Time for a good ol’ rant…
I was watching highlights from the English Premier League matches on Boxing Day (today) and was very entertained with the exciting football that had taken place. However, I was sorely disappointed with the emphasis on officiating placed throughout the show. During an hour and a half of highlights the commentators managed to criticize a referee’s decision for just about every game. Yeah, handballs happen, as do controversial tackles in the box and not-so-innocent nudges during cornerkicks, but remember that the referees are at just as high a skill level (in what they’re doing) as the players are. Referee decisions are a part of every sport, and in the long run, these decisions always even out for any team. What pisses me off is the constant complaining by players and managers alike. During the highlight shows, for instance, after each match is a short interview with each team’s manager, no more than 20-30 seconds. Yet somehow, the managers always focus this valuable time on criticising the referee rather than commenting on his team’s progress or performance. For instance, after the Aston Villa/Everton match (in which Everton were thromped 4-0) the Everton manager spent his entire interview bitching about how the first goal should have been disallowed because it was a handball (it grazed Milon Baros’s arm), blah blah the first goal is very important in a game, yadda yadda it was the worst decision I have ever seen in my 40 years of managing etc etc…well maybe you should shut the hell up, and realizing how your team got it’s ass whooped, comment on your team’s atrocious defending instead of whining like a little girl.
This isn’t even mentioning how in all professional sports (footballers are especially guilty) athletes routinely criticize every decision by an umpire, referee, linesman, or whoever. A typical sequence of events might be…
1. midfielder plays a thru-ball up to a forward, who controls it in mid-stride, fires and scores, then goes wild in celebration
2. linesman raises his flag, indicating the forward was offside, as agrees the referee
3. player runs over to the referee, shouting obscenities in a tantrum and carrying on like a three-year-old
4. referee calmy explains why he was offside
5. player continues whining like a little bitch, manager goes hoarse yelling obscenities
6. player throws the ball or kicks something/someone
7. referee awards player a yellow card
8. (repeat steps 3-5 until player walks away or is ejected)
Post-game whining is simply an excuse for a (player’s, team’s) performance that could’ve been better. An extra effort on a midfield run to reach that low-crossed ball at the goal mouth, a lapse of concentration in the penalty box allowing an attacker to slip behind, a misplaced shot, poor defensive communication; these decisions and performances will decide the result of any given game, not a single refereeing decision. So shut up already.