In Britain, we love to complain, it’s like our thing. Part of the joy of being a football fan is that for 90 minutes every week we get to blow a gasket over relatively meaningless things. Here are just some of the things that I would change if I was FIFA President for the day.
The first thing that really winds me up is when players get booked for celebrating with their own fans. There should be a connection between a club and the fans and this sort of nonsense is contributing to the ever growing chasm between the two. Fair enough, if you’re doing an Adebayor and inciting the opposition fans, expect a booking and probably a fine. But getting in the away end and helping make it a memorable day for the fan who left the house at 4am and sat on a bus next to a man who takes up the best part of both seats and has lager flatulence, well, that should be a good thing. Not a yellow card. I can make my peace with the shirt thing, there are sponsors agreements and such, but stop ruining the fun.
Speaking of stupid rules, there’s a few that don’t make sense but there’s a really petty one that winds me up. It’s a yellow card offence when you kick the ball away after giving away a free kick, and that’s fine. But surely it doesn’t matter if the ball is kicked 5 yards or 50 yards? We’re not looking for the players to treat the ball better, they’re just stopping a quick free kick being taken. Next time you watch a game, look what happens when a player gives away a free kick. He’ll roll it away a few yards or pick the ball up and slowly walk backwards with it. We need Mike Dean to take things into his own hands or it’ll never get stamped out.
There’s a clamour to bring technology into football and I can understand why. Let’s start simple. Why is it the Scottish FA can retrospectively punish players for diving, but we haven’t yet? It’s straightforward enough, and Victor Moses might never play again judging by his efforts this weekend. Stop encouraging cheating and start dishing out some bans!
I’d also use technology for certain things, like offsides. With fouls there is a certain amount of doubt surrounding every decision, even after numerous replays. Offside is either off or it’s not, even with the new rules. Cricket uses DRS for decisions that follow a 4 stage process, there’s nothing to stop football doing something similar. You can’t let cricket get one over on you, football. Show some humility. I also think the referee’s should be allowed to come out and explain themselves. A lot of the time they’ve made a decision that looks rubbish but when you get down to the nitty gritty of it, they are right. Having said that, it opens up the chance for Mike Dean to be the star of stage and screen and nobody is keen on that.
Ah, the Champions League. The tournament that is about a quarter full of actual champions. Yes I know it’s all about the money and it’d be a much worse tournament with the champions of Albania in there, but hear me out. All I’m asking is that we replace 4th with the FA Cup Winners. Roll that out across all nations, and would you look at that, you’ve got another set of champions in there. You’ll also kill two birds with one stone and instantly make the FA Cup worth winning again, meaning teams will take it more seriously. If that means we get an odd team in the Champions League every 5 years or so, then so be it. Why should it be a closed shop? Leicester have certainly enjoyed themselves, albeit not domestically but that’s besides the point. No doubt the Premier League would be heavily opposed to this, but if it’s happening to all major European leagues then who cares? Everybody is having equal fun.
Some other things I want to get off my chest whilst I’m on a roll. Undisclosed fees. How boring. Clubs should be forced to tell us how much they’ve blown on every transfer, or else there’s nothing to talk about. Clubs who steal other clubs’ celebrations. Yes, you Man City. Leave the Poznan where it is. Any adaptation of the Blaydon Races. Games on TV where the pundit is obviously going to be biased to one of the teams – that’s Niall Quinn basically. How can you expect the former player, manager and Chairman of Sunderland to call the Tyne-Wear derby down the middle?
I’m going to stop now before I go full on Tony Pulis in a towel. Thank you for letting me get this off my chest, it’s been quite therapeutic and I encourage you to do the same. What would you change?