Published: Monday, 15 January 2024

How many of us are old enough to remember the 80’s sitcom Sorry!, starring Ronnie Corbett?

Actually, it doesn’t matter too much. It’s the name of the show that I’m more interested in. Watching the latest weekend of howlers from our officials it occurred to me that Howard Webb’s (showbiz showbiz showbiz) little programme with Michael Owen should perhaps be called that now - because he’s going to be doing an awful lot of apologising in the next episode - and much more going forward, unless he gets a grip on what’s going on at the PGMOL.

I know you don’t believe me when I say I really wish I could talk about something else - and I try, I really do. But how can I when week after week after week we’ve got mistake after mistake after mistake and the ineffective use of VAR blighting our game?

Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) inherited a shambles from Mike Riley. There’s no other way to put it. But what has he done about it? Nothing is the answer. Nothing that I can see anyway.

Matchweek 21 started at Turf Moor, where Burnley should’ve beaten Luton. Where Burnley would’ve beaten Luton if the officials had done their jobs properly. Sorry!

We’ve all seen it. Adebayo fouled James Trafford. Ref Tony Harrington should see it. Somehow he doesn’t, so he waits for Peter Bankes in VAR to get him off the hook. But Bankes didn’t see a reason to overturn the decision to allow Morris’s equaliser. Vincent Kompany called the decisions ‘a joke’. They were - except they weren’t funny. Sorry!

Inexplicably two of our elite group of refs couldn’t see what everybody else saw. It was a foul. End of. No debate. I just can’t get my head round how that can happen. How these mistakes keep on happening. These guys simply aren’t good enough and Webb ( showbiz showbiz showbiz) is doing nothing to improve matters. Sorry!

Fast forward to Goodison. Villa think they’ve scored when Moreno sticks the ball in the net. Ok. Goal given, but we need VAR, of course, to be certain.

Bailey is clearly offside when he receives the ball as Villa pop it about from a corner. You can see he’s offside by the cut of the grass. He’s ahead Everton’s last man - Danjuma.

What emerges from the first replay though is that Danjuma is fouled as he tries to clear the box with the rest of Everton’s defence. Lenglet grabs him and holds onto him so that Villa can remain onside from their little set-piece movement. It’s a foul. It’s clearly and obviously a foul - so all Paul Tierney in VAR has to do is call it - but oh no - he wants to check for offside. He wants to put lines on - which aren’t needed.

When he sees that Bailey is offside he wants to check if it was in an APP - attacking phase of play. I know - but I’m not making this up. He decides it was. Well done Paul. Spot on. But he’s not finished yet - he then wants to see if Lenglet is blocking Jordan Pickford’s view of the ball. Why? None of this matters. Sorry!

The best part of four minutes is wasted as Tierney runs these checks and both sets of fans - Evertonians as well - start chanting ‘fuck VAR’. Paying supporters appear not to matter to these guys.

None of Tierney’s checks were necessary. Lenglet fouled Danjuma on the first post. Dyche saw it - we all saw it - except Tierney. Why didn’t he see it? And here’s a question. What if Bailey had kept himself onside? If Lenglet had kept Danjuma, who Tierney used to draw his lines from, just a little bit closer to the goal? Would Tierney have then acknowledged the foul? It came first - so there was no need for an offside check. It’s scary. Sorry!

Is there any need to mention that Gusto should’ve seen red at Chelsea? Both coaches agreed on that. Somehow Anthony Taylor and Michael Salisbury didn’t. Sorry!

I saw the game at OT described as a ‘thriller’ by one newspaper. No it wasn’t. A thriller needs two teams to be involved in the game. United weren’t. As Andy said to me on beINSPORTS - if Son had played Spurs would’ve won that game comfortably.

Consider this - United touched the ball only twice in Spurs’ box in 50 second half minutes. Twice - and the 2nd touch was McTominay’s header, that he should’ve scored with, in the last minute. So just two touches in the box - at the Stretford End. It beggars belief.

I heard ten Hag whining about wanting a pen for something or other. No Erik. You can’t have a pen every time one of your players goes down after being sneezed on. Not unless Anthony Taylor is reffing anyway.

What game it is that ten Hag watches when United play? I know he’s desperate to convince us that he’s getting it right - after 18 months - but he isn’t. He isn’t fooling anyone. Oh - and Antony’s poor form has nothing to do with abuse claims made against him Erik. He’s simply not very good.

What a comeback by City at Newcastle. Top marks - although the Toon were out on their feet after 60 minutes. It was great to see de Bruyne back on the field, but introducing him when he did doesn’t make Guardiola a genius. What other coach in the world wouldn’t have made the same decision if they’d had the Belgian sitting behind them? Let’s keep some perspective please.

I’m Sorry! I haven’t spent any time talking about Saturday’s ‘big story’ - you know, the pitch invasion at Reading. Not too many other people are talking about it either. Perhaps there’s a reason for that?

Just in case you missed it - the other big story no-one is talking about was Hartlepool’s FA Trophy defeat at home to Hampton and Richmond Borough FC.