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That foul on Theo: the referee’s view

Untold Fouls, by Walter Broeckx

Since the tackle on Theo Walcott by Ridgewell in the Birmingham game there is some debate going on about what is allowed when a player tackles and what is not allowed.

I’m going to try to give an overview on how a ref should handle the different cases that can happen on a pitch. This is based upon the rules and also on the instructions we get every season from our FA.

First of all I like to point out that what will be called a tackle in this article occurs when a player throws himself in the direction of the ball or a player. If a players makes an interception by staying on his feet we have another situation but I’m going to leave that out my article. I’m afraid it will be long enough.

Let’s start with the easiest of things : the frontal tackle. We all know that kind of tackle. A defender goes in with one or two feet and throws himself to the ball/attacker  that is running towards him. This is always a foul. It doesn’t matter if he gets the ball or not. The attacker has no chance of getting out of the way and he can only hope and pray that the defender doesn’t brake his legs.

For the past couple of years I have called this the Eduardo tackle. Apart from giving the foul you also have to give a card because a dangerous attack should always be punished with a card. When you jump in with two straight legs it should always be a red card. When you go in with one straight leg higher then the ball it is always red. When you go in with one straight leg on the ground and touch the ball first you can come away with a yellow card.

A little bit more difficult is the tackle from behind. The reason for punishing tackles from behind is that a few years back a lot of heavy injuries happened on the Achilles tendon of good players. Players could be waiting for the ball, and then suddenly a defender comes in sliding and hitting the Achilles tendon of the player who can’t get out of the way.

A tackle from behind is almost always a foul. The problem for a defender is that when he throws himself in he, normally, has two legs. With one leg he goes to the ball but the problem is his other leg. If a defender can make an interception with one leg and doesn’t touch the attacker with the other leg than play can go on. But if his second leg, as we call it in our jargon, touches the other player it just is a foul.

So when we get to learn our rules and they tell us to give a lot of attention on the second leg of the tackling player. It is mostly that leg that makes, or doesn’t make the foul. Touch him with the second leg and it is a foul.  If you throw yourself in with 2 legs and hit the player it is off course always a foul.

To come back on the tackle on Theo the Birmingham player touched the ball but he had thrown himself in a way that he couldn’t stop his movement after touching the ball, and therefore would collide with Walcott. He came from behind the player so Theo couldn’t anticipate what was coming.

Ridgewell touched the ball with his right foot and with his left foot he took out Walcott. So a definite foul because a) the second leg making contact and b) it was dangerous as it came from behind.

He could have gone away with a yellow card but if you want to keep it tight a red card can be awarded. Not blowing a foul in this case was…not good refereeing as I will put it gently as I am in a good mood today.

And last but not least: the tackle from the side. The laws are less strict on this as it is regarded as less dangerous.

When a player makes a tackle from the side and only touches the ball it is no foul. Simple. When you make your tackle and you first play the ball and then you slide further and touch the other player it is no foul unless your challenge is violent and therefore dangerous.

But you must touch the ball first; this is very important. If you hit the man first and then slide further and touch the ball you see the defenders pointing at the ref to show him that hey touched the ball. This is nonsense off course. If you hit the player first it is always a foul.  It doesn’t matter if you touch some ball later on.

And then you got the 50/50 tackles as I call them. Man and ball at the same time is a foul. I know in some parts of the world it is seen as the “manly” part of the game. “We are no pussy’s” and “it’s a man’s game” is often heard after a tackle like that. But it just is a foul.

Also with tackles from the side you have to look for the second leg coming out sometimes. It happens when a player looks to have cleanly hit the ball but then sticks out his other leg and makes contact.  Sometimes defenders do this as a reflex.  He makes sure that the attacker doesn’t get away even if he doesn’t hit the ball.  That is also a foul.

Hope I have made some things clear but I must say that in real life it isn’t always as simple as you see it in written.

Walter Broeckx

The latest Arsenal book: MAKING THE ARSENAL is available to purchase on line – orders received now will be despatched the moment the book is released – in approximately ten days.

You can read more about the book by selecting the appropriate link…

http://tiny.cc/RHd9k – if you are in the UK

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If you have any questions about the book or buying it please do email Tony@hamilton-house.com or call me on 01536 399 013

Meanwhile over at www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk you can read DO WE GET MORE INJURIES NOW – review of the injury situation 100 years ago.

Walter Broeckx is a passionate Arsenal follower since 1979 from Flanders, Belgium. Since a couple of years he is the main news reporter for the Arsenal fans in Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg where he tries to bring them a daily portion of Arsenal news. His passion for football goes so far that he even is a referee. In the real world he is married, has 4 children including some Gooners, and he works as a civil servant in a small town and provides building permissions.

31 comments to That foul on Theo: the referee’s view

  • diceman1984

    To me, a fair tackle would never damage and twist someone’s ligament. And if that tackle did not hurt Theo that much, I still believe the poor Theo would still be injured anyway from other tackles.

    People are calling us moaners but those people need to understand and quit supporting the so called ‘players’ who deliberately tried to hurt other players. It happened to us before and I hope the players will see it coming next time someone try to pull this shit on us.

  • Cape Gooner

    Hi Walter, thank you for this. Time and again we see tackles in the penalty area where the defender gets the ball and then takes out the player with the second leg. Is there any instruction that this should not be given as a foul when it occurs in the penalty area?

    Theo’s tackle was not really a second leg tackle. Ridgewell hit Theo hard with his crutch. Theo was diverted into the direction of the tackle (his own momentum and Ridgewell’s momentum having approximately equal effects), but as Ridgewell’s crutch was riding up his leg, this trapped his lower leg under Ridgewell’s body. This is likely to cause damage and is therefore dangerous. Walter, should this not be a card?

    Walter, can I ask you about another penalty incident in the second half of the AZ game. RvP had the ball to the right of the goal, on the by-line. He went over. The defender had two hands on Robin’s chest. It was impossible to tell from the TV if he was pushed or if he fell. If the defender puts his hands on the attacker, shouldn’t the attacker be given the benefit of the doubt and a penalty be awarded?

  • Geoffrey

    Many thanks Walter for enlighting us on tackling rules, with this kind of information, i think the RIDGEWELL’s tackle was adangerous one and deserved astraigt Red. The ref sh’d be questioned.

  • Valentin

    I am copying some text from Graham Poll (never my favorite referee).

    Down at the Emirates, Liam Ridgewell flew into a challenge on Theo Walcott and, yes, played the ball first. But he then wiped out the Arsenal winger.

    The speed at which Ridgewell went into the tackle and the angle of his approach made it impossible for him to avoid Walcott. The challenge endangered the safety of the opponent and therefore should have been punished.

    Referee Lee Probert played on, Walcott was stretchered off and now faces a scan on his knee. When will pundits stop condoning such challenges by saying that the tackler played the ball?

    During the game, numerous challenge went unpunished when they warranted a card.
    Alex mcLesih can scream innocence until he is blue in the face, anybody who watched the game know he set up his team to go in the face of Arsenal and they stepped over the mark.
    Two fouls given in less than 50 seconds of start of play said it all. Check with the BBC minutes by minutes details of the game to see that.
    At least a yellow card for Lee Bowyer for persistent fouling should have been a minimum.

    Regarding Larsson foul on Mannone, Sebastian Larsson has precedent of fouling goal keeper when the ball is in the air. Against Portsmouth at the dearth of the game, he fouled James to get a penalty and all three points. That is not an isolated incident and referee should be more aware of that.

  • walter

    Cape Gooner I’m goint to try to answer your questions.
    In fact it should make no difference if a foul is committed in or outside the penalty area. But, I think almost 99% of refs do make a difference. I think even I must admit to be guilty on this charge. As a ref you should try to not see the lines untill you have blown a foul but this is almost impossible. I really think it is a psychological barrier you have to cross. But not easy. You know the consequence as a penalty is an almost certain goal, but if you are affraid to give a penalty when you are a ref, you better stop and look for a hobby like playing with electric trains or so.

    The Walcott tackle. If his crutch or second leg is the same. Ridgewell went trough on Walcott from behind. I remember 2 world cup’s ago for this kind of tackle was given the red card. But the problem is the concistency. After a few months or years it’s back to business as usual and the card stay inside the refs pocket or even worse, like in this case, the ref waves play on. Like I said the way he went in was dangerous and there fore the minimum would be a yellow card.

    On the last incident you mention I would not give a penalty for an incident like this. I have not seen much replays of it but my first reaction was RVP slipped after his own movement. The defender did had hands on him but it was his (own) footwork that made him fall so I would say: no penalty, no tumble. Just one of those things when a player falls down and nothing happened. (Must say that I would have taken the penalty gift anyway – this is the Gooner speaking, sorry)

  • christianjimmy

    Thanks for this walter (seems we have to add you to the “excellent article as ever…” roll of honour!)
    I find it fascinating, as normally when a tackler takes the ball then the man, I always thought the general rule was that as long as he takes the ball first anything else is just a bonus.
    Now I know as Arsenal we’ve not always been innocent in the realms of crunching tackle, (and lets be honest which of us didnt get some kind of kick as we saw Adams/Keown/Dixon/Linighan et al crunching in on someone like Teddy Sheringham, sliding the ball away gracefully then completely wiping out the man…) but the stuff about endangering other players which I’ve heard some referee or other (cant remember where or when!) talking about in light of the Walcott challenge completely puts this stuff into its proper place. The concept of the hard but fair tackle as being a particular pride of British football has been promoted above the safety of the players involved, leading to players in the mould of a so-called classic-english thug… err defender eg Terry, Martin Taylor, Gary Cahill etc being extolled as fantastic defenders – when in reality their defensive abilities extends no further than being REALLY committed to any given challenge, to the extent of not caring about the safety of their opponent.
    Are referees simply interpreting the rules in a different way in this country? How is this possible?! Why doesnt FIFA get involved in a way that might be actually useful for once!

  • walter

    Diceman I would say a tackle can be fair and still hurt someone. I remember Cesc last year when he went to the ball together with Alonso (?) and they both collided. No one to blame but Cesc came out badly. So it can happen. But the Theo foul was a different class. Like stated in the article: playing the ball doesn’t give you the right to do whatever you like. If you trowh yourself with 2 feets to make a frontal tackle and you play the ball first, is still a foul and a red card. But sadly, how many times do you see the ref wave play on ? When I see a thing like that this makes me angry.

  • christianjimmy

    ps. happy birthday to Lord Wenger. I trust an article is imminent on this happy occasion Tony?

  • walter

    I was a bit to quick on the submit comment. So I will continue to answer on diceman. And start with a personal note.
    When I was 19 I was a footballer myself and in the last minute of my last official game a player came in with both feet to me in a frontal tackle and this was it, end of the carreer. I was lucky that it was not an open fracture but it took me two operations and 6 months of plaster from my feet until my hip to recover.
    So I must say as a ref I really am very focussed to cut this tackles out of the game.
    And now I am a ref in my 9th season and untill now I never had an incident like this. From the first minute I let players know that I will not have such tackles and they mostly accept it when they see I punish it every time.
    But you have to be alert fort that and in the seconds before I go on the pitch I always remember myself and my leg and I promise myself that I won’t let this happen to a player on my pitch. Touch wood now I would say.

  • walter

    Well christianjimmy, you make a valid point.
    The instruction we get in our country should be the same in all fifa countrys.
    But I really think in every country you get your own historical background. And thus you get a different approach.
    I do think that if you want to get the same refereeing all over the world it can be done and I now how as well.
    Fifa or Uefa to start should make all refs professional. And then you just send out refs all over Europe to do their games. This will mean that the refs are not longer members of their own FA but they fall directly under the uefa and get the same wages and most of all the same instructions.
    This will mean that refs blow all over Europe and this could mean that you never blow in your own country in a season. This could mean that this weekend an italian ref blows our match, next week a French and then a Spanish ref or a german or ….. you the point I guess.
    This would mean that even the PL games would be blown according the uefa rule book and not the “We are classic English tough guys and we gonna blow that soft foreign players of the pitch with our tackles-rulebook”.
    But then again its up to the ref on the field to do his job. I saw a great part of the Chelsea-Atletico game yesterday and the ref was very poor. Deco with a deliberate kick on the calf, no yellow card, Essien with a dangerous straight leg into an Atletico player, should have been red, not even yellow. This was poor refereeing.

  • walter

    Well Valentin, Poll also never was my favourite ref in Arsenal games. But it seems that after his retirement of the game he finally nows how to apply the rules. 😉
    And speaking of Graham Poll. We all know him for the 3 yellow cards in the WC and this will haunt him. I spoke with a person from our FA, a first division ref and a professor at the university who’s job it was in that WC to keep the refs fit. Must say we are rather proud of it but the physical development of refs is studied in Leuven (Louvain) in Flanders at the university and considered as an example to follow.
    He told me how it all happened and if all would have gone right Graham Poll never should have been at that game. But because of some unforseen incidents with other refs he had to do this game instead of given him the rest he should have had. It was Poll on the field doing the mistake but according to the rules from Fifa on who could/should blow a game, Poll wasn’t to be allowed to ref that game.
    But feel pleased to see that Poll sees it in the same way as I do. If an ex-Fifa ref shares your point of view… well… thanks Valentin for pointing that out. You made a part of my day.

  • Finsbury

    Great article, thank you very much both Tony and Walter.
    Great tackling requires strength, skill, agility and most of all a sense of timing.

    Tackles from the side or even from behind can be safe, if the player making the challenge is good enough. Unfortunately the culture of the game has encouraged people like Ridgewell to make tackles, where basically they are out of control of their own bodies. The intent and focus therefore is/was not to play the ball.

    I tried to find a clip of my favourite tackle, Bobby Moore on Pele: Moore tackles from the side/behind, but always in control, studs away from the striker, he wins control of the ball, cushions a fall by Pele onto to his own leg, a colleague plays on, and both striker and defender get up, and shake hands.
    Unfortunately most defenders don’t have such ability, and most of the time are/were happy to actually hit the striker as well as the ball, and so such tackles needed to reduced by legislation. Maybe my memory, or the old footage (I wasn’t born then!) is deceiving me, but I thought that tackle was in this
    game, where Moore also made this delightful toe poke challenge.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMTL9Dm-nYo&feature=player_embedded

    This is almost a frontal tackle, the difference being (with say a certain Martin Taylor), that the defender (Moore) was again completely in control of his movements, his feet glide along the turf and take the ball without endangering the striker, and he wins the ball!

    Defenders such as Taylor/Ridgewell are cowards for the challenges they make.

    Song tackles a little like Moore, sometimes he even reminds me of Beckenbauer with his little pirouettes. I sometimes feel sad that he doesn’t play as a CB, but in our fluid formation, he does play there anyway when Tommy or Willy go on a rampage, so all is well…

  • walter

    Well I don’t know if he would read this – maybe he is a silent reader who knows- and if so: A happy birthday mr. Wenger. As we sing in dutch: Lang zal hij leven. (translation some what: Long shall he live)

  • Diaminedave

    Walter – great piece.
    Different referees seem to notice different facets of the game (we are all human and notice different things). I think it will always be impossible to have human beings umpiring a match and calling the same points.
    My two questions are 1. Do you personally have a word with the players before a game to let them know how they you will ref and 2. Are refs instructed by their different associations to have a word with the players and let them know how they will be monitor the match.

  • walter

    Diaminedave, the Fa does not give instructions on how to take care of things before a game.
    I only speak with the captains before the game but I usually don’t say much. Just that they don’t have to come to argue my decisions because it won’t change them. I ask them to play in a fair way and wish them a pleasant game. This happens just before the game when the sign the teamsheet.
    When the game has started I have the habbit of telling the players why I give a foul. I’ve noticed over the years that players do accept it better when told what I saw. But I’m not going in a discussion with the players on that either. I just say: push in the back or kicked him on his foot. But like I said, you have to grow in to that and every ref is different and has its own character as well. You also must give players time to adapt to your style of refereeing as well.
    But from the first second if they commit dangerous tackles they will know where my cards are waiting to be drawn.
    But like a player every ref has good spells and bad spells. I had games that I was very unpleased with myself after the game. It’s the same as a player. But the only thing you can do after a bad game is to come back on the field next time and do better. And I can tell you when you have had a bad game and the next game the two teams slap you on the back and tell you that they wished they would have me every week to ref their games, it really feels like you have won the game and scored a hattrick.
    Strange thing being a ref you know, …refs know, …others dont.

  • Valentin

    I forgot to add the following Graham Poll’s notes regarding the Birmingham goal.

    Later in the same game, Birmingham scored a goal to get themselves back into the game for a while. Watch the footage of that goal and you will see a blatant foul on the Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone by Sebastian Larsson. The giveaway is when Larsson looks over his shoulder to spot Mannone in order to impede him.

    Personnaly I would introduce the following rules to solve a lot of problem with referee.

    1) Fourth Referee to be in charge of time keeping.

    2) Change the card system and set a more precise type of fouls: involuntary/clumsy fouls, technical fouls, cynical fouls, violent foul counts.

    3) Introduce Sin Bin: the current red card is often seen as the nuke option and therefore second card is less given despite being deserved.

    4) Only allow the captain to talk to the referee: any chat back is given either 10 yards loss at a free-kick or an extra technical foul.

    5) Punish any violent and cynical fouls with a penalty and/or a sin bin wherever it takes place. Often you see the cynical fould stopping a move to develop or a counter-attack to take place. Often the offense take place in their own half and the refere judges as minor offense when really they are stopping a potential goal scoring opportunity.

    I would also introduce the following technologies:

    6) Goal detection bound technology: iw we can detec with GPS where we lost our mobile phine within 10 cm (military precision), we can detect if a ball has cross the line with pretty much enough eccuracy.

    7) Video referee: The technology is there to introduce videa camero in the goal post, above the corners, above the half way line and quarter half line. The idea that will introduce delay is ridiculous as players arguing with the referee introduce more delay.

    8) Spray paint: Most teams cheat at Free-kick. The refere put the ball at one place and teams systematically push the ball forward to gain an advantage. In one of the South American league, the referees have been given a spray paint to mark the free-kick and the wall. After a couple of minutes the paint dissolve itself. With the line visible for all, if you try cheating it is as visible as a bright orange point ot line on a green grass.

    9) Distance measurer: Again at Free kick, no team retreat at the distance. They all seems to assume that the refere is incorrect in the distance. if the referee have a sonic length measurer and use the spray paint to indicate where the wall should be no argument possible.

    10) Offside tracker: put a chip in avery player shirt or shoes, use a radio controlled laptop to chart in real time where everybody is. With the chip in the ball sensing when it has been kicked, you have a real time offside tracker.

    On the game itself, I would change the following rules.

    11) Four quarters: Instead of having 2 halves I would have 4 quarters of maybe 1/2 hours each.

    12) Allow more changes: with the longer play time, more risk of injury or tireness. That would also mean that fringe player would have more opportunities.

    13) Stop coaching staff to communicate with the players during play-time: Ban the manager and the coaching staff from the pitch side during play time and only allow physios, kit man and replacement players in today’s technical area. Communication is allowed only at the end of each quarter. by Removing the influence of the manager during the field of play, that will force players to think by themselves instead of having automatons. At International level in Rugby that is already the case, the manager is not allowed on the pitch except at half time. That why we keep having image of them in their little booth.

    I know that some purist will tell me that it does not looks like Football anymore. I would response with the new backpass rule and the new offside rule todays’s football is failry different from 1970’s football.

  • LRV

    My man, Walter. This is simply brilliant. I personally give you an award for Brilliance. Your piece was brilliantly explained and the follow on comment well clarified. Thank you.

    Whatever we feel about Graham Poll, he at least comes out with the truth in a sensible way this time. Kudos to him.

  • What makes me angry about this topic is that for literally decades, commentators and pundits have been misleading people on the laws of the game. I scream inwards everytime I hear them say “there was no intent to injure”, OR “he got the ball”, two ideas completely irrelevant to the rules on dangrous tackles. You’re not allowed to endanger your opponent.

    What annoys me even more is that there is now this idea that there was a more manly time in football when you could go right through your man (whether you got the ball or not) as Ridgewell did. It’s been against the rules of the game for all of my lifetime.

    I come close to exploding when people tell me that by booking a player for bad tackles we’re risking removing contact from the game. Bollocks to the degree of nonsense.

    In the old days, the hard men of the game didn’t whine about getting booked. Players made nasty tackles and didn’t even look at the referee as they got booked. They just got on with it.

    Why do the public think players getting booked for bad tackles is death? No, you get booked and you get on with it.

  • Diceman

    Walter, yeah I also think that sometimes a fair tackle can still hurt someone, but I d like to think that it’s very rare. What I really meant was that I hardly ever see a clean tackle(and I mean a tackle where the tackler is the only active one coming through and making contact) put players out for a long period of time.

    And your view confirmed my point: a clean tackle from the front and back will most likely be the one that only touch the ball without any ‘real’ physical contact to the receiving player. And when does tackling the ball ever break someone’s leg or hurt cruciate ligaments? People like to think that this is a tough and physical game but they overlook things and blindly think that touching the ball grant the players rights to call a bad tackle a clean one.

    Thanks anyway, it’s not often they we get a fair view from a real referee with real brain and common sense.

  • Diaminedave

    Letting people know the way you saw an incident sounds like very good man management ( if you ever watch rugby union the refs are always talking to the players as play goes on telling them what they are seeing).
    Thanks again for your view
    cheers
    Dave

  • walter

    Valentine, like I mentionned before in my eyes it was a clear foul on Manone from the Birminghamplayer who jumped in to Vito and touched his arm.
    May I ask you the points you give in your comment is that your personal opinion or is it also from Graham Poll?
    It could be possible in PL and so but in the lower leagues not off course. We wouldn’t have enough refs to deal with that. In my country the FA is crying out loud for more referees and I believe it is the same in England ?

  • walter

    Finsbury I’ve seen the video and for me this is to be classified as the perfect sideways tackle. Moore had an angle on Pele so he came from the side. And the way he excecuted it and his timing was close to perfection, I will correct myself it WAS perfection.
    If all tackles were like that I only would have to blow at the begin and the end of the game. 😉

  • walter

    Olegunner I agree. A dangerous tackle is always a foul. As a defender, in fact every player, must be aware of the consequences of his tackle. You cannot endanger an opponent.
    The Vinnie Jones era, who seems to live on in Birmingham, should be over for ever.
    In the Birmingham game they commited, as Graham Poll indicated, in the first minutes several fouls on Cesc with the intention to disturb him and his playing abilities. The ref should have called the second player with him and told him at that moment that they should stop this nonsense.
    But then again, it sometimes is easier from my chair then it is on the pitch.

  • anaconda

    Walter, here is the exact quote from Poll’s article:

    “Down at the Emirates, Liam Ridgewell flew into a challenge on Theo Walcott and, yes, played the ball first. But he then wiped out the Arsenal winger.

    The speed at which Ridgewell went into the tackle and the angle of his approach made it impossible for him to avoid Walcott. The challenge endangered the safety of the opponent and therefore should have been punished.

    Referee Lee Probert played on, Walcott was stretchered off and now faces a scan on his knee. When will pundits stop condoning such challenges by saying that the tackler played the ball?

    Later in the same game, Birmingham scored a goal to get themselves back into the game for a while. Watch the footage of that goal and you will see a blatant foul on the Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone by Sebastian Larsson. The giveaway is when Larsson looks over his shoulder to spot Mannone in order to impede him.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1221244/GRAHAM-POLL-Darren-Bents-beach-ball-winner-Liverpool-wasnt-farce-nightmare-weekend-Premier-League-refs.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0UgmTVCNF

  • walter

    Thanks for the link, Anaconda. Intresting read and Graham Poll is saying true things in his article.
    I would suggest that MOTD and other pundits ask Graham Poll to give his view on those subjects.
    It would be better then asking Allan Pool or Gary Spuds about the rules which they seem to bent how it fits them. Or they could ask me. 😉 LOL

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A very good post [again] Walter ,and the guys have joined in with some nice observations and insights.As you have mentioned Vinnie Jones ,Iwould like ask your opinion on his takle on Gary Stevens [of Spuds ]many years ago.
    He had carried both man and ball out near the touchline ,resulting in Stevens breaking his leg.I personally thought it was a fair tackle but exessively violent.He went in to hurt but no foul was given.Is there a clip of it somewhere ?If there is I would welcome your comments.

  • walter

    Brickfield Gunners, I can’t recall that tackle. If there is a link on the internet known by someone I would like to give my opinion. If I can get myself so far to look at those tackles.
    The name Vinnie Jones is placed in the same category as Joey Barton. In my eyes a manager who puts a type like him on the pitch should also been brought to court if that players gets another player severely injured.

    And now that we talk of that kind of players: Keane is a person who I would put in the same list. If you go in a tackle with the purpose of ending someones career and when you succeed in it and then later on admit you did it with that intention…. than you are a criminal.
    Every time I hear his name I have to throw up and even when Wenger said some good things of him as a manager … well this was one of the rare occasions I totaly disagreed with our manager.

  • walter

    And I’ve heard my collegues made a mess of it in Fulham yesterday. So did De Bleeckere in Madrid.
    Our refs can run like hell but the way the refs are pushed to the top in Belgium…. could write a book on it. sigh….

  • anaconda

    Hmm, what did you think went so badly wrong in the Fulham game?

    There was confusion about the penalty but in the end referee got it right. I did not watch the entire first half though. In the penalty I think you saw what the extra referees mean. The referees positioning changes when ball goes to the area, he does not have to be so close and gets a better overall view.

    If I understood it correctly, the extra ref called the penalty (correctly), but the referee who was a bit further, carded Hangeland who did not commit the foul. After lots of hand waving and moaning from the players and probably a little chat with the extra ref, he then showed the card to the correct player. The extra refs talk through the headset so I can’t be sure.

    What do you think of the experiment so far Walter? I think it has potential but it’s early days so the jury is still out.

    You have to feel for Fulham, they defended bravely and worked really hard and Roma missed a penalty. Not often you can say that it was a good penalty and still the keeper got to it. And such last minute equalizer. You can’t blame Paintsil for heading the ball instinctively, but can’t help to think that Schwarzer would have got that one without his interfering.

    De Bleeckere seriously had a bad game, there I agree. Also whoever was the ref in the Lazio-Villarreal yesterday made a few bad decisions.

    Btw, yesterday in one of the Europa League games we saw a rare occasion were rules are a bit strange and some referees don’t remember the rule, many players don’t remember it and most fans don’t know it. As you know, in a penalty, the player who takes it, may not touch the ball second time before another player has done so. From this comes a bit strange conclusion: If you hit the crossbar (or the post) and the ball comes straight back to you and you score from it, the goal does not count because no player touched it. This happened in one of the games yesterday, the player instinctively went for the deflection and headed in. The goal was disallowed and some players looked a bit confused but seemed to remember it quickly.

  • anaconda

    Walter, since this “your thread”, I’d like to bring up the betting thing in Belgium you have mentioned a couple of times. Surely you must be speaking of the case were a certain Ye Zheyun and Olivier Suray were involved?

    Wikipedia has a short article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ye_Zheyun

    It seems to remain a bit of an open case, especially because Ye has more or less disappeared.

    I was hoping you might have something to add to this?

  • walter

    Yes Anaconda this was what I spoke about.
    Well the problem was for the Fa that because there was a police investigation they couldn’t do nothing about it and had to wait for the conclusion of the police.
    So it almost came to nothing after all.
    There now goes a joke in belgian football that if you have the look of a chinese you better not go to footbal and do not use a phone or a laptop because you will be a suspect of the gambling syndicate.
    Some players pleaded guilty and where left rather unpunished for speaking out on what happened.
    So what really happened wil never be told unless Alatta or Suray tell their part, which they will not do because they will be punished if they do.
    Some players like the keeper of Lierse told story’s in which his baby was treathened to get shot if he didn’t do as the chinese maffia ordered.
    So a very confusing period and even untill now on a regular bases you hear allegations also against refs and assistants who made strange decisions in a game on which was heavely betted for a 4-1 final score. A strange penalty and 2 blatant offside goals were given to Anderlecht in de last minutes of a game standing 1-1 at that time.
    But nothing ever could be hold against the ref or his assistant.

    If we all would now some storys that I have heard from some referees… you can only hope this things don’t happen in the UK because you would stop going to games.
    Unfortunatly not every person is honest and does the right thing all the time.