Parklife: Amateur football column

It's all about opinions '“ that's the beauty of football '“ and different opinions add to the entertainment value of the game, both on TV '“ and the local park.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 29th February 2016, 2:31 pm
Updated Monday, 29th February 2016, 2:36 pm
The match officials regularly 'get it in the neck'
The match officials regularly 'get it in the neck'

Those opinions are no less valid or important, whether they are expressed to several million viewers, or at the other extreme to the one other spectator walking his dog.

Often the object of the opinion makers is the referee. An emotive subject. One that it is tempting to avoid.

The one person at a game for whom the outcome is irrelevant gets all the stick from the vested interests of players and spectators.

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It is amazing that anyone would want the job.

Last Saturday, spectators witnessed the constant haranguing of a referee by a club official.

Clearly it would not be correct to name the club, but this chap had it in for the referee from the word go.

Comments about this chap from the 40 or so spectators even indicated that he was probably blaming the referee for the opposition winning the toss.

So vitriolic were this chap’s comments that people moved away in embarrassment, including his fellow supporters.

Every single decision made in favour of the opponents was greeted with a tirade of abuse.

The long-suffering referee had his parentage questioned, he was invited to pop along to the local opticians, and you can imagine the reaction when the team went a goal down.

There were some who suggested that this chap may have done some refereeing in the past – after all, he had plenty to say.

He had actually opened up the referee’s changing room, and had even been seen wandering in to the ref with a cup of tea on his arrival.

As his conduct worsened, he was asked by a visiting spectator if he HAD ever been a referee.

The answer was, as expected, that no, he had not.

What makes these folk behave this way? What made him think that he had the right to rant, rave, and abuse?

Have an opinion, yes, but sometimes it is best to keep that opinion to oneself. The home manager was seen apologising to the referee after the game, begging the man in the middle not to report this club official.

The referee – who actually was very good, consistent throughout the game, and extremely fair – will hopefully have grasped the nettle and filed the necessary report.

A couple of years ago the FA stated that “without a referee there is no game”.

Some clubs would do well to remember that indisputable fact.