Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sometimes it's the referee's fault

"Wenger is rightly recognised as a fantastic coach who loves to teach young players how to play his way. But maybe it’s time someone taught him how to lose with good grace and dignity. After all, it can’t always be the referee's fault."

- Graham Poll, full-time comedian, part-time referee

Four years ago in the World Cup, Australia drew 2-2 with Croatia with a late equaliser from Harry Kewell. It got us through the group stage, and Australia was elated. It seemed like football had finally arrived to this country.

When I think about that match, there's two things that stick out for me - the immense relief that flooded by body when Kewell got that goal, and an over-powering hatred towards Graham Poll. Graham Poll had a shocking match. He failed to spot a handball int he penalty area by Tomis. He didn't see rugby-type tackles on Viduka. He even gave Josip Simunic three yellow cards before sending him off.

So yes, Graham Poll; it's not always the ref's fault, but sometimes it is. There are some incidences when the ref makes errors so horrific that Wenger's comment about Hansson - that you can either believe the referee to be either incompetent or corrupt - is entirely justified. Either they're having a 90 minute brain-fade, or they're taking money from shady businessmen.

Personally, I think Wenger's over-reacting to it. I think we were as much to blame as the ref. Campbell shouldn't have back-passed. Fabianski should've have picked up the fucking ball, and when he did he shouldn't have handed it straight to the ref. Our players should've swarmed over the ref and protested. We were very, very bad, but it doesn't mean the ref was blameless. Wenger's got a right to complain.

And I don't understand why someone who thinks 3 yellow cards means a sending off is considered an authority on the laws of the game in England. But then again, this is coming from a culture which appointed Danii Minogue into a talent-show judge. I guess the English really get irony, don't they?

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