Let’s talk about goalkeepers then. Yes we know they are over-protected in modern football and the days of Dixie Dean barging both ‘keeper and ball into the back of the net are but a distant memory. For me, you can take all those rules away now. Let’s make it a free for all. I think you’ll find most Wigan Athletic fans wouldn’t mind that at all with just one little and perfectly reasonable caveat: that the laws of the game are applied to all teams not just certain clubs.
I found one piece written by a web journalist somewhere who had a go at Al Habsi after the Chelsea game after the big Omanian spoke out about the decision which ultimately cost Latics a point at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, his general inference being that ‘football isn’t basketball and contact is allowed’. I challenged him outright to which he came back and said, yes it was a foul but football is a contact sport and it was the principle of Al Habsi’s comments not the decision. Now I kind of subscribe to that as well: football is a contact sport but even in Ultimate Cage Fighting or whatever it’s called, you still have to mind where you stick your elbows! Maybe not in Dixie Dean’s days.
Why is it when we are regularly on the receiving end, football fans and scribes seek to downplay our injustices? Can you imagine if that had happened midweek in the Champions League tie to Edwin van der Sar? I’m sure Sir Alex would have accepted it with good grace! Or let’s do a bit of role reversal and assume Fernando Torres had received an elbow in the face in the penalty box? Would he stay on his feet like Ali Al Habsi did? He’d still be rolling around on the floor now and Hansen and Lawrenson on Match of the Day would be calling for Latics to be kicked out of the league rather than gently laughing it off as they did on Saturday night.
Whilst on holiday recently, I read Calcio, a history of Italian football, for the second time and it’s a pretty open secret in Italian football there that if a referee wants a long and prosperous career, officiate the top games, cup finals, internationals and the like then it’s probably best that he doesn’t give too many decisions against the big clubs.
For all the recent press about Manchester United and Wayne Rooney being victimised by all and sundry, I can’t help thinking that they don’t know the meaning of the word given the decisions week after week which go against Wigan Athletic and we simply have no option but to shrug our shoulders and get on with it or else it looks like we are bleating. We probably have to go out and win an extra ten points a season to make up for the ten that invariably get taken away by bad officiating over the course of the season
The only trouble is that every single club comes up with the same sob story about refereeing decisions and if the likes of United, Arsenal & Chelsea continually feel aggrieved, my only conclusion is to ask: who on earth does get all the favourable decisions in this league then?
We don’t ask for favourable treatment, just parity so here’s hoping for a good, clean, FAIR game this Saturday
SUBSCRIBE TO THE PIE AT NIGHT PODCAST
We promise you that it’s easier to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t have to rely on us to remind you when a new episode comes out.
Apple sorts can find it on iTunes here – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-pie-at-night-podcast/id1097853442?mt=2
If you prefer a different podcast app then just search for “The Pie at Night Podcast”.
You can also find us on Stitcher, here – http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-pie-at-night-pocast/the-pie-at-night-podcast
If you’re that way out, you can find and subscribe to our RSS feed here – http://feeds.feedburner.com/thepieatnight
And if you just want to take pot luck then you can find all our episodes on our Soundcloud page