The problem with football…

6 Mar

The so called beautiful game has never been ugly.

I say this having witnessed it first-hand as a player, supporter and referee.

It is no surprise the game is in decline when you look at some of the role models aspiring youngsters get to look up to. Footballers who are more interested in their celebrity lifestyle than what actually goes on in the pitch.

Take, for example, Ashley Cole, the prima-donna Chelsea left-back. Ashley was, once again, in the wrong place at the wrong time in the early hours of Thursday morning, arrested for being ‘drunk and disorderly’. Good work Ashley. Perhaps you could try a little harder to earn your whopping 80k a week. Rather than spending the early hours in George Michael’s favourite haunt.

It doesn’t help the state of the game when players like Cole spend every week berating referees either.

That said, The F.A. arguably shot themselves in the foot a couple of seasons ago, when they scrapped one of the most effective laws to grace the game.

The ten yard ‘dissent’ law that, in the style of Rugby Union, allows referees to move a free kick ten yards nearer to the oppositions goal every time dissent occurs; this rule did wonders to deter aimless official abuse. A free kick in the oppositions half could quite easily end up on the edge of your six yard box if a petulant, child like tantrum over-ran.

The F.A. are trying to implement their ‘RESPECT’ campaign from grass-roots and build up, but surely it doesn’t take a genius, or anyone with a brain cell to realise the only way to truly affect grass-roots level is to start from the top?

Kids playing on playgrounds with jumpers for goalposts are much more likely to follow suit of the example set by a Premiership footballer, than that of a spokesperson from the F.A. telling them guidelines of a campaign that is upside down.

It boils down to key decisions made at the Football Association HQ in London. Recent brainwaves include, the appointment of Steve McLaren, arguably the worst England manager in the country’s glittering history.

It is about time the F.A. appointed someone with a football brain to head the association. Brian Barwick is set to leave Soho Square, but is due to be replaced by Ian Watmore; a man with no more football knowledge than any average joe on the street.

If English football is ever to see the improvements it’s fans crave, and reach the dizzy heights it is capable of, common sense must prevail.

As Baddiel & Skinner once famously said, “30 years of hurts. Never stopped me dreaming.

To the next thirty!

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