Saturday/Saturday! Edition: 1
[[Editor’s note: Our newest correspondent, MagsBarmyArmy brings to you his first column. Mags’ primary contribution around the Venuist offices is to be our voice for European/International Football (that’s Soccer to you), that is, when he’s not being the voice of reason. The below represents his first weekly Football offering. As you can see it was meant to be posted last Friday, BEFORE last weekend’s matches – narf! – but, well, things ended up a bit lost in translation. In fact, I suspect that much of the post itself will appear as such, so the Venuist recommends that you read and re-read a few times to ensure optimal user experience.]]
On the eve of the draw for next year’s World Cup, 32 nations wait with anticipation and baited breath to find out how there groups and fixtures will unfold. One nation, a small island east of Long Island, doesn’t. Crying into their pints of the black stuff, and with good reason, the Republic of Ireland can only watch from the side lines as Le bleu and chief scallyway, Monsieur Henry, take part.
It was handball and therefore shouldn’t have counted, that’s not in question. He said it, we all saw it , eleven players dressed in white and green protested it. The question is; why doesn’t FIFA have or at least begin to have video reply in football? Its is possible, its works and its is effective; just look at the ten or so others sports that have already conceded to the inclusion of video review in their respective sport. In a dramatic high-tech, cutting edge response FIFA has included an extra couple of assistant referee’s positioned behind the goal lines, in order to “ensure that the Laws of the Game are upheld”
in this years Europa League group stage matches. Savvy Gents? Very light years ahead of its time?? Methinks not. Does it not mean that there are now just two more blokes to make inaccurate decisions?? Why is the antiquated institution of FIFA so reluctant to move with the times and employ the use of replay? It takes a significant travesty like this to awaken the debate, but this has happened before, and guess what? It will again.
We shouldn’t blame Henry; a standout, honorable player his entire career – it was instinct. Was it fair, no. Was it right, no. But it’s not his job to adjudicate, he has only to play the game; a game that is overseen and officiated by referees. The game has outgrown the refs. The speed and pace dictate that one ref and two assistant refs can’
t be in the exact right place at the exact right time. That used to be Footballs charm, that it was purely overseen by humankind, which means room for human error. When the significance and magnitude of a single moment is such that it impacts an entire nation, the sport as a whole need to step up, and wake up.
We can’t blame the Irish was complaining and asking for replays, or to be included as the ‘33rd’ team, but FIFA was never going to budge from the outset. It would then call into question to many other dubious ‘incidents’ over the years. In their divine wisdom FIFA have opened a disciplinary case against Henry in the interest of “fair play’
and there was rumor that they may suspend him for one match at the beginning of the World Cup?? Fine, but how about opening a disciplinary case upon themselves also?
As an aside, or perhaps offside; keep your eyes on a certain young striker named Richard Brodie. Beyond the heady, upper echelons of the World Cup and the dreamy, shimmering hotbed that we know as the Premiership lurks the Blue Square Premiership; grass roots football at its finest!! Currently lying in third place are my home town team of York City, not quite Barcelona or Man U granted by cheap and cheerful non the less. At 21, Brodie is the side and Leagues top scorer with 15 goals so far this season. He’s feisty, big and has some pace and skill; and with the credit crunch even effecting football signing and transfers, its only a matter of time before the hungry Premiership and Championship side come a knockin’ with cheque book in hand. Good luck to him, but it would be in City’s interest to hold on to him as long as possible. Anyway, it’s a name to watch.
The weeks Predictions (abbreviated):
Blackburn V Liverpool
Liverpool are still without Torres, even though Gerrard makes his 500th appearance for The Pool. And without the dashing number 9 Liverpool have been lack luster in the scoring department, although Everton would disagree. Blackburn fought back well mid week to beat Chelsea on penalties in the Carling Cup, and they definitely have some fire power. I can see some goals, but not many.
Prediction: Blackburn 1 –
West Ham V Man Utd
Man U had rested many of there first team players this week and they will be back at full strength for this encounter at Upton Park. West Ham’
s back four has recently been about as much good as a chocolate tea pot, so I expect United to score at will.
Prediction: West Ham 0 –
4 Man Utd
Arsenal V Stoke City
The loss of Van Persie has been a blow to the Gunner, but Wenger – the ultimate tactician that he is – has a side with depth, pace and youth. After coming away from a defeat at Man City during the week I think Arsenal will be back on song on Saturday –to much for the Potters to handle!
Prediction: Arsenal 3 –
0 Stoke City