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Spitting. It's disgusting. It's also dangerous - dangerous because it is unhygienic.

For those of us of a certain generation we'll never forget Italia 90 - Voller v Rijkaard. All these years later I still can't look at Rijkaard without those images coming back to me. Horrible.

'Spitting is universally recognised as perhaps the ultimate form of degradation', said consultant psychologist Dr Aric Sigman when taking part in a documentary about that incident and tournament.

My mate Andy Gray has often said that had he ever been spat on during his career he would've chinned the offender and walked - not waiting to see the ref's red card!

I'm writing having had a short exchange with 'Braveheart'

Colin Hendry, on Twitter, whose views echoed Andy's! 

I'm making no judgements myself, simply posing questions. Are here are a few

1. Seven games for spitting? Is it a worse offence than using racist language? JT got 4 games after being convicted of that charge.

2. Worse than Keane's violent lunge on Alf-Inge Haaland, which he later admitted in his book was designed to cause maximum injury? As we all know, he succeeded.

3. Worse than FIgueroa's lunge on Stephen Ireland, which in my view, was retaliation for a shocker by Ireland himself 20 minutes earlier? Steve Bruce was right about that.

4. Worse than 'rolling' a ball with intent to break a leg?

5. Worse than what John Fashanu did to Gary Mabbutt?

There are numerous examples of 'serious foul' play I could mention. Graeme Souness has a few in his locker. Some, he will tell you were 'honest', others not. 'Honest'? I've had this argument with him many times. So it's ok to snap somebody in two if it's done 'honestly'? In other words - 'he saw me coming'. Or, 'I was protecting myself'. Or, 'it's a man's game'. Nonsense. Anyway, it's not anymore.

What I do believe is that we need to re-visit the crime charge sheets for a modern day assessment of what punishments are appropriate for which on the field crimes. It's actually possible to get lengthier bans for social media crimes these days than it is what happens on the pitch. Ashley Barnes take note!

Mark Palios, the former Chief Exec of the FA, was trying to bring about change when he was in charge of that monolithic organisation. Sadly he didn't get time to achieve his aims.

 

Perhaps Greg Dyke could make better use of his time before his tenure runs out in 18 months?  We need leadership on this subject and fast. 

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Be careful what you wish for. How many times did you hear me say that on talkSPORT?

How many times have you read it in these blogs? Well here we go again! 

When Manchester City sacked Robbie Mancini they tossed away the chance of a decade of domestic and European domination. I said it at the time, I'm repeating it again, and I'm right. (Mmmmm. I do sound a bit like Tim Sherwood don't I? I'll get round to him!)

To be a winner you have to be ruthless. Fergie was. Mourinho is. Mancini is. Guardiola is. And there are others. Not many, but City had one of the best.

I've been hammered for standing by Mancini. Are the same people that fired all that vitriol in my direction now beginning to wonder if I was right though?

Manuel Pellegrini is a nice guy. I have nothing against him. At their best his team can be sublime. I still believe they've got enough to go to Barcelona and do a job, but have they got the stomach for it? Do they want to hurt? Can they live 'on the edge' in order to make themselves serial winners? No. Not in my opinion.

The reason Wigan won the FA Cup Final v City is because City's players had 'downed tools'. It's a common football phrase. They wanted Mancini out. They didn't share his ambition or drive. They wanted to live in 'comfort'. Remember Edin Dzeko revealing he'd been 'one of a number of players' who'd consistently telephoning the owners trying to persuade them to get rid of the Italian? Tells tou s lot about Dzeko. I'd have fired him - and the others - and made it very plain who the boss at the training ground was.

Mancini had a habit of upsetting people behind the scenes as well. They too set traps to get him out. And they know who they are.

What followed? A title because they could. And they still SHOULD be good enough to deliver again. But I don't think they will. 

Have they done any better in Europe? No. Last season Pellegrini didn't know that one more goal in that stunning win in Munich would've seen them top the group. Who knows what might have happened then? It was a scandalous misjudgement.

This season is threatening to be no better. City's players have got their slippers on again. 

They are now an ageing squad and major surgery is required - two years too late. 

'We want to take the club in a different direction' we were told when they sacked Mancini - in the same season remember that Fergie left. For the first time in 28 years City would've had the senior man in Manchester at the helm. 

Oh, and by the way, if I told you who Mancini and his assistant David Platt had lined up to bring in that summer it would blow your mind. Be careful what you wish for.....

At Everton I sniff many of the same issues. Last season I argued that Martinez had not made 'significant' progress at Everton. Yes, he softened them and yes, they passed the ball a lot more. But to what end?

This weekend Martinez announced that coaches who don't play as his team's do are 'parasites' his full statement was; 'Too many times you see a team that goes for being a parasite. They give you the ball, defend and be destructive.

That system doesn't develop players. It's the opposite - every two years they burn players. They need new players and they need new players to do things players don't enjoy doing'.

What arrogant nonsense. Who decides what's the best way to play? I'm told Arsenal and Everton do things the 'right' way. Really? Says who? The 90 minutes the pair of them served up this weekend would kill the game if we had to watch it everywhere and every week. 

Everton have won one of their last 11 Lge games. One. I don't see players 'enjoying' themselves. I see a team in desperate need of a return to the days when Everton were solid and knew how to dig out results. I believe the majority of fans going to Goodison now agree with me. Roberto Martinez has to change or be changed. 

I do wish Tim Sherwood all the luck in the world at Villa. He's going to need it. Tim is never short of an opinion (how liberating I found it after leaving Sky and being encouraged to have one!) but he's got to be able to back them up.

What's the stat he's employed about his time at Spurs? His team forced more corners than anybody else's? Something like that! 

Look. He took over at a club he knew and knew very well. He'd been waiting for the chance. He knew the players inside out. Some owed him and performed. Others didn't, but they are now for Pochettino strangely enough. 

It's different at Villa. It's a huge club and he's starting from scratch - with little or no time. 'Experience' he tells us is an overrated commodity. 'It's not the Krypton factor, staying up'. And this weekend 'we only need six more wins'. Six? Villa have only won five all season.

Trust me - having watched Gordon Strachan go through a relegation battle at Coventry seven times let me tell you experience of that situation is vital. Absolutely vital. Tim may well end up wishing he'd been more careful with some of the things he's said. But I do wish him well. I like him and Villa are a terrific club.

One last thing on this subject  I saw a banner at Newcastle that read 'Lerner out'. I saw Doug Ellis at Villa Park the previous weekend. I wonder what he was thinking. I'm sure he remembers all the Villa fans that made his life hell. Be careful what you wish for....... 

I haven't mentioned refereeing yet. Actually, I'm not going to. But how about this? For better or worse we accept what happens on the pitch and get on with it? Does that work? No appeals for red cards. We're at odds with the rest of the world with our appeals system. It's nonsense. Other than for an a obvious case of mistaken identity - no appeals. 

That wouldn't help Wes Brown incidentally. Roger East has stated he knew what he was doing in sending Brown off. That it was Brown that committed the foul. Sunderland will appeal because an 'obvious error' was made. They can under the present system, but let's scrap it. That would end a lot of pointless debates.

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I looked at the P Lge fixtures on Friday night and heard myself saying 'not a lot of games that leap out at you there Andy? One or two that are important to the clubs involved, but not much to get excited about'. We were hosting Keys&Gray on BeIN Sports. 

Fool. Me - not him! After watching the best league in the world these past 23 years I should've known better! 

I was right from the point of view that there were no 'stand out' Grand Slam games, but what we watched had us on the edge of our seats again! But why? 

Well, for a number of different reasons. Let's concentrate on the positives first. Liverpool were terrific at Southampton. Brendan Rodgers has got his team playing again and credit to him for that. 

Take nothing away from Swansea for another very mature performance in beating Manchester United. 

Stoke were resilient at Villa. Leicester solid and deserving of more at Everton. City were outstanding as they undressed Newcastle (I predicted they'd see off Barca when the C Lge draw was made and I'm sticking with it!). Arsenal had a fright but hung on at Palace. 

Four matches had a decisive goal in the 88th minute onwards. By the way, two weekends earlier half the 10 P Lge games had a decisive goal in the 86th minute or later. Great edge of the seat stuff. 

Now, here we go! Sunderland v WBA was awful. On a point of law Mike Jones got it wrong when he booked Joleon Lescott. Either that was a denial of a goal scoring opportunity or not. It should've been red or nothing. 

Ron Vlaar went at Villa for a second yellow. On a point of law either that was a denial or not. Red or nothing. Vlaar is a lucky boy. It's a one game ban now and not three as it should've been.

At Southampton Kevin Friend had a torrid afternoon. Saints should've had a pen, so should Liverpool, and Simon Mignolet should've gone off. The fact that play was waved on means Friend will not be admonished for a 'mistake'. Because no decision was made no mistake was made. I know, mad, but it's how they massage the numbers.

But Friend's afternoon was nothing compared to the shocker that Martin Atkinson had. Absolute shocker. Mourinho was right 30, 33, 43 and 69. Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong Martin. And this is supposed to be our top ref. 

When Mark Halsey failed to send Callum McManaman off at Wigan (remember?) he was demoted from the P Lge list for six weeks. If the same rules are to apply to Atkinson he shouldn't ref again for the rest of the season. 

But they won't be. Mike Riley (head of refs) wants Atkinson to go to the Euro's and not Mark Clattenburg, who UEFA believe is better. I believe UEFA are right.

So we have the farce that ensued after the game at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho's 'lottery-number' game! But that's not his fault. If he tellsus what he really thinks he gets fined. What a joke. I want to know what he thinks and so do 40, 000 paying customers who went to the game. But never mind us, the integrity of the only serial offender on the pitch Saturday has to be defended so Mourinho is gagged. Integrity? Atkinson blew it out of the water himself. 

So Mourinho turns up Sunday morning on Sky Sports. My first question was 'what is a highly paid BT ambassador doing on Sky?' A quick call or two later and I had the answer.

It was all pre arranged. It was a decision made at the 'highest' levels of the broadcaster and Chelsea as they tried to clear the air after recent problems between the two, started by something Jamie Redknapp said I'm told. I don't know for sure because I'm busy doing my own job when he's on air.

I can believe the suggestion though. I lost count of the times I had to calm him during the many occasions I worked with him. There's a guy at Arsenal can thank his lucky stars there was glass between him and Redknapp the night of the 4-4 v Spurs at the Emirates. Jamie lost the plot completely. He wanted to fight him. It was the last time we let him work on a game that one of his Dad's teams was playing in. He would often get too close to individuals he liked, or not, and couldn't offer objective opinions. 

Another of Mourinho's complaints is the 'allegations' bandied about by the same broadcaster. He's right.

And he's right about the 'judge and jury' element of Sky Sports News.

Look. It's a terrific service. Unique. But there is a knee-jerk element to it. Club loyalties of those working on it often cloud editorial judgement. I said it when I worked at Sky so this is nothing new to some.

Diego Costa was never going to get a fair hearing after his 'alleged' stamp was played out every 10 minutes in 'super slow mo' on the channel. The more you saw it the worse it looked. In the end, the inevitable followed - a charge and a ban. Is Barnes' moment of madness receiving the same treatment? Probably not. 

I'm not one for re-refereeing on a Monday. In fact, I hate it, but it's the new world it seems. If we accept that, then every contentious decision should be looked at every Monday morning - not just those randomly chosen, often because of club loyalty. 

Not for a minute do I think there's a 'campaign' to stop Chelsea winning the title. But I do believe Mourinho is right when he argues his team have been victims of more bad refereeing decisions this season than other. And it's many many more. 

Is there a wider problem? Yes. Is there a solution? Yes. Mike Riley could help. Stand aside Mike and let Howard Webb run the PGMOL. I've argued this before. I'm not going into it again! 

In the meantime - Jose will have to continue to play the lottery. Literally.