Footballrumours’s Blog

Worst Kept Rumour
February 11, 2011, 9:12 am
Filed under: Barclays Premiership | Tags: , , ,

Well it’s not a rumour or even a secret as apparently the decision about who will take over the 2010 Olympic stadium  has already been leaked and Spurs are the big losers. West Ham United are set to come out of this messy bidding cycle as the victors, primarily because they decided to stick with one of the key criteria, namely keeping the athletics track around the pitch.

Quite why Spurs, with all their cash and, I have to say arrogance, decided they could play above the rules is surprising really. Who in their right mind would opt to go with a proposal from a football club who think they have the right to determine the fate of British Athletics for the next 50 years?

No, if the rumour is true and West Ham do earn the right to take over the Olympic stadium and build a new Upton Park (of course it may not be called that) then many football fans will be happy and so will many athletics fans. The only ones with sore heads will the Spurs board who will now have to cook up plan C. Back to the drawing board boys!


Referees Need Technical Help
February 8, 2009, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Barclays Premiership | Tags: , , , ,

It now seems long overdue that serious consideration is given to providing technical assistance to referees.

This weekend saw several refereeing decisions fundamentally affect the outcome of big games, so should the abilities of one man, and whether he gets a clear view of any incident, swing the outcome of a Premiership game in such a significant way?

Football now stands almost alone in professional sport in forsaking the help of available technology to ensure a fair result is achieved. Tennis for example now has the help of Hawkeye technology to judge the correctness of every line call. Rugby Union uses a fourth official and video replays to ensure decisions on try scores are correct. Formula One, a sport that has technology at its very heart, has track-side referees who can use video replays to assess fair or foul maneuvers and impose drive-through or retrospective penalties even after a race is over.

Match changing refereeing decisions were once again under examination this weekend after incidents at the Spurs vs Arsenal game and and at the Sunderland vs Stoke game where referee Rob Styles made what must have been the biggest mistake of the day when he failed to spot Stoke player Pugh using his hands to stop the ball crossing the goal line. Sunderland players and fans alike could not believe that the action of Pugh went unpunished. On  TV Pugh certainly had a guilty look on his face but unlike some other sports where honesty and honour are upheld, no professional footballer is encouraged to own up to a foul when the stakes are so high. Another thing that should change perhaps.

So with such high stakes and so much money now involved in the game it must be time to reconsider the use of assistance technology to make sure important refereeing decisions are made correctly. It would certainly reduce pressure on referees and remove the weekly complaints from managers that now seem par for the course.

Redknapp courts Hipocrisy
January 26, 2009, 10:33 am
Filed under: FA Cup | Tags: , ,

After watching the FA Cup between Manchester United and Spurs on Saturday I was left with one thought – how Harry Redknapp had changed his spots. After commenting mid-week that he was placing the game down his priority list and would be fielding a below strength team ( and receiving plenty of criticism for those remarks) he turned up with a strong team and went all guns blazing for the win. Had it not been for an unfortunate two minute spell in the first half, Redknapp could well have got that win. In his comments after the game he even admitted that he thought his team was effectively always in contention right up to the end and could easily have earned a reply – but Harry didn’t want that replay did he? Alex Ferguson played no such shenanigans and fielded a very strong looking team – O’Shea, Vidic, Carrick, Scholes, Ronaldo, Berbatov and Tevez is a formidable line-up.

Manchester United have their own injury worries though with Rooney, Evra, Anderson, Evans, Rafael and now Welbeck and Fabio all injured. But such is their strength in depth that even this high number of casualties should not hamper them.

All these remarks about busy seasons and priorities have at least forced the FA to reconsider their rules for the FA Cup and I expect some radical changes to be brought in by next season. With both Liverpool and Everton now facing an unwanted replay, the FA must consider how to ensure ties in the latter stages of the competition ( when more premiership teams are likely to be involved) can be settled in just one game. Maybe even the semi-finals and final too – I’ve always found an FA Cup Final replay to be a bit of an anti-climax compared to the real deal.  Before long I certainly expect earlier FA Cup rounds to be using a short period of extra time, followed by penalties if required.

All this will limit the revenue-earning opportunities that some lower league clubs thrive on when presented with the chance of a replay (some would say that these clubs may even play for a replay at times ) but let’s be honest, the FA Cup is not about those one or two non-league clubs earning a lucky financial break. It’s about exciting competition with the big-name clubs providing thrilling and committed performances. If over-booked schedules and the worry of injuries and replays serve to prevent that, then the format needs to be resolved quickly.

Redknapp plays FA Cup Mind Games
January 22, 2009, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Does anybody really believe Harry Redknapp’s comments about writing-off his club’s FA Cup ambitions in preference for a focus on their League position? Granted, Spurs sit on equal bottom of the Premier League with four other clubs, but the season is only at the halfway stage and a club like Spurs have a lot of history to call on if the chips really are down nearer the end of the season. I reckon his comments are a tease to Manchester United, possibly goading them into leaving out a few of their top players for this weekend’s FA Cup game at Old Trafford.

Manchester United have their own full schedule and priorities to worry about, with a Carling Cup final to look forward to and a position at the top of the Premiership to defend.

Having tasted FA Cup victory with Portsmouth last year, surely Redknapp knows how a good run in the competition can inspire a team. Can he really afford to write that potential boost of success off at this stage of the season? His team selection for the weekend game will reveal whether he really is trying to pull the wool over Sir Alex Ferguson’s eyes.