Give me spoilt celebrations over a week of rueing ref injustice…

Date published: Monday 19th August 2019 8:58

Send your thoughts – preferably the non-VAR ones – to…


VAR isn’t going anywhere so just accept it
I’m sick of all these moaners about VAR. city fans can f*ck off first of all. Love Pep and how your team plays but stop acting entitled. It was handball. IF that happened last season and it was spotted it was handball but the goal stood we’d all be furious and clamouring for VAR. The fact they’ve made ALL handballs accidental or not as illegal is a GREAT thing. It leaves NO grey areas of ‘oh but what about this’. No! It’s handball. End of. You should have won the game without the need of that injury time winner but you didn’t.

Yes VAR can be handled better but it’s gonna have teething problems. Do I think this millimetre of a guys shoulder in front of the defender is stupid? Yes I do. But stop f*cking droning on about var. It’s here. Accept it. Stop giving out about it when it’s clearly correct. You can’t say yes it was the right decision BUT…..NO! It was the right decision. Full stop. Move on. Do you see them in tennis if it’s out by a millimetre say oh it’s out but you should give the guy the point anyway cos it was such a great shot down the line and the crowd cheered for it and now they look stupid ? Give me a break!
Alex LFC


…As someone who doesn’t really care for Human Rights Abuse City, I bloody enjoyed that last gasp VAR decision. People think VAR suck emotions out of football. I think it’s already creating emotions of schadenfreude and disappointment (basically what football is about, a lot of the times). The best thing about it was that it was a completely legitimate decision, a handball = not a goal. Now we don’t have to spend hours and hours talking about the referee not having superhero level eyesight. You can bet that Spurs fans would have found the goal unfair and would not have been quiet about it. We’ve spent years moaning about refs, so much so that we needed a RESPECT campaign. This is what we deserve. I know my team will be at the receiving end sooner or later but so what? I will be angry but I’ll be wrong to think that it was unfair.
Monty (why do we constantly talk about refereeing decisions and not the actual football?)


…The people snarling that VAR should only be used for decisions where the adversely affected team has appealed or requested a challenge are massively missing the point. Using VAR only for those decisions means that VAR is only used where the ref may have been able to see the incident, in which case, arguably VAR shouldn’t be needed, as the ref has seen it and made a decision.

It means the incidents where the infringement was very difficult to see don’t get the benefit of technology, when the whole point of that technology was to help a ref out for decisions he wouldn’t otherwise see. Lots of the “clear and obvious” errors would only be clear and obvious if the ref saw them – if he didn’t, and no one else did, then why should the cheating team gain an advantage because they cheated sneakily, or because they were fortunate enough to have cheated in everyone’s blind spot? Without VAR, Laporte’s handball would have been picked up on replays anyway, and everyone would have been complaining about how the goal shouldn’t have been given. Now that it’s been picked up by VAR and correctly disallowed, people are complaining that humans couldn’t have seen it. Then wtf is that sophisticated technology that exists even for?? It’s like saying a computer should only be able to print as fast as a human could write the pages all out.

Agree VAR needs to be used properly for obvious penalties (like Lamela’s moronic grabbing of Aguero), but it just seems bizarre that people don’t want VAR to help out in situations where only VAR could do it. The decisions where no one appeals are precisely the ones that need VAR…
Shaun (why do people hate correct decisions so much?) Livingston


…A question posed by pundits this weekend: why are we trying to make football perfect through VAR? The answer is very simple: twenty years of myopic analysis and replays on BBC, Sky, and BT. Every week for decades referees were proved to be incorrect in some of their decisions through super slow motion replays, offside replays done to death, and absolute castigation by said pundits as a result. The obvious solution is to use the same technology in-game to correct those decisions. So far, it has largely worked although there have been doubts about its application, and doubts about the laws of the game themselves as a result. Those same pundits therefore completely cannot position themselves to criticise VAR. It was their use of technology in their punditry in their first place to prove referees were getting decisions wrong time after time week in week out that has led to its introduction and application. It is therefore sheer hypocrisy for them to now say VAR is now ruining the game. There would be no need for it has they not used technology themselves to point out refereeing errors with it for the last twenty years.
Rich (Cambridge).


…Hi Naz, BHAFC. I understand that you are annoyed that the goal that you celebrated was disallowed after it was shown that Burns was clearly offside. But guess what, as a WHUFC fan, I am equally delighted that the right decision was made. You say “it’s not sour grapes”, but, and I’m sorry Sir, it obviously is. Why does spoiling your jumping up and down trump my shaking my head for a week or more at a clear injustice? It just doesn’t. Have some perspective and empathy. We have all lost something, no argument there, but ultimately the right decisions are now being made, which means we have all significantly gained as well.
Mike, WHU


Celebrate good times
How long should a celebration last anyway. Anyone who, losing 5-0 at The Etihad, scores in the 85th minute celebrates like they are going to win is about as likely as Spurs were yesterday.

Now with VAR, we get two celebrations for the price of one


…What a quagmire this has become eh?

Above all you all said you didn’t want the flow of the game to be disrupted. That the video reviews would take too long and alter the game in an unwanted fashion. As it is implemented now, VAR is not affecting the flow of the game and it is righting what needs to be righted.

Now you just get a swift and mighty kick in the gonads as the flow of the game is respected and VAR just comes out of nowhere and blindsides thousands of jubilant supporters, robbing them of their joy and leaving a horrible scar on their footballing experience. It’s a schadenfreude junkies delight!!!

At least in the MLS the ref gets a call from the screen watchers and heads over to his very own screen to have himself a look-see. We North Americans are well used to video review (in all majors sports) so a few minutes of game stoppage to get a call correct is no big deal. Cue the Jeopardy music, sit back and debate with those around you, and then as the ref walks away from the screen the tension builds as he readies to announce the decision. Ooooh the drama.

If this keeps up as is the health and safety brigade will recommend that warning signs be put up around every Premier League ground.


Paul (waiting eagerly for my first VAR attack to wipe out an Arsenal winner) Kaiser, Left Coast Canada


…I simply don’t understand fans who say that the introduction of VAR will destroy the euphoric moment of a goal. VAR may wipe out the odd decision, but fans will still react instinctively to the ball hitting the net; just as the always have done.

At France 98, Sol Campbell thought he’d won it for England vs. Argentina and I was off half way down the street I was so happy. Coming back to learn the ref had chalked it off has never stopped me reacting the same way – because I did it again at Euro 2004 when we scored a similar goal vs. Portugal; and had to suffer the same down heartened fate.

If those and many other examples of goals being chalked off after the event have never stopped fans; why would this new method do so. Sure, it may take a little longer to decide and rule it out; but a guarantee fans will not stop celebrating any goal in significant enough numbers to make it noticeable!!!
Paul (Spurs) T.Wells


VAR wronged Spurs as much as anyone
So Ross claims to be a Spurs fan but says Spurs have benefitted more from VAR than anyone else? To my mind spurs have had 6 high profile VAR incidents.

1). Penalty against Rose, CL first leg. Clearly didn’t benefit from that one: like yesterday no one even appealed, and I would argue it was wrongly given since his position was completely natural

2). Llorente goal allowed, CL second leg. No benefit here. It was clearly the correct decision (he wasn’t making himself bigger or in an unnatural position or any of the other buzzwords were on force at the time) and pre VAR no one would have even mentioned it. All VAR did was encourage unjustified moaning from people who didn’t understand the handball law at the time

3). Aguero offside, CL second leg. We benefited in the sense that an enormous injustice was averted. He was offside. It wasn’t ‘marginal’ as Matt Stead wrote yesterday. The Sterling offside last week was marginal, this was clear.

4). Penalty against Sissoko, CL final. Forgotten about that one haven’t you? The decision was clearly incorrect (as the call hit his shoulder first then bounced onto his arm) and wasn’t overturned. Pre VAR and handball updates the biggest game spurs have played ever wouldn’t have been ruined after 30 seconds

5). Lamela penalty appeal, yesterday. A marginal decision – did Lamela apply enough force to send Rodri tumbling? And Rodri was clearly leaning into Lamela with the ball the other side of him. One of those where whatever the ref gave would have stood, so without VAR the result is the same

6). Laporte handball yesterday. I’m not a hypocrite, so will stand by my position that FIFA have fixed a problem that didn’t exist with their handball tinkering and made football much worse in doing so. It’s a ridiculous rule. But the fault here is the absurd handball law, you can’t blame VAR for correctly applying a rule with zero wiggle room.

So overall spurs have arguably got lucky once (Lamela) and definitely got unlucky twice (Rose, Sissoko). The others were just clearly correct decisions. I’d take a swap without any hesitation
Phil, London


…Plenty of moaning all over the place this weekend about VAR and how it does all kinds of things to ruin football or whatever. I haven’t bothered to check but I assume Keysey and Graysey and various other PFMs will feel the game is ruined.

Total bollocks. In the pub yesterday City’s ruled out goal got a bigger cheer than either Spurs goal simply because it was clearly decisive at that point.

VAR doesn’t stop fans instinctively celebrating a goal. It makes more drama if anything. As it stands this is new technology; and only the early adopters have had the impact- both ways in the CL and in their favour on Saturday. I guarantee in five years every fan will have a fond memory of a late goal being disallowed; or a penalty given against a hated rival.

Yes if you don’t realise you’ve hand balled, or are offside by a toe it’s debatable how much advantage that actually is, but that’s the rules.

So don’t moan about VAR. Just look forward to the beautiful moment to come when your team will benefit.
Andy Mac, London.


…I think on further reflection, one of the reasons that VAR is having a rough bedding in period is that it’s not yet caught an obvious howler. There’s been no Hand of God, Henry against Ireland that’s been overturned and shown people why it’s worth putting up with.

Which on reflection is actually a pretty good reflection on the current standard of refereeing
Dan, Plastic LFC


…Amidst all the furore over yesterdays VAR decision that went against Citeh, I have to point out that I thought Aguero was offside.

So City had a goal they shouldn’t have had and didn’t get a goal they should have had. Let’s call it evens and move on?


…I totally agree with everybody who is complaining about VAR already. I am MUFC, but I do sympathise with MCFC fans over the goal over weekend.

I first spotted this when we got our VAR penalty against PSG, I didn’t think it was a penalty, and now am even more convinced that the handball rule needs to be changed.

The same goes for the offside rule. I was really disappointed that with the disallowed England goal in the Women’s World Cup Semi final, and also England’s men’s disallowed goal in the Nations League Semi Final against Holland. Both were millimetres offside – which is really not in the spirit of the offside law. Both players were not deliberately offside, and gained no advantage in being so marginally offside.

The law’s need to be changed on both counts to avoid sucking the spirit out of the game, and I totally emphasise with one poster who said “goodbye to celebrating a goal ever again”

What’s the point of technology if football is not entertaining for fans anymore? A balance needs to be struck – like in cricket where if the call is marginal, then the umpire sticks with his original decision, even if it was technically incorrect. That’s much fairer and keeps the human element in there.
Rohit, London MUFC


I’m out
I wrote in after the last City/Spurs/VAR saga and with the volume of mails, I didn’t make the cut.

Here we are again and honestly… I give up. I live in Ireland and attending matches is an occasional luxury at best. Now, I’m just going to watch highlights of football matches – live games have lost their lustre entirely. I cancelled my sports package over the summer and felt so disheartened I felt annoyed wasting time in the pub watching the game at the weekend.

I can’t trust my eyes when watching a match anymore and it’s created a toxic relationship between me and live football. It’s no longer the game I recognise from growing up and occasionally still playing. I’m gonna stay an armchair fan, but from a further distance and I’m fine with that.

Thanks for the memories,
CJ Fallon (I’ll stay reading f365 though, so you can keep the clicks)


You are the VAR
Just watching the highlights of Man City – Spurs and realised that something very strange could happen. What would be the decision in the following situation: Team A is on the attack, they shoot at goal and the ball strikes a defender’s arm, a defender who’s not facing the shot and who has his arm by his side, so no penalty or free kick. The play continues and team B goes on the counter attack and ends up scoring. Without VAR and before the new handball rule , this would be a perfectly good goal, but now the VAR would check the goal and see that in the build up to the goal the ball has struck an arm, which eventually led to a goal being scored. The goal would have to be disallowed (in the build up to the goal the ball has struck an arm or hand, which according to the new handball rule is always penalised), but at the same time no offence has been committed. So what is the correct decision? Or isn’t there one? Or is this further proof that the VAR doesn’t work and we should just get rid of it?
G Thomas, Breda


VAR awards
Two weeks into the season and it’s clear we need to present two new awards next May.

The first is “No Goal of the Season”, to be awarded to the best “goal” to be chalked off at Stockley Park. Gabriel Jesus set the standard at West Ham, but I am sure there will be other contenders as the weeks go by.

The second is the Pyrite Boot, in honour of what is also called Fool’s Gold. This is to be awarded to the leading scorer of goals disallowed by VAR. I think Gabi has a decent chance of doubling up and winning this one too.
Mark Meadowcroft


Aye, same
If there was VAR in everyday life. I’d be fucked.
Jason G, Montreal


The real issue
I’ve just been back home for the weekend, and I’ve chatted with loads of fellow footy feens about the new season and all the joy that brings.

Turns out, we’re pretty much all on board with Citeh being nailed on, top 4 being wide open, an all the rest, but there’s no consensus on VAR…

Should we say Vee-Ey-Orr? Or is it VAR (as in; Car, Bar)?

How do you actually pronounce it out loud? This needs to be sorted out before we can all take the whole thing seriously, right?
Nick, Irish Gooner in Berlin.


Not a bad shout
…Oh for Pete’s sake !
Can we not have a mailbox for video assistant ref claptrap and a mailbox where it is not mentioned ?
Thanks in advance.
Peter (Ceballos – what a signing ) Andalucia


Willian top ten
I knew about Willian’s decision to take the departed Hazard’s number 10 but had forgotten about it until today’s game. After winning all he has with his 22 shirt, filled with good memories, you’d think he would have kept it. I know players changing numbers is nothing new, Hazard himself was 17 originally, Drogba was 15, and Ronaldo started off as a number 9 at Madrid. In these cases though, the change happens fairly early on in their career at the club, and they are players that can realistically consider themselves part of the plans for the next few years.

Willian, however, is 31 years old and part of a young squad. Does anyone see him at Chelsea after next summer? A great and sometimes infuriating player, I don’t see it happening. As I saw him warming up against Leicester, I started thinking whether this was the action of a man who sees himself as the star, and sure enough, his first big act was to go for glory rather then passing to a better placed teammate. He did this after going wide, narrowing the angle for himself too. A couple of good moments were interspersed between a few times losing possession after dithering, despite watching from the bench how quick and well Leicester were smothering Chelsea player’s time and space from midway through the first half. Was he daydreaming about scoring the winner in his new shirt?

That alternative is that perhaps it means nothing, it is just a number, and I am not a psychologist. I’ve also just remembered he wears 10 for Brazil, so there’s that too. I’m more than happy to eat humble pie if he starts banging them in. Any other odd number changes that the Mailbox can remember? Other than that, it’s still early days yet, so I won’t pass judgement yet other than to say that although it looks like it’s going to be difficult, there are encouraging signs and plenty of reasons to be cheerful. Up the chels!


Why aspire to Real and Barca?
Dear Matt Stead – “Barca and Real Madrid really ought to be digging deep for Mane” – what tired journalism, this idea that ultimately all top players should aspire to go to one of these 2 because that’s the promised land. Weather/culture – I can’t argue. But did you notice who’s lifting trophies these days? Which clubs have a vision, a coherent strategy, an attractive style? How about Liverpool should dig deep to sign Dembele? How about City should dig deep to sign Isco? How about Spurs should dig deep to sign Asensio? No better than a red top, we expect more…
Tim, London


Saturday afternoon in China
I had the pleasure of watching 3 games back-to-back on Saturday, a rare treat! I won’t wade into the VAR debate as there have been plenty of excellent points made already.

First up was Arsenal n Burnley, and a decent game overall IMO. Key take aways- Barnes is a hell of a handful, great work rate and good strength, Cork looked like he could literally play without a left leg the way he dribbles with the ball, Ceballos looks very good and I thought his expression at certain points in the game sorta showed that this type of game was not one he was used to, quite amusing. Auba and Lacazette with their overall speed and work rate will cause problems for any team if they can stay fit, and Arsenal deserved the win on the balance of things.

……Then it was onto my beloved Newcastle and…. well… yep, that was less satisfying to watch. Norwich to be fair were excellent for the most part and Teemu Pukki’s finishes were all well taken. Joelinton, just like at Arsenal the week before, was too often isolated up front, but equally needs to do a better job of getting the ball under. I don’t know if it’s just me but in both games so far, I watched Almiron and he just seems a bit unfit, just a yard off what I saw of him when he first joined….. Anyway, consumed the majority of my beer supply for that match…….

…….But still sober enough to watch City n Spurs, and WOW what a game, and what an advert for the PL. City played some great stuff early on, but what impressed me the most was the constant pressing and hassling when they didn’t have the ball. Spurs had no time as they tried to play it out from the back, but this highlighted 2 things for me (Clive): Lamela and Kane were not giving options long when there was no more space to play short, and when they did play longer down the line I think Spurs should’ve held the ball a bit more- City were steaming into tackles and pressing and Spurs could’ve easily won a fair few free kicks and took the sting out of things. Again, 16 conclusions covered the player element of things, the thing that got me in the first half, certainly before Spurs scored, was the commentators constant, unrelenting salivating over City’s every pass and movement. The superlatives used to describe every move, pass, scratch of the nuts, appreciation of Pep’s bonce, grief it just got annoying- so while the result was unfair on city in some ways, it was immensely satisfying 1. When spurs interrupted the initial love-in with their first goal, and 2. When the VAR disallowed goal cut short the commentators reaching for the Kleenex.
Jon, NUFC, Guangzhou


Still Black Death Vodka
Albert you’re spot on about shirt sponsors, a few that come to my mind are;

Samsung – Chelsea, always will be the perfect duo, I just don’t feel the same seeing Yokohama Tyres
Vodafone – Manchester United, Is it just me who loved seeing them on a red shirt?
Liverpool – Carlsberg, it’s iconic
Fiorentina – Nintendo, oh Gabriel Batistuta
West Ham – Dr Martens, Rio, Lampard, Cole and Di Canio
Mikey, CFC


Great Gunnersaurus
Yes, Lacazette took his goal well as did Aubameyang, and the Spanish lad had Ceballos was brilliant, but can we take a moment to appreciate the real star on Saturday?

I am of course talking about Gunnersaurus, who has not only hit 100k followers on Instagram, cue one of the funniest graphics I’ve ever seen on the big screens with Gunnersaurus celebrating his achievement to the tune of some rather weird music, but he was also voted the greatest mascot in the world.

Take that Fred The Red, Stamford the Lion, Deepdale Duck and the rest!
Graham Simons, Gooner, We’ve Got The Best Mascot In The World, Norf London


Postcard from the NPL
On Saturday the words of Daniel Gray and his book, Saturday 3pm, were all over my Twitter timeline as the Northern Premier League finally kicked off. I have an unusual perspective on Gray’s book, as an outsider to the “this is the way football always was and how it always should be” groupthink it appeals to; it does seem that some people pick odd things to get nostalgic about, and sometimes things get left behind by societal advances. Then again, if anywhere is “football how it’s always been”, it’s non-league, and that’s why it’s fun.

F365’s man in Japan and I, along with our families, were at the Meres for Grantham Town v FC United of Manchester, a match between one of the oldest clubs in the country and one of the newest, two sides optimistic about far better seasons this time around. Incidentally the last time we went to a game together was a goalless draw between Crystal Palace and Oldham Athletic in 1991. The sun was shining and, unusually for Grantham, it wasn’t particularly windy.

*For what it’s worth, I think the whole concept of FC United is brilliant. It sometimes seems like the only way football is going to do away with the seemingly endless parade of scumbags ruining football clubs throughout the land is for a fan-owned club to make a real success of things, setting a precedent of a blueprint for success future prospective owners are required to follow. The involvement of the fans in United’s existence was properly on show in Grantham: of the 821 in attendance, comfortably 75% of those were away fans, including a sizeable and vocal singing section. While songs about Scousers were a bit tiresome (let’s face it, in Lincolnshire the more prominent enemy is Manchester United fans), any side who have reworked This Land Is Your Land and Anarchy in the UK into chants can’t be all bad. But still, I really don’t like “FC United of Manchester” as a name. It’s clunky and it jars against the format of every other football club in the UK. Unless it’s a knowing reference to the shameless arrogance of Manchester United fans referring to themselves simply as “United” as though there aren’t heaps of other teams using that suffix, in which case all is forgiven.

*In preseason the home side’s joint-managers had been preaching tactical flexibility, and their work showed here. They began the game in a 3-5-2, hoping to match the visitors in midfield (playing 4-2-3-1) but with two strikers to keep the defence busy. This paid dividends early on. As FC United looked to push forwards, they were undone by a long ball to Craig Westcarr. He rolled his marker to create enough space for a shot and fired past Paddy Wharton in the visitors’ goal.

*Shortly after this, a nasty-looking knee injury to left wing-back Connor Bartle required a reshuffle. AJ Adeleken – having previously done a passable impression of a Sheffield United style overlapping centre-back, shuffled out to the left as the Gingerbreads switched to 4-4-2, with substitute Fernando Bell-Toxtle ahead of him. This was a bit disjointed and the visitors took advantage of the gaps in midfield – Regan Linney advanced with the ball and his shot from the left hit the far post, but his teammates got to the ball first, and Nialle Rodney poked the ball in for the equaliser. United repeated the tactic a few minutes later, though this time Linney found the net with a spectacular curling shot.

*Having got the lead, United were happy to sit back and allowed their hosts to grow into the game. They nearly paid for what was almost complacency when Wharton produced a good reaction save to deny a header from Tom Ward, so they went in 2-1 ahead at the break.

*With the visitors content to rest on their laurels, the Gingerbreads had the best of the early exchanges in the second half, and made a bold substitution: they withdrew targetman Gregg Smith in place of midfielder Michael Tweed, who played on the right of a back three. This allowed Jake Green (ordinarily a right back) and Bell-Toxtle to push up alongside Westcarr and try to take advantage of the tiring defence with direct running. Green, looked to get on the end of a through ball from Adeleken when a defender took his leg instead of the ball, and the referee awarded a penalty. Westcarr sent Wharton the wrong way from the spot and parity was restored in the 77th minute.

*Soon after that, a game that had been turning up the needle steadily threatened to boil over. Green caught an opponent late and high, albeit not in a stamping motion. It didn’t look good and I feared the worst, but the referee showed a yellow card. It was definitely in “orange” card territory, and after the event it seems like the sort of call that goes the way of the team with the momentum in the game.

*In the 88th minute, a free kick from the right pinballed around the United box and was eventually cleared as far as Ward, whose low shot rifled into the net through a crowd of bodies to put the Gingerbreads back in the lead. Ward was the captain last year and about the only player to be there the whole season. For him to have stuck with the club through the torrid time and then be the man to seal three points in better times was a great moment.

*3-2 was how it finished. A game that both sides led at different times, only decided right at the end, with a large crowd and a great atmosphere. Absolutely brilliant. It’s too early to make any serious conclusions from this game, but for Grantham this backs up their preseason optimism by proving they can compete with sides theoretically far superior to them; for FC United, it’s a wake up call that they can’t be taking any opponents lightly.

On Tuesday, the Gingerbreads travel to Stafford Rangers (lost 1-2 at Lancaster City), while United have a Greater Manchester derby against Hyde United (lost 2-3 to Basford United).
Ed Quoththeraven

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