We want to just say a huge thank you to all the fans who travelled to Chelsea at the weekend.I was very honoured to represent the football club as its chairman and to see the travelling support having such a great day out was the icing on the cake.
It was a real shame we could not get a result, but to be honest when I saw the Chelsea teamsheet the fear of a heavy defeat preyed on my mind. Fortunately our team did us proud and we can look back on that match with dignity and huge amount of optimism for the remainder of the season.
The first half of the match was very difficult and we did struggle at times, but understandable under the circumstances and the class of the opponent coupled with too much respect for them in that 45 minutes made the task even more difficult.
The second half was a lot better and we showed a huge amount of commitment and application, and with a bit of luck we probably deserved something from the game, but that is the FA Cup.
Controversy always surrounds our game but is it not time that the FA embraced technology?
Cricket, Tennis, Rugby League, Rugby Union, NFL and many other sports embrace technology now, yet it has taken us years to get goal line technology. What is it going to take for the FA to change the game and ensure that decisions made on the field, by referees, are the correct ones?
The 4th official is wasted at the moment, keeping managers in their little box, helping with substitutions, parting angry managers when things get tough. Let us think how these qualified 4th officials can help the referee on crucial game changing decisions, ones which other sports have embraced and even made their games more exciting?
For example: Time keeping.
Why does the referee have to constantly look at his watch during the game? Time wasting, ball out of play, injuries etc. This can be done by the fourth official and the grounds should have a clock which could be stopped and started as in both codes of rugby. The fans, managers and players will know exactly when the match finishes. The referee can concentrate on the game from minute 1 to 90 and probably improve his job greatly.
The key part of a football match is scoring goals, so the expansion of goal line technology is essential and welcomed, but there are other key decisions which can now be helped by TV replays.
For the time it takes to set up for a penalty the fourth official could look at several replays and confirm to the referee it was a good decision or a decision that he can quiet clearly see is incorrect and ask the referee to reverse it. This happens all the time in cricket now, a game that we could never imagine technology being used so greatly in, because of its leadership, but they have embraced it and it works. They can track a ball through the air and decide where it will land, turn or eventually hit the stumps, why can this not be used for offside decisions? I am not saying for every decision, but ones that involve the ball hitting the back of the net, they should.
We all go home after these things happen and just say, well that is football, that referee was poor, that decision killed us and all the what ifs involved in the game, football is like that!
I do not agree, the money now involved in the game is huge and the referee should use all the technology available to get these decisions correct.
Football is way behind and the FA must start to improve the game, we all have opinions and I understand that, but if a player is tripped, he is tripped! If a player dives he dives! If a goal is scored, it is either a goal or not a goal. We all invest our money, both from the fans and from the owners of the football clubs knowing these decisions will be correct and not reliant on one man who is running around the pitch, watching multiple actions and making split decisions on them without help, which is readily and honestly available.
They are my thoughts anyway, for what it is worth and it does breed a huge amount of debate, but two decisions over the weekend in two matches, one after the other had an impact on both games and their outcome.
Our penalty not given, when clearly a trip, and Spurs' late penalty for a handball that goes against the referees edict and reading of the offence within the game.
Could we have gone on and got something out of the game? Should Spurs have a replay? I think, with the right decisions made, you feel happier with the outcomes of the matches and as a team you deserve to have a just result.
Hopefully that triggers a bit of debate and I hope we can talk about this and other subjects at the Fans Forum on the 21st January, 7pm at GP.
You do not have to be a season ticket holder, shareholder or member to attend, it is open to all fans and we will endeavour to answer your questions as openly as we can, so please use this opportunity to talk to us and we can then make this a regular event.
Up the Iron!
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