What would Fergie have done? Changed the kit.

Published: Monday, 15 August 2022

How many times have you heard the question being asked this weekend? I’d like to claim credit for the answer, but I can’t. It was a mate of mine - a United fan - who gave it to me. Of course Fergie would’ve changed the kit at half-time.

Why? Because it would’ve made a difference? No. Simply because we’d all have been talking about what he’d done rather than what we’d seen.

What we saw was as bad as it gets. I’ve nothing more to say on the matter. My last blog last covered everything And explained the reasons.

Oh. One thing I do want to add is this. Is David de Gea a bad keeper because the first one rolled in? Not at all. He‘s still world class - and United’s only hope of delivering a platform from which ten Months might be able to deliver. Right. That’s it.

Well done Forest. We also predicted that the City Ground would perhaps be the reason that they stay up. It was great to see them back in the PL on the 30th anniversary of the first ever televised match in the competition. Having said that - they’ll never get another afternoon when literally everything goes their way.

I believe the West Ham goal should’ve stood - but I can also see why it didn’t. What was Antonio supposed to do? It was nothing more than traffic. Poor decision by VAR in my opinion.

Scott McKenna should’ve been sent off. That was a denial and he knew exactly what he was doing. It doesn’t matter that the keeper was behind him. The law is very straightforward on this. If a player ‘denies a goal scoring opportunity - or a goal’ it’s red. I’ve checked this with two former FIFA refs.

Then West Ham hand the ball to Rice. As they did I found myself shouting ‘noooooo….’ Why give the ball to a player who has publicly stated that he’s not good at pens and does’t like taking them?  I’m really surprised Moyes made that call. I’ll bet Rice doesn’t take another one for them.

Forest rode their luck as the bar was struck twice and another was kicked off the line - and it was a good match to watch. Very enjoyable.

Now. Mike Dean. When he hung up his whistle he told us he’d always tried to be an entertainer. I made the point that no ref should take charge of a game with that attitude. It’s not for the ref to entertain. He’s there to apply the laws fairly. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Well it seems that hapless Mike has taken this attitude into the VAR bunker. His decision-making at The Bridge would’ve had us all laughing if it wasn’t so serious. Not that Antony Taylor was much better on the field.

The challenge on Havertz? Foul. A clear a foul as you’ll ever see. It was from behind, reckless and born of frustration after Bentencur had lost out in a challenge seconds earlier. Would we be discussing this had Taylor given the free-kick? No.

Richarlison is clearly off-side as Hojbjerg scores. Of course he’s affecting the keepers line of vision. He’s active for goodness sake. No goal.

Before Kane scores the second there’s an act of violent conduct as Romero pulls Cucerella to the ground by grabbing his hair. Since when was this acceptable on a football field? It’s clear. It’s obvious. It’s violent conduct so VAR can intervene. It’s a red card. The outcome should’ve been free kick to Chelsea because the ball was in play - and Romero has got to go off. For an incident of that kind - had the corner not been taken - Taylor should stopped it from being taken - sent Romero off - and then started again with the corner.  Either way - Romero has to go off.

It’s only in the PL that these things happen. No wonder we’re the only European country without a VAR representative at the WC.

Sept 18, 2018 Ronaldo is sent off after 29 mins of his CL debut for Juventus. His offence? Pulling the hair of Jeison Murillo. I rest my case.

I can see why Tuchel and his Chelsea players don’t want to see much of Taylor going forward. It’ll be interesting to see how Dean explains all this away. ‘Entertainment’ I guess? Except it’s not funny Mike. These aren’t things that require VAR coaching. They’re matters of law.

We know Everton have got huge problems, but it was interesting to see Gerrard restore Tyrone Mings to his defence. He had to. Villa had to win that game. Mings 1 Gerrard 0. What happens next will be interesting.

What a good game Nick Pope had for Newcastle. Eddie Howe obviously agrees with me that Martin Dubravka isn’t good enough. Pope is. Either he will be in goal for England’s WC opener or Ramsdale will. Pickford won’t.

And so the 30th anniversary of that first televised match at Forest passed. 30 years? Incredible isn’t it? It’s been a privilege to have been part of it - and still be a part of it. Here’s to the next 30. 🍾 👍🏼😂.