November 2nd 2016
The Lack Of Discipline At The Top Creates Bigger Issues

Discipline was at the forefront of the football news last weekend, as yet again high profile managers couldn’t behave themselves.

We had the unedifying spectacle of Jose Mourinho being unable to control his temper– yet again – and being sent to the Directors Box via a spot in the stands (pictured) after confronting Mark Clattenburg in the tunnel at half time, while the week before Sunderland boss David Moyes was in particularly cranky mood when he addressed the BBC’s reporter after his side lost in the last minute to West Ham.

“The goal was offside, is that what you want me to say?” he asked before proceeding to say it – and more – just minutes after confronting the officials as they came off the pitch after the game. It mattered not that the goal wasn’t offside (as proved by the TV pictures) the seed was sown: the ref cost us the game.

The common denominator in both of these instances is that both men are under immense pressure. Moyes is said to be facing the sack if his side lose to Bournemouth this weekend, while Jose has the most expensive player in the world but less points than his predecessor had at the same time last season.

That’s the way it goes it seems. Manager under pressure = lengthy tirade against the match officials.

It’s part of the endemic disrespect of the referees that the FA allows despite all its fine words and supposed “Respect” programme. You can have as many handshakes as you like before a match, but it makes no difference if you are going to allow your officials to be disrespected on an almost daily basis.

This attitude permeates its way through to the fans too. Listen to any phone in on a Saturday night and I’ll wager with you right now the phrase “I’ve never seen such a bad referee” will be used. Is it any wonder that refs are leaving the game in droves?

Is it much of a stretch to suggest this lack of respect creates the type of atmosphere that saw two players in Hereford banned “indefinitely” for punching a referee and leaving him with cuts and bruises?

The word “indefinitely” is a sign of weakness in itself, surely? Why not lifetime? Why are people like this allowed to perhaps play in leagues at some future date? What does that say to the poor, injured ref and what if he has to face his attackers in a game again?

It might be a bit of a laugh when we see Jose moving a fan out of their seat, but it’s a different matter when a ref is in A and E in Hereford – and a lack of discipline is the root cause of both problems. Everyone at the top must take responsibility.

Andy Thorley

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