Danny Peacock February 18, 2020

I’ve not written as much as usual on here… Probably because I’ve not watched as many games as I used to this year. I’m simply fed up with modern elite football. I can no longer watch the game I love with any enjoyment.

In 2020 alone we’ve had VAR continuing to ruin football matches at the top. Every game is a talking point for the wrong reasons. Perfectly good goals being ruled out for a finger nail or hair braid offside. We’ve had the mighty Liverpool refusing to play against little old Shrewsbury Town because they are too tired and they ‘deserve’ a holiday. Manchester City & UEFA going toe to toe prepared to throw their money around in court because one says the other has spent too much money on themselves. Money is everything in the game these days.. The Premier League is all about the money and every decision made has an element of ‘money’ involved which is why nobody cares (outside of Merseyside) that Liverpool will win it for the first time ever.. Instead they are more interested in who stays in it… who gets fourth and that lucrative Champions League ‘money’ slot.

Today I read that Barcelona have requested to La Liga that they need an ‘emergency’ striker because they only have Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezman and Ansu Fati fit right now…If that weren’t ludicrous enough they have now triggered a release clause on Leganes striker Martin Braithwaite which means the club will have to cancel his contract and let the player go allowing him to sign for la blaugrana although they are not allowed to replace him with anyone else new themselves?

A complete mockery of the law and system that is put in place to stop clubs signing players at will.. It seems the ‘big’ get what they want whilst the rest just have to lump it and get on with it.

We are all just slaves to the game whilst the elite prosper financially because we are stupid enough to continue buying into it. No doubt despite my rant even I’ll bang on the Champions League match tonight?

In fact I sat down last night to watch the latest Premier League round of fixtures… A round of fixtures that started eleven days ago and that will (hopefully) finally end tomorrow night. Stretched out because the Premier League needed a rest.. So instead of giving the league a rest… They expanded it out over a couple of weeks instead? God knows why? It has bloody dragged though.

No more are 3pm kick offs, instead we get to decide whether it’s EastEnders, Love Island or Chelsea v Manchester United on a Monday night??? You might laugh, but I guarantee the viewing figures were higher for Soaps and Reality TV last night then they were for football in the UK… That might be wrong itself? But when you hear the Premier League’s decision to play the game at that time you’ll understand yes… It’s all about the money!!!

So on with the show.. United were brilliant, the best I’ve seen from Eric Bailly, Wan Bisakka throwing everything on the line, I don’t buy into Maguire being sent off but I’ve always liked a good kick in the guts myself. Martial tucked home a lovely header before Zouma did the same… But then my first rage of the evening… Fred pushed Azpilicueta who pushed Brandon Williams (none of it having anything to do with the goal) and Chelsea’s equaliser was ruled out by you’ve guessed it… VAR.

United went up the other end with a perfect routine corner themselves… No questions that Harry Maguires header wasn’t 100% legit. Not a finger on a shoulder in sight.. Just distant marking and uninterrupted running by Maguire… Has defending really came to this?

It gave the away side a deserved 2-0 lead but when substitute Giroud brilliantly executed a diving header  into the back of the United net it set up for a tense last ten minutes in what was already an action packed game. The goal, great for the confidence of Giroud who in my opinion has been unfairly treated by his Manager Frank Lampard because he is better than unused bench fodder… You guessed it was also ruled out by VAR. This time for his big toe being closer to the opposition goal-line than the second to last defender when the ball was played forward to him. As if we didn’t know!!

I turned off immediately after that. I pay, yes pay to watch football to see good football being played and to more importantly see goals. VAR is robbing good football of goals and last night VAR robbed my money of good football and of a good goal, not for the first time this season, I felt robbed by VAR.

£120+ a month and I don’t even get to watch all the football matches I want to see because money dictates them being on channels so obscure that I don’t even know how to subscribe to them… I’m seriously considering terminating my SKY subscription and I’m seriously thinking watching football at a lower level where money and video technology does not dictate so much?

For example the Championship still (thankfully) has not got VAR… West Brom played Forest on Saturday in a top of the table clash that had ‘everything’ but the interruption of VAR… Goals, tackles, fouls, controversy, bad defending, bad refereeing, terrible refereeing, the referees a wanker… Oh how I’ve missed the Ref getting ‘all’ the blame when things go wrong.

I’ve seen Saturday’s match official Kevin Stroud in internet memes undercovered by Scooby Doo as Don Goodman, I’ve seen his Wikipedia page amended to West Brom coach. It’s horrific.. But we all blame Stroud, including ex-Ref Keith Hackett who’s twitter outburst was hilarious… But with VAR Stroud becomes irrelevant… He gets no attention… He gets away with it… Instead we blame technology…

But it’s not all about blame… West Brom v Forest was such a good game because it didn’t have technology.. It had human error and it was a free for all because no cameras were analysing every millimetre of the body.

Jake Livermore should have been sent off for a disgusting foul, if he had been West Brom wouldn’t have scored a first soon after which meant that Forest didn’t have to go forward to cause enough chaos for Kyle Bartley to score an own goal either. As Livermore wouldn’t have been on the pitch under VAR technology he wouldn’t have provided the cross for Tobias Figueiredo to put through his own net, but up the other end Joe Lolley would have got a penalty when Kyle Bartley hand balled…

So 1-0 to Forest with a few minutes to go… Matt Cash wouldn’t have been up in the box searching for an equaliser so we wouldn’t have seen that fabulous goal he did score although in the dying seconds West Brom wouldn’t of had the goal they scored ruled out either so the game would have ended 1-1 (instead of 2-2) with the points shared regardless…. So all VAR would have done was unbalance the game, rob us of two goals and kill the majority of excitement that surrounded the game through human error!

And then in the end upon reflection we wonder… Does any of the above even matter at all?

Football is a sport, loved by billions, played by all, but after all it is a sport.. We do it because we love it, not because we want it to make us rich (unless you’re Paul Pogba).

As far as Nottingham Forest go, as a fan I am half thinking would I rather see them playing blood and guts football in the Championship next season? Down in the lower leagues, real football where men can be men and where heart and passion dictates over money? Or would I want them joining the elitist Premier League brand of franchise soccer played to crowds like Norwich City where they all want a photo of Jurgen Klopp?

Imagining a goalless stalemate at Bournemouth in front of 9,000 fans as a last minute goal is ruled out because the bottom of Lewis Grabban’s beard is offside? I would much rather be beating Derby at a packed Pride Park or Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough through a dodgy penalty we didn’t deserve.. Because that is football to me… Win some lose some deserved or not, 46 game seasons Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday no breaks, no holidays, no overpaid German coaches dictating to the FA what they should or should not do.. No Multi billion pound football clubs paying for players out of their off shore bank accounts… No videos overruling the likes of Kevin Stroud… No VAR, no goals disallowed five minutes after them being scored, no penalties awarded after the games gone on another half hour… Just football…. 45 minutes each way, eleven v eleven and three officials with the odd game screened on the TV unless you are able to attend.

Some games great, a few might be good, many would be crap no doubt, you’ll take a point you don’t deserve and get beat when you should of had all three, but at least we wouldn’t be disguising 150 years of the sport into something it’s not! Robot Football with it’s money and video technology is DEAD and the Premier League can go do one for me… Because I want to watch proper football instead!

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