Smarten up Gallagher.

Published: Monday, 19 February 2024

Well sock-gate got quite a bit of traction. And it turns out the majority are with me. I’ll get round to the subject again shortly.

Sadly, I can’t avoid mentioning our hapless refs and their even less proficient enablers in VAR - and if Howard Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) tries to defend what we saw at Newcastle in the next version of Sorry! then he should be fired.

Before I get to that it seems I need to explain a couple of things that accompany any mention of Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) and his programme Sorry! in this blog.

The programme title first - it was an 80’s sitcoms starring Ronnie Corbett. The content of the show doesn’t matter - I’ve stolen the title of it because Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) is constantly saying sorry. He’s always having to apologise. He should be on the phone to Brentford, Brighton, Bournemouth and perhaps even City as I write (Monday) to say it to all four clubs.

As for our headline chasing PGMOL chief and the reference to - ‘showbiz showbiz showbiz’ - well, it was a jingle that the brilliant Chris Tarrant would always play whenever anyone on his Capital breakfast show mentioned some C or D list celebrity hanging about at the opening of envelopes, hoping that someone would take their picture or ask them for an interview. It was a piss-take highlighting their desperation for publicity. Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) would’ve heard it a few times if ever he’d had a mention on Tarrant’s show. It still makes me chuckle even when I write it. So there we are Nabs.

To the incident at Newcastle then. You must’ve seen it? If not - this is what happened.

Newcastle drop a free-kick into an area on the edge of the Bournemouth box - which Schar tries to win. He’s off-side when the kick is taken. As he challenges for the ball his shirt is pulled and he falls over in the box. The flag goes up to signal that he’s off-side. The ref didn’t see his shirt being held, so off-side is given. It’s the correct decision.

But Rob Jones in VAR gets involved because he reckons Newcastle should have a pen. It takes four minutes for Michael Salisbury (yep - him again) and Jones to decide to give the pen.

Here’s the bit that is completely unfathomable. They agree Schar is off-side - but they say that he was ‘denied the chance to impact the play’. What? He was off-side for fucks sake. That’s the first offence. Give the decision. It’s easy. By the way - I’m not making this up. This is what the matchday centre tell beINSPORTS.

I understand that you can be in an off-side position and not be active. If Sxhar had been some distance from where the ball dropped - fine. But he wasn’t. He was the target. So he’s off-side. Andoni Iraola was totally bemused after clearly being given the same explanation as us.

This is why we need to be able to hear the conversations that take place at the monitor. What on earth were Salisbury and Jones discussing? And it took them four minutes to fuck it up. The level of incompetence is frightening. And I repeat - Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) can’t defend that decision.

Brentford should’ve had a pen. Robertson knew it was a pen. You can see that by the way he limply kicks the ball away after clattering Toney. The only person in the ground that didn’t think it was a pen was Michael Oliver. What happened to VAR? David Coote went missing because he knows that Oliver is never going to accept someone he regards as inferior to him sending him to a monitor. Operators are scared of Oliver so they back off. We know this because Mike Dean admitted as much early in the season. Refs help their mates out and duck controversy.

Brighton should’ve had a pen when Mitoma was bundled over. And City when Haaland was grappled to the floor. It’s not good is it? And it’s not getting any better.

Oh - one other thing. Fulham fans have got every right to ask why their club are always used as guinea pigs when it comes to giving new refs a run-out. Of course the process of finding new blood is important - but it doesn’t always have to be at Craven Cottage. Fulham’s games matter every bit as much as any other teams.

And a word of warning for West Ham supporters. I accept that they've got every right to express their frustration with recent results, but David Moyes is right - the Hammers have never had an era as good the one that Moyes has delivered. I’ve said it before - be careful what you wish for.

And so to sock-gate. I’m right. I know I am. The level of support I’ve had tells me I am.

I asked a top medic again today why players cut holes in the back of their socks. He confirmed what I’d previously been told. Apparently some believe the socks are too tight - and they stop the flow of blood to the calf. Bollocks. They don’t wear anything on their heads do they but clearly the flow of blood is restricted to that area of some of these young men.

It’s got to stop. This weekend Conor Gallagher resembled the poor lad who plays on Hackney Marshes every week that can’t afford kit. You’re a professional man. Look professional. You don’t see Messi or Ronaldo going round looking like they can’t afford socks do you? Perhaps Gallagher believes that players shouldn’t wear socks at all?

Gallagher will be at Wembley this weekend - the spiritual home of Bobby Moore - the greatest England captain ever to have played the game. Bob never once looked anything but immaculate on a football pitch. I hope Gallacher understands that - like it or not - he’s a role model who youngsters emulate and he could learn from Moore’s example. I get it that times and fashions change. There’s nothing wrong with that. But this trend is a nonsense. Smarten up man.