Matt Le Tissier is justifiably miffed that his beloved Southampton were cheated out of Manolo Gabbiadini’s perfectly valid goal in the League Cup Final.
The former Saints star has joined the chorus calling for the introduction of video technology to prevent miscarriages of football justice, instances of which are all too common in the top flight of English football.
Aggrieved Le Tissier said that had it been United scoring the disputed goal, referee Andre Marriner and his assistant would have allowed it, saying the ‘bigger’ teams generally have crucial decisions ‘go their way’ against the smaller clubs.
The Sky Sports TV pundit – usually the most balanced and articulate on the City-hating, United ass-kissing TV network – queried whether it was more than coincidence that United had benefitted from scoring six offside goals at Old Trafford this season?
He then cited a bizarre example of one of the Premier League’s elite gaining an advantage over a bottom half club, involving Manchester City and Bournemouth.
The ex-England forward alleged when Bournemouth ‘equalised’ in City’s recent 2-0 win at the Vitality Stadium, it was the Fourth Official who alerted referee, Neil Swarbrick, to a foul by Joshua King – scorer of the disallowed goal – on City’s John Stones.
Now, I may have missed something here, but since when have Fourth Officials been transmitting messages to referees, during a game to ensure correct decisions are made?
Stones was clearly impeded by King at Bournemouth and Swarbrick made the right call, but if Le Tissier’s allegation is accurate, then why isn’t a myriad of wrong decisions being corrected during matches?
From City’s perspective, Le Tissier’s comment is ironic, in that Swarbrick’s handling of that game was the stand-out refereeing performance of the season, in a campaign riddled with incompetent and/or biased officials.
Supporters of all clubs will be able to produce examples of bad decisions by referees and their assistants, none more so than City, particularly when it comes to yesterday’s League Cup Final ref, Marriner.
If, as Le Tissier says, referees are being guided by Fourth Officials during play, what the hell was going on when Marriner failed to award City a stonewall penalty against Spurs last month?
Raheem Sterling was unceremoniously shoved off the ball by Kyle Walker of Spurs, with the jaundiced mobs on BT Sports and BBC Match of the Day having to admit it should’ve been a penalty…even Walker held his hands up to the foul, albeit after the fact.
It was 2-1 to City at the time. A Yaya Toure penalty would almost certainly have made it 3-1 and City would’ve won the game. As it was Spurs went straight up the other end and made it 2-2.
So where was the message to Marriner on that occasion?
How come Marriner missed Sergio Aguero’s alleged elbowing – violent conduct apparently – of Winston Reid, when standing just 10 yards away with a clear line of sight, at the Etihad last August? It wasn’t in Marriner’s match report and hence the FA Panel stitched Aguero up with a retrospective three-match ban.
Why Marriner hasn’t been signed up for a lucrative advertising campaign by Specsavers, is a marketing mystery – rather like Andre’s on-field decisions
But, some modicum of salvation might not be too far away.
Video technology is due to be rolled out in a test programme next season focusing on ‘game-changing decisions’.
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) will run the hi-tech pilot, applying it to key incidents concerning goals, red cards, mistaken identities and penalties.
IFAB say 12 national associations have expressed an interest in hosting live trials, but it’s unlikely the Premier League will be a ‘guinea pig.’
The ‘video assistants’ are only likely to become part and parcel of the game in England if, as and when the technology is tried, tested and proven.
It can’t come soon enough for Le Tissier and all those who crave transparency, honesty and enhanced levels of integrity in football.
The majority of fans would much prefer that their team win or lose on merit. Far better than having results dictated or influenced by match officials who remain totally unaccountable for their actions.
By David Walker
The winner of the Read But Never Red competition to win a signed and personalised copy of David White’s powerful autobiography – Shades of Blue – is Brian Entwistle, who correctly stated that Whitey was born in 1967. Thanks to City fan Mark McCarthy for assisting with the competition, congratulations to Brian and thanks to everyone who entered.
SHADES OF BLUE’ – THE BOOK…
David White was born in Manchester in 1967 with football flowing in his veins. Driven by his football-mad dad, David’s prodigious talent was spotted early and he soon signed coveted schoolboy forms for Manchester City, the team that he’d supported since boyhood. A meteoric rise through the club’s ranks led to his first-team debut at the age of eighteen, and he continued to light up Maine Road’s right wing for the next eight years. It was a career that would take him to the heights of playing for his country.
But David’s performance on the pitch was frequently blighted by a lack of confidence and consistency, traits that baffled his fans and family. Only David knew the real reason behind his struggles. Only David knew who had shot his confidence to pieces. Only David knew that, aged just eleven, he had been sexually abused by his football coach, Barry Bennell.
Shades of Blue tells the story of David’s extraordinary life: his passion for football, the drama of his games and his fight to outrun the shadow of that early abuse. Having spent years feeling that he had to conceal his secret in order to protect his father and his football career, it is only now that David has felt able to give a full and honest account of his life – one with a powerful message that aims to repair the damage at the very heart of the sport.
www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu