Sunday, 10 November 2013

Sober Reflections

OK, it’s the morning after (the afternoon actually but it wasn’t an early start and my French partner Suzanne, who attended yesterday, needs her cups of tea and room service). Was the choice of word I used after the game to describe Leeds over the top? Perhaps. But I’m getting sick of seeing games heavily influenced/decided by a combination of various forms of cheating and an inability on the part of the officials to deal with them. I may have felt annoyed (and disappointed) after our defeat, but how would I feel if I was a West Brom fan going home having seen what would have been a famous victory denied by a player cheating and a ref buying it (and then to have to listen to a manager try to defend the indefensible)?

I did watch the Football League show highlights to see if they would shed any light on the major incidents. Aside from strengthening my view that there penalty was a poor decision by the ref (adding to the injustice after he’d not given us one in the first half for what seemed to me to be a clear foul) they didn’t as just the goals were shown. But I did catch QPR equalising against Reading courtesy of a free kick curled into the net through the edge of a wall that had been separated by a blatant – and clearly pre-conceived and practised - shove by a QPR player.

Leeds’ players tactics involved using the poor conditions to apply pressure on a weak referee, with collective moaning and complaining over each decision given (or not given), some cynical fouls (which went unpunished by the ref in terms of cards), an effort to persuade the ref that Morrison’s challenge was dangerous (which included the obligatory rolling around in agony), a judicious use of feigned injuries to disrupt the game at times (coupled with Kenny’s time-wasting, for which he was warned at least three times before finally being yellow-carded), and then that tumble in the box. My annoyance was probably compounded by the feeling left from our previous home game, against Wigan. In that game, any time we were building up a head of steam one of their players would go to ground and prompt a stoppage to give them time to regroup.

The onus has to be on the match officials if we want to try to cut down the use of ‘professional’ tactics. When is the game going to embrace the technology available to assist the officials, who obviously (I feel) face a task that is beyond them? As things stand we have three officials on the pitch trying to make instant judgements and every Saturday/Sunday evening the pondering on TV/radio on a series of decisions they make which decide games, some obviously wrong, some questionable.

As things stand, we have a game in which almost every corner/set piece could result in two or three penalty offences plus a similar number of fouls by the attacking side, an apparent acceptance (encouraged by some pundits) that any contact in the box entitles a player to dive (and when a player opts to fall down when he doesn’t have to is diving), and a perhaps lesser offence whereby any defender in trouble facing the wrong way with a forward at his back tumbles over for the inevitable free kick (something which Jorge Costa was a past master at). I honestly don’t understand this ‘there was contact …’ argument. Why should the penalty area be any different from the rest of the pitch and if that argument is extended you have just made football a non-contact sport.

Personally I’d be in favour of additional officials on the pitch (either a ref for each half of the pitch or four linesmen), or acceptance of the use of video technology from the stands. I’d welcome retrospective action (match bans etc) where there is clear evidence of players having cheated (yes, of course it’s a grey area open to interpretation), even if this has no impact on the match result and even if it means acknowledging that the officials missed something/made mistakes. I’d also favour referees, as in rugby union, being able to signal an advantage and allow play to continue, to come back for the offence if there is no positive outcome. Perhaps, just perhaps, we would have less diving in the box if players were aware that they could stay on their feet and get an effort on goal and still get the penalty awarded if no goal results.

In criticising Leeds I’m not suggesting we are somehow holier than thou. In a previous game (Millwall I think) Sordell engineered a dive just inside the box that even us Addicks couldn’t bring ourselves to back. I’m also aware that other Addicks would support the team being more ‘professional’ (ie sneaky) sometimes. But on balance I think a side that adopts, deliberately, a cynical approach also loses something. You can’t switch the cynicism on and off and I do think it works against team spirit, character and resolve, qualities that shine through when the chips are down. I hope that’s not just wishful thinking.

As for the game, I don’t think I glossed over the fact that the result was ultimately decided by our crime when having levelled for a second time (would have given Church an extra mark in the ratings if I’d been fully aware of his contribution to our second) we gave away a soft third within a few minutes. Perhaps Hamer went out with the approach (even instructions?) to be wary of coming off his line for balls in the air, given the conditions; but he really had to claim the ball before it dropped to their guy (yes, the one who scored all the goals). It was a costly error – and from his reaction I think he knew it. So be it, every keeper makes mistakes. Let’s just work on the communication between keeper and defenders.

We move on, as I must, as there’s another bottle of red to open and a rabbit to be hacked up and cooked if Suzanne is to be kept content.


23 comments:

WE ARE LEEDS.. SIMPLE AS THAT said...

If boot would of been on the other foot would you have drivveled as much shit about the game ??
Simple answer is NO
At the end of the day A WIN IS A WIN, isn't it ??
1 loss doesn't make a season nor does a win.
Welcome to the Championship

Anonymous said...

So leeds complained a bit at times. Who cares. You lost because of dreadful defenders and hamer's inability to to make a single save. The penalty clearly wasn't a dive but the decision is debatable. Even if leeds did use "cynicism", charlton deserve a fine or even points deduction for their awful pitch. Week in week out its always dodgy that causes injuries, mistakes and would not help the referee. So really charlton deserved it. It was barely raining throughout the day and based on how bad the pitch was on Saturday I would expect at least 10 games to be postponed because of it. The home support is pathetic where as our away support was exceptional

Anonymous said...

As the previous comment says the club that deserves the most criticism is Charlton. The pitch was an absolute joke. While amateur games took place across London Charlton almost had to call off a match when it hadn't been raining that much. Saw it last time we played you & it was bad then. To be honest the club should be fined for having a pitch of such poor standard.

Anonymous said...

Football is a cruel mistress.

Blackheath Addicted said...

Blimey, something half-reasonable to reply to. We clearly do have a problem with the pitch, when there is persistent rain (and there had been for hours). It took a battering last season when snow/ice was cleared off for a home game (after a youth cup match resulted in it getting frozen).

I'm no expert and obviously we do have experts in charge of the pitch. Would be good to have the club come out with more information on what isn't working and/or needs to be done (money?.

Anonymous said...

Mate, you are so one eyed it's tragic. Both penalty calls were 50-50, that tackle by Morrison was a horror lunge, lucky to only be booked.

Welcome to the Championship, sometimes you get a rub of the green, sometimes not. Tends to balance out over the season

Anonymous said...

you are pathetic mate, moaning about refereeing decisions and the opposition being cynical etc, makes you one pathetic pratt. Me thinks the real reason you are so scathing is the fact that for some idiotic reason, you hate leeds united, just like so many others across the country, well, on behalf of the massive support that our club boasts.....thank you, because its dickheads like you that make us as strong as we are, you and your pathetic support can only dream about achieving what our club has over the years, so get over yourself, you lost fair and square, hold your hands up and admit it.....go on.....thought not, typical southern cockney softie.

Anonymous said...

Yep, well put by the supporters of the "Champions of Europe". Sorry same can't be said about your singing as I couldn't understand a word. Was it English?

The White Lizard said...

Fair dos. I thought your comments yesterday were over the top, but this makes more sense. To be fair to us, our side yesterday was not representative of the way we've played this season. Most Leeds fans would give Pugh & Brown away to get them off the wage bill, & Brown is the essence of cynicism. What few creative players we do have (McCormack aside) were missing through injury. Mind you I go back to the Revie era & before & you don't know the meaning of cynical if you didn't watch Leeds in those days.

Anonymous said...

The reason why the pitch is bad is because when it was snowing really bad last season, charlton asked the fans to help and they dug up the snow too vigorously which messed up the pitch. Still the pitch is a disgrace

Anonymous said...

Horses for courses i'm afraid. There isn't a single team that plays by the rules for 90 minutes. Whether it's shirt tugging, diving, time wasting or whatever, all teams do it. Defeat hurts, of course it does. But you have to move on cos at some point your team will be guilty of bending the rules.

Anonymous said...

Is hither green still a shit hole ? Lived there fr 6months,anyway thought Leeds were great yesterday to be fair a complete away performance apart frm charltons really really soft second goal,i like Powell and i like Charlton much better then them fuck wits millwall good luck fr rhe rest of the season !!

Anonymous said...

Well BA your two articles certainly showed us how Leeds fans think. I've never visited a forum for another football team - don't care what they think. But you had the cheek to say something negative about their team so en masse they try and shout you down for your views.

We lose a lot of home games, but Charlton blogs don't constantly refer to the ref or the cynicism of the away team. The reason all the blogs refer to both is down to the extremity of both.

The ref made several key decisions in Leeds favour. Not just one mistake but several.

No one has come to the Valley and started to waste time after 20 minutes since the lesser teams of League 1 a few seasons ago - the likes of Walsall and Oldham, who I wouldn't blame at all. I think we were a bit shocked the Champions of Europe would do it.

Nothing you've said was over the top -its what we all thought.

I couldn't understand why everyone hated Leeds until yesterday.

Pembury Addick

Anonymous said...

I saw loads of football fans in white shirts at London Bridge station showing off their "The Ref Fixed it for us" badges.

Anonymous said...

Will you be moaning as much when Doncaster have to go and replay a game they were winning 3-1 and will probably lose now that you have picked up a bit of form? Probably not, so accept defeat and sort that pitch out or go squat at Palace where they actually have a pitch worth playing on.

Blackheath Addicted said...

PA (and others) thanks for that. I've let the comments speak for themselves (including the odd reasonable one). Like you, I'm amazed that they can be bothered what the supporter of another team might say about the game, their team. This idea that everyone hates them! Just laughable and indicative of a serious inferiority complex.

Anonymous said...

boo hoo charlton.boo hoo

Anonymous said...

Well done BA for leaving the funny and sad comments from the Leeds fans on here. We know you always give credit to an away team where credit is due and cynical Leeds didn't deserve any. We also know that without any investment for two years, we still have a poor team by Championship standards, but we still had 64% of the possession on Saturday. As Chris Powell said, the only difference was McCormack. The feigned injuries and timewasting just showed what a poor team Leeds are without him.

sm said...

"At the end of the day A WIN IS A WIN, isn't it ??"

Good to see the spirit of Don Revie lives on.

Anyone who thinks that the foul count in that game should have only been 13-12 to Leeds really needs to read the rules and get their eyesight checked.

Of course Leeds fans never ever complain when decisions go against their team do they?

sm said...

I might also take comments more seriously from fans who understand the difference between silence and applause.

Anonymous said...

Leeds fans are likely coming here from Newsnow, where the post is on the Leeds page, and is for some reason in the Top Stories. It's not like we sit around waiting for Charlton Athletic news to turn up.

Charlton were a bit unlucky to get a penalty turned down, and for Leeds to have one awarded. Those are the breaks, though. I don't think the Leeds award was exactly outrageous.

Charlton also had the lion's share of possession and did look a good footballing side, to the extent that it mattered on the pitch. Complaining about Leeds knocking 4 past them, though, is just silly. If you want to blame anyone, blame your groundsman. Leeds' weakness is lack of pace, especially down the flanks (where both first choice wing backs were injured for this game, and even at the best of times the first choices are vulnerable to better wingers), and Kenny is an excellent shot stopper who is susceptible to crosses and set pieces. On this ground, that was all irrelevant. McCormack is a highly skilled player who lacks pace, but on this ground it didn't matter, he must have thought all his Christmases had come at once. Equally, Church's play leading up to the Jackson goal wouldn't have been possible on a normally paced pitch. Finally, Charlton stopped playing at 2 all.

I remember when we used to play Charlton, Curbishley always used to come out with some rubbish when we won, but I'd put it down to him being a bit of a prat. I like Powell, and his comments on the game have been pretty reasonable, factoring in that he's a Charlton man. I hope for your sake he's not harping on like this behind the scenes because if you don't face facts when you lose you're going to keep on losing (see Neil Warnock's tenure at Leeds for a depressing example).

Blackheath Addicted said...

Fair comment. I don't know how/where/why any posts get picked up (I only channel posts onto Forever Charlton). We were all (ie Addicks) disappointed with the outcome as we've been turning things around after a bad start (and a dire performance against Millwall), so to lose at home again only turns the focus back on our poor home record.

We're missing our main forward and two defenders; playing with one up front at home did put the emphasis on us not going behind. Having levelled twice you'd have thought we would have had a fair shout to go on and win, but letting in the poor (from our perspective) third was a sickener.

I don't think Powell and the players will dwell on excuses (that's the prerogative of miserable gits like me), just look at trying to correct the errors (and having not let one in for over seven hours four was a shock to the system).

Anonymous said...

Grew up in Blackheath.

Never understood Charlton's passionless support.

Shocking pitch not fit for professional sport.

Championship now is so much about money and as such Charlton will struggle to survive at this level.