LIVERPOOL FC 0 STOKE CITY FC 0
Doesn't matter what match you watch or at what level, player discipline more and more leaves a lot to be desired.Increasingly much player activity seems to be angled at undermining the referee and assistants,to secure some advantage.We have progressed rapidly through from the odd few words of complaint, when a decision is plain wrong,to remonstrations when a decision does not suit; to the knowing smile accompanied by a shaking of the head; to the idiot finger wagging at some unfortunate official,again accompanied by vigorous head shaking;to individual players heading directly for the nearest official, exhibiting a lack of self control reminiscent of a full blown toddler tantrum;to the waving of imaginery cards - sometimes yellow,more often red - in the ref's face;to mobbing the referee with intent to bully and intimidate. Is it me or has this latter phenomenon got seriously out of hand in recent months.
We have managers jumping up and down like something demented when something does not go their way.We have tv commentators,and so called pundits going hysterical,claiming to be non-judgemental about refereeing decisions,but doing exactly the opposite.Very few of them cut the ref any slack,as they sit back comfortably in the studio,holding forth and collecting a fat fee.
The game is the poorer for all this.From top to bottom, FA to players, plus various media hangers on,it is time to call time,enough is enough.The message needs to be sent out loud and clear that the act needs to be cleaned up.Stick your head in the ref's face,sufficient to cause him to take backward step (as we have seen a few times in recent televised games) should attract a red card. Take a leaf or two out of Rugby Union's book.....dispute a decision,move the point of freekick ten yards upfield;professional foul,send the offender for 10 minutes in a sin bin!!Surely it is not beyond the wit of the FA to do more,but do they have the resolve?
By the way Stoke managed a magnificent point at Liverpool,with some heroic defending.Brilliant lads....still 8th,ten points from safety!!!!!