Monday, 23 September 2019

VAR now sizing up manhood in their clampdown on onside

While Tottenham Hotspur's Son Hoeng-min was peeling away the parking notice that was stuck to his shirt at The King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon, BBC's Alan Shearer (who has also been caught on camera breaking the law at the home of The Foxes) was preparing to soften his stance on VAR.

Originally a dissenter to video technology review (perhaps understandably), and then a supporter when facing charges of living in the past, Shearer appeared to waver on the latest edition of Match of The Day when video footage captured Son doing possibly, maybe - and certainly not clearly and obviously - excess of level with the last outfield defender, as his side appeared to go 2-0 up against the top six/four/three hopefuls.

"What we need, Gary, is a soft VAR. The VAR at present is too hard. In fact, why not call the whole shite'n thing off if it means I don't have to talk about it every week for the rest of the bollocking season?" This was the new whichever-way-the-wind-is-blowing conclusion Alan had reached, or at least seemed to. Some of the quoted words may not have happened, I was 'going under' at the time.

The identity of Son himself, as the victim of a system that charges forward in its mission to stand alongside Harald Schumacher, Andoni Goiketchea ('The Butcher of Bilbao'), Catenaccio and Osvaldo Zubeldia as the darkest of anti-football exponents, is a worrying sign for even the most willowy of forwards such as the South Korean. Should VAR have been around in the days of Alan Smith's and Ian Rush's noses, their impressive goal outputs would have been drastically reduced. Whereas in horse racing or sprinting you can win by a nose, in VAR world, an unfortunate protrusion is a key disadvantage that will be exploited by canny defenders.

Plastic surgery may become rife in the modern game, as teams look to seek out that 1% differential than can decide a result, although the mental side of a player's mind as well as physical will need to be considered. Former Premier League striker, Robbie Fowler, himself in the Rush nose mould, once said that scoring goals was "even better than sex", and for his counterparts of the VAR era, any such arousal as the goal - and VAR line - beckons, could have damaging consequences. So far pundits have joked about the "armpit" and "toe-nail" of straying forwards, but even for the most diligent, line-holding attackers, how soon before one of them becomes the victim of their own erection?                 

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Football fairness at the BBC "Where are you?!"

The BBC are today fighting a claim that they tried to sabotage the celebrations of newly promoted Premier League team Norwich City, following their 3-2 home win over celebrated fossil-fuel perpetrators Manchester City, in the Premier League on Saturday (September 14th).

Within hours of the Canaries' faith-restoring backside-booting of the oil-dealing outfit, the opening act of Beeb vengeance began with Five Live's Alistair-Bruce-Ball urging fans of Norwich to appear on his knee-jerkathon 606 show, saying "If ever there was a time for Norwich City fans to ring 606 it's tonight". The claim against Ball is in his apparent assumption that people from Norwich, or followers of Norwich, are too stupid to have heard of pubs, or have any friends or family to rejoice with instead, and, therefore, being that stupid, are fair game to clog up the post-match airwaves with all the other mouth-breathers who choose this forum to share their deluded words with people they don't know. This is gist of the claim against the BBC being made.

The BBC has fought back against the 606/Bruce-Ball episode, arguing that, should any Norwich supporters have been successful in getting through to the show, they would have been sharing  their heightened emotions with former good striker of their club, Chris Sutton, whose partnership with Bruce-Ball has, if not eclipsed his playing one with Alan Shearer, then shown sufficient promise to be shortlisted as a possible last minute stand-in for Ant and Dec on any one of their ITV standard productions.

While the claimant is prepared to review the 606 complaint, there appears no wriggle room, pending a large Abu Dhabi cheque - or maybe a dart in the eye - in "respects of" (come on Wrighty, enough now) Exhibit 2. Having unexpectedly shown the three Norwich goals against the anti-inclusion City on the MOTD 2 highlights programme on Sunday night, presenter Mark Chapman appeared to innocently placate any Norwich fans who might have been feeling disgruntled over the allocated experts Jermaine Jenas and Martin Keown focusing their analysis solely on the City associated with misogyny and disappearing.

"Hold on, Norwich fans!" Chapman urged, "We have a special ending to the show coming up for you" (paraphrasing). But when it came, this "celebration" of the budget-defying triumph was nothing more than a disturbing re-mix of their celebrity owner, Delia Smith's not drunk on-pitch half time speech on the previous occasion that her team had been 2-0 up against a pre-devil courtship City in February 2005.

This footage not only awoke Norwich fans from their moment of euphoria, and plunged them back to a time they are fighting to forget every single day of their lives, but also came from a night when the other City beat them, "as the BBC knew all too well", the claimant said, adding "clearly when Chapman promised Norwich fans a treat, he actually meant everyone but Norwich fans".

The BBC have again denied allegations of wrongdoing and preferential treatment of the modern Manchester City.

"This is nonsense", said a well-paid spokesperson, probably a man; "To say we deliberately shoehorned in a City win at Carrow Road to redress the balance are the words of a person living in a warped reality. People may say there was a Manchester City before Sheik Mansoor, but we had no absolutely no interest in the club before 2008.

The dispute continues...                     

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