March 22nd, 2008


Posted in Not the Job by 200

Footballers are amongst the last people I’d ever listen to for many reasons, some of which are contained in recent posts. However, I was quite impressed this week on hearing one interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live. Unfortunately, I can’t recall who it was. It may have been Gary mabbutt, I know he was talking about something but I can’t remember whether it was this topic or something else.

Basically, it was to do with resepct for the referee. There has been a lot of talk recently about footballers & the way they act on the pitch (& off it, come to that) particularly towards the referee. I think someone who gets paid a squillion pounds a  minute for kicking a windbag around a field & diving all over the place turned his back on a referee who was admonishing him last weekend.

There were contrasts between football referees & rugby. I played rugby both at school & local club levels when I was a young PC. I remember that the referee’s word was God. You never argued & if you ever spoke to one or acknowledged him you used the word ‘sir’.

On the rare occasions you did back-chat the ref he would pick up the ball & march your team 15 yards back towards your own line. If you made a comment about that, he’d march you back another 15 yards. Do that once or twice & the rest of the team will make sure you never open your mouth again. As far as I’m aware that is s til the case today; I heard one of the England internationals on the radio this week saying they still called the ref ‘sir’.

Anyway, back to the footballer, Mabbutt or whoever it was.

He basically said that if footballers & managers can’t show the referee some respect & find it acceptable to argue the toss over every decision, swear at them & slag them off at every opportunity then is it any surprise that the rest of society is like this all the time. He acknowledged  the important tole footballers have to play as models for a large section of society & appeared to accept that they were letting society down, badly.

Mind you, it was less refreshing today when one of the managers came on the radio to say if referees want respect then they ought to give it to the players. With that attitude form one of the guys who runs the teams, there’s really not much hope.

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One comment

  1. Civ_In_The_City says:

    When it comes to the behaviour of supposedly top-flight footballers I have to agree with you that we don`t have to just put up with it, that it is in fact a thoroughly unpleasant culture that has grown up around a few spoilt, childish idiots.

    I downloaded the ‘rules of football’ from the F.A. website the other day looking for the section on ‘professional fouls’, ‘diving’, ‘harassing referees’ etc. Maybe it`s in the small print at the back ‘cos I ‘ain`t found it yet.

    It`s often one of the admirable qualities of the British to put up with things without complaining. And I know the religion that NuLabour has enshrined into law is ‘no facts, only opinions of equal worth’ but if a player thinks he can square off to the ref and swear to his face then I have to disagree.

    The problem is that the same players would probably square off to anyone in the street or pub who didn`t let them have their own way, much like the school-children I`ve been reading about today.

    With NuLabour`s social engineering has come the belief that all laws, rules and regulations are there for someone elses benefit, for someone else to obey, and then only as guidelines anyway. You might get 4 years for murder so that doesn`t rule it out as an option.

    Telling the ref to f**k off may get you a yellow card but you`ve got to take out their best player at all costs so don`t rule out that two-footed tackle just yet.

    The rugby lot have proven that respecting the ref takes nothing away from the game, I believe it adds greatly. I`m just not sure the football culture has any room for respect left in it.

    March 22nd, 2008 at 17:15

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