favour of the new rules, Tweeting:

“At last! Might be bedlam for a few games but players will soon learn.”

Yet perhaps Leicester not winning The Premier League and fulfilling the American Dream of the little guy winning and anything being possible may not have been as romantic an ending – or beginning – for the new USA audience during a season preceding that which NBC and co have paid £5 BILLION for the rights to.

From Uncle Sam to Big Sam

Lets hope the officials at the next World Cup in Russia are as generous as the Premier League refs that sent off three opponents in his first five wins for Sunderland, only for two to be rescinded after the fact and a third that should have been after nine priceless points were irreversibly in the bag.

One such horrendous, game-changing and season-changing decision came in his first match, predictably against Newcastle when Allardyce’s win was assisted by the officials to a win over his old adversary Steve McClaren, who got the England job instead of him in 2005, first when The Magpies are denied a penalty at one end then have their Captain Fabricio Coloccini wrongly sent off at the other.

Big decisions matter and gave momentum to Sam Allardyce that has lifted him from mediocre management – ironically the one big club he has managed is Newcastle – to the national coach of England.

Yet the Peter Principle of Managment states: “Managers rise to the level of their incompetence.”

Good luck to him, at least he utilises all of the modern technology available to him to achieve his ends and has long been rightly applauded for being a pioneer of sports science in the English game.

Allardyce, the son of a police sergeant, once complained that The FA’s failure to enable his Powerpoint presentation during an interview in 2005 meant he didn’t get the Three Lions job then – well ironically its the Premier League’s failure to be up with modern technology that has enabled him to get it in 2016.

Its time The Premier League stopped blaming players and caught up before it is caught red-handed again.