What an almighty VAR-ce.

Published: Monday, 05 September 2022

Here’s what I believe Mike Riley has done to raise refereeing standards in the PL - and my verdict on his introduction of VAR.






With thanks to the late, great Len Shackleton for the original idea. Riley has been a disaster. I’m so angry about what happened this weekend that it’s best not to write about it, but I can’t pretend I’m not happy that he’s at last been collared.

As I’ve written previously, there’s a reason that the England is the only European country that doesn’t have a VAR representative at the upcoming WC.

I’ve also written this - Riley was appointed to run the PGMOL by Richard Scudamore, X chief-exec of the PL, to do his bidding. Scudamore sacked Keith Hackett because he was too strong for him. Hackett wouldn’t be pushed around. Here’s Hackett’s 7-point plan to turn things round - published in the Daily Telegraph today.


Brilliant. Spot on. VAR isn’t going away. It isn’t really the problem. Riley is. He’s bullied some really good guys to a place where they’re all scared to confidently do their jobs.

Top marks to Michael Oliver for having the courage to stand by his decision to give Forest a pen. It was a pen. There was no need for VAR to get involved. I’m told Oliver was overheard saying ‘no idea’ when asked why they did. He’s probably the only ref strong enough to withstand pressure from Stockley Park and not end up getting dropped for a series of games.

That’s it. That’s all I’m saying about the weekend. 😡😡😡.

Anyone surprised to see struggling Forest in the drop zone? I must admit I am. It’s happened sooner than I thought it would. Here’s what happens next at Forest - Steve Copper gets them blame for the ridiculous signing frenzy - the owner gets fed up - the club slips into administration - buried by the costs of paying the mercenaries - and they re-build in League One. The time line is the only hard bit to predict Sound familiar?

Another subject that we’ve previously mentioned - when is somebody going to tell Arteta he’s endangering the well being of players by marching up and down the touch line? The technical area is placed away from the pitch for a reason. Someone is going to get badly injured if they crash into him Why is he allowed to break the rules and no-one else is? Look at this picture from OT. He spent most of the afternoon here - in front of the 4th official for goodness sake. 🤷‍♂️

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How many times have we referenced what a mad world football can be? And how quickly things can change?

After an hour at the Bridge Thomas Tuchel’s coat was on a shaky peg. Had it not been for a calamitous VAR decision (which dampened reaction to the result) Moyes’s would’ve been on the whistle.

Steven Gerrard survived City’s visit. I’m pleased. I thought Villa gave it a go - and Mings was terrific.

Frank Lampard is growing into his job at Everton and every time I see Eddie Howe I’m more impressed.

Graham Potter will get a big job soon. Whether he’ll succeed in it we don’t know. He might just be in the perfect job right now.

Bruno Lage’s coat looks a bit more secure after Wolves’ win over Soton. I still think Hassenhuttl is in danger - but right now Brendan Rodgers is least secure surely?

Make no mistake - Rodgers is a good coach and he’ll get another top job, but the manner of Leicester’s collapse at Brighton tells me there are big problems there again. Rodgers looks like he’s waiting to get sacked. He’ll walk with a nice few quid and he can’t have too many complaints.

He knew what he was taking on when he accepted the job. That dressing room has swallowed a fair few good men. And he’s had money - £223m in the three and a half years that he’s been there. Although it’s been a frustrating summer - the current squad are too good to be struggling. Something is wrong. I’d get myself out now Brendan and wait for another one.

I see City are complaining about a schedule that sees them play 17 games in the next 10 weeks. Really? Is this the same City that filled their last free week with a charity friendly in Barcelona? You couldn’t make it up.