Should Watford engage in the darker arts of the game or can we eradicate them altogether?
THE TRANSFER window has been closed for four days and the madness is over for another seven months before we enjoy the frantic August 31st dealings.
Pleasingly Malky Mackay was wise enough to have done his business well before than January 31st deadline, that said we don`t exactly have the money to dance to the tune of another club anyway!
The additions of Andros Townsend, Andy Weimann and Danny Drinkwater look good on paper and Weimann of course marked his full debut with a goal, so certainly encouraging signs there.
Furthermore, the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson personally rang Malky to offer him Danny Drinkwater`s services show how high a regard Malky is held in. It`s certainly nice to know we have a good strong relationship with such a big club and serial provider of hot young prospects – I can`t imagine Preston North End will be receiving any similar favours in the near future!
So, transfer window done and dusted and its back to business on the field now and it`s not taken long for the old ‘respect for referees` to blow up once more, Cesc Fabregas the instigator of the latest row regarding respect for officials.
Having allegedly questioned the ability of the match referee in the Arsenal – Everton clash in midweek in a less than articulate way Fabregas is just the latest player to demonstrate a basic lack of respect for those who govern out games.
However this spat is just the latest charge on Cesc Fabregas` gamesmanship charge sheet which seems to grow season-by-season.
It was only last week that Arsenal hosted Huddersfield Town of League One in the F.A Cup, the Arsenal skipper was alleged to have refused to give away his shirt out of arrogance, true or not it doesn`t sit well when you compare it to the Chelsea squad who each took the time to sign the match shirts of Huddersfield`s squad when they visited Stamford Bridge in the F.A Cup last year.
Essentially, you name it, he does it.
ushing, pinching, diving, card-waiving, complaining, ambushing, trying to get opposing players sent off and mouthing off in the meantime, most recently about that well-known rugby team, Ipswich Town.
That`s not to say that he`s the only guilty party, far from it in fact. And, contrary to popular belief this isn`t isolated to players from foreign shores, our own are just as guilty as those on the continent, you only have to witness Robbie Savage`s appalling display at the Vic` a couple of weeks back.
This brings me neatly back in a loop to Watford, who for as long as I have been watching them do not engage in any of these ‘gamesmanship` practices.
aid problems in the game have risen in the last five to ten years during the bulk of my watching live football and it fails to surprise me any longer how many teams come to Vicarage Road, get the in face of the referee and demonstrate ridiculous histrionics at every available opportunity.
Of course my specs are yellow-tinted, like every football supporter in the country I see my team as the poor innocent party in every situation but I do genuinely believe that we`re a very nice, very soft team.
Sure we used to boot the ball up the park and knock teams about a bit with the likes of Danny Shittu and Darius Henderson under Aidy Boothroyd but we have never waved imaginary cards. We have never gone down easily. We have never (to my knowledge) feigned injury and we don`t have players, or for that matter managers coming out in the press to bad mouth clubs, fans and players of opposing clubs. We scarcely even react to any mud slung in our direction as it is!
So what am I getting at here? I don`t want us to dabble in the dark arts, no way, I`m proud of our image but sometimes you have to feel like joining the rest, if you can`t beat ’em, join ’em afterall.
Really and truly though, there has to be a proper initiative from the F.A/Premier League/Football League, and not just a flashy launch littered with unrealistic promises and broken promises but a proper campaign to stamp these acts out. To give proper, significant power back to the referees and allow them to govern the game unchallenged and unhindered by gamesmanship.
I would personally suggest referees citing any unsavoury incidents in their match report which would be passed on to a committee who could hand out retrospective punishments (bans/fines or both) to act as deterrents for the offenders.
Of course it won`t work immediately because players have ingrained these traits into their games so heavily but after Wayne Rooney picks up a few two week fines for screaming blue murder at Howard Webb, and Cesc Fabregas gets a three match been for going down like a sack of potatoes, we might start moving in the right direction.