By Tony Attwood
Obviously we’re not happy, because Arsenal lost. It’s always a downer. But normally for each group of supporters who are down others are on the up. And I guess fans of the four teams above us in the table at the moment, and quite possibly Tottenham, Leeds and Manchester City supporters are all thinking this is going ok. But if any of us look beyond our own club, this doesn’t doesn’t look and feel like a great relief from watching the news on the pandemic.
Liverpool are asking for VAR to be reviewed, now that suddenly they are seeing the sort of VAR that most other clubs have experienced since its introduction. In the commentaries on VAR there is no mention, of course, that PGMO delayed its introduction for a year, after the rest of Europe got going with it, because they wanted to “get it right”. Now it is affecting them directly, they’ve opened their eyes and are wondering.
They are probably also wondering how Pickford remained on the pitch, and how many more tackles like that their local rivals will get away with.
Anyone noticing that Manchester United will play PSG this week will be wondering just how far the “reformers” in the Premier League are going to push their plan for moving forward into a European superleague with no relegation from it and no promotion to it.
Chelsea fans may be wondering how it is possible to spend this much money in one summer and still not quite get the defence right, as so far this season they have let in seven more than Aston Villa, five more than than West Ham, four more than Tottenham and three more than Sheffield United and Arsenal.
Gary Neville will probably still be awake after no sleep at all from having got himself in a total lather about the Premier League clubs spending £1.2bn on transfers this summer while not offering the Championship, League One and Two some better support, and while forgetting that if they did, some Championship clubs would instantly spend all of it on transfers, and still be short of cash all season.
Meanwhile Sky, and the appalling BT Sprout hopefully will be wondering how, after all this time, they can’t make a decent fist of Pay Per View football. I was pretty much out there on my own complaining about how last season I paid my £10 to watch a PPV game and simply couldn’t log on. It took around 10 emails of complaint trying to get my £10 back, and then all I was offered was a credit note that lasted for three weeks. I didn’t even bother to use it.
The Pay Per View system that is being used by the broadcasters is technically inept and broken before it began, and as far as I can see the chances of actually being able to watch a game that has a lot of interest in it, is only about 50%. Until a fans’ group sues PPV en masse they will continue to get away with it.
According to the Mail, “BT insist this new model is not designed to line their pockets. Rather they are only covering their costs and trying to help an ailing sport…. Midway through the first half, commentator Ian Darke referenced a pre-match interview we’d not been shown; other viewers didn’t have commentary at all.
“… us mugs watching Box Office were treated to the sound of silence. No wonder one Chelsea supporters’ group called on rivals to join their boycott of this latest show of ‘greed’. At a time when so many are struggling across society, this hardly felt like soothing medicine; ‘ridiculous’ and ‘atrocious’ were among the online reviews.”
The problem is that broadcasters have been getting away with it for so long, through always having a monopoly on their product, and ceaselessly supporting PGMO, they are now immune to criticism. The only thing fans who don’t like pay per view can do is not view.
And then of course Manchester City invented a new rule. If a nice player breaks a rule he should not be punished because he is nice.
And thus Sergio Aguero was not punished for grabbing assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis on the shoulder while disputing a throw in. The Guardiola character said it was ok to grab the assistant because “Sergio is the nicest person I have met in my life. Look for problems in other situations, not in this one.’”
OK, so apart from covid tests before games players should also take personality tests, and the ones who come out as nice guys can break the rules about touching officials. That sounds a bit stupid to me, but if Manchester City think it is ok, I guess it must be.