Archive for the ‘football’ Category

Help kick ball-boys out of football   Leave a comment

Chesterfield-20130122-00610Eden Hazard was guilty of violent conduct in the match against Swansea and was rightly sent off.  It doesn’t matter what Charlie Morgan did as the player clearly interfered with the ball-boy which is a sanctionable offence.  I am surprised that any can defend the Chelsea player.

I won’t suggest that the Swansea City ball-boy acted entirely properly; I see it is reported that he has apologised for his part in the incident,  However Hazard must know that in football you have to sometimes endure that which is unfair; the defence of provocation is never a successful one.  Had Morgan spat at Hazard, struck him or impugned his Belgian nationality it would not be a defence to striking him.

Some feel the fall and subsequent reaction to the kick were exaggerated.  There might be something in this view but we seem to be in a football culture where making the most of any touch or infringement is the norm.  That said the bottom line is that you don’t touch the ball-boys!  There is precedent for bans when players have pushed those kids fielding the balls so there is no excuse.

My view on Morgan and his colleagues is that they had no interests in returning the ball with any haste.  However in most cases having a ball-boy makes the game quicker than not having one despite that in all stadia where all sides are occupied there is no need for the pitch side assistants.

If there are delays because of the conduct of the ball-boys that is for the match officials to assess.  It is possible- even probably, that sluggish ball-boys might prevent the losing team from taking quick restarts when they are chasing the game but in this case it was actually a Swansea restart.  The ball-boy in question seems to have reacted slowly to the ball going out for a goal-kick.  He then got between the Chelsea player and the ball when Hazard wanted to move it to the goal area.  Morgan then fell on the ball when the player touched him resulting in Hazard kicking the ball from under him.

The contact with the ball-boy was enough to penalise Hazard, his kicking at the ball under Morgan made it an automatic dismissal.  Had the ball-boy been a defending player who shielded the ball and fell under contact then it is likely that Hazard’s kick would have been a sending-off issue with the ball out of play.

In retrospect what the Chelsea player should have done was just make sure that Chris Foy noted the delay and added on time.  That added time is an issue in football and the lack of understanding of the rules and inconsistent application might be one of the reasons Hazard over-reacted.

The laws of the game say:

  • Many stoppages in play are entirely natural (e.G. Throw-ins, goal kicks). An allowance is to be made only when these delays are excessive.
  • The fourth official indicates the minimum additional time decided by the referee at the end of the final minute of each period of play.
  • The announcement of the additional time does not indicate the exact amount of time left in the match. The time may be increased if the referee considers it appropriate but never reduced.

In terms of checking the time played the referee never actually stops his watch.  He usually communicates with his senior assistant or fourth official if he is adding time.  Normally there will be no time added for the natural stoppages in the game but he will note when a physio comes onto the pitch, where there are unnatural breaks or where there is time-wasting.

In terms of the latter, if it is a player then his first option is to caution the player involved.  For instances where the crowd or even ball-boys delay the game then it is down to the officials to add time on.  Where a substitution is not instant (it is after all part of the game) or where there is a goal celebration that is prolonged then time will be added.  Thirty seconds is a rule of thumb and is probably correct  where the leading team finds the withdrawn player as far from the bench as is conceivable- if it is the losing team and the player runs off then the process will not take that long.

The time signalled by the fourth official will always be a “minimum” figure.  If the referee determines two minutes 50 seconds then it will be indicated as two minutes.  You couldn’t have the game ending before the added time has elapsed.  With delays and time-wasting becoming more common towards the end of the game then it is always possible that there will be added time on the added-time!  If any team questions that added time the fourth official will have noted the significant stoppages.

In the case of the Swansea match I guess that potentially the actions of the ball-boy would have meant a delay of a few seconds.  Had Hazard waved his arms and complained then he might actually have caused a few seconds more to be added to the stoppages for what seemed to be futile efforts by his team.  In pushing and kicking the ball-boy the player was sent-off and deserved that sanction.


Posted January 24, 2013 by dalekpete in football, Uncategorized

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Why I am a Spanish speaking Muslim who supports Brazil   Leave a comment

You might know I am a football fan.  The national team I support is England.  My football following siblings also support England as do almost all my friends.  I do have a colleague who looks firstly for the Scotland result and a bare handful of friends with allegiance to other nations.  For example I play football with two who support Italy.

I think it is an amazing coincidence that all of my family and practically all of my friends follow the same team as me.  It must be a statistically anomaly.

Now I wouldn’t claim England are the best team in the world.  They are consistently in the top ten nations and usually make the knock-out stages of the global competitions.  However if I were to make a logical choice I perhaps currently ought to support Spain whose results are better and who certainly play a much more attractive style of play.  If I was looking throughout my lifetime then Brazil with three World Cup wins would be my best choice to follow.

Why then do I support England?  Basically it is an accident of birth, the same reason as everyone I know.  I was born and brought up bang in the middle of England; this means I support England in every sport.  Had I been born in Spain I would support the current World Cup holders.  If my place of birth had been Rio de Janeiro then I would be following the most successful international team.   My friends who follow different teams were either born in those countries or have a family heritage linked to them.

Of course had I been born in Spain my first language would be Spanish and in Brazil, Portuguese.  This would have been another factor determined by my birthplace and culture.  It would have no basis in logic.  I am probably best sticking to English as the international language of commerce and of the internet.  However a case might be made for Spanish or Mandarin as useful additions

All of my family and most of my friends were brought up Christian.  All of those I know that came from that tradition that worship do so in the Christian Church.  I don’t think I know any practising Jews but all those I know who are Muslim or follow the South Asian religions are first or second generation immigrants to the United Kingdom.  They are rather like my “Italian” friends in that respect..

With a true statistical spread a quarter of my family would follow Islam; none of my family is a Muslim.  However had my birth been in Pakistan or parts of the Middle-East there is every chance that every one of my family would be Muslim.  There is no logic to it at all,  While a small number of the religious start to follow a faith other than the one they were born into it is rare.  Almost every religious person follows the faith of the culture they wre born into.  No god selects them as special people, their faith is as much an accident of birth as their language or national football team!

So logically we should all support Spain.  We should speak and write in English with a smattering of Spanish and Mandarin.  And of course if we are being totally rational we should worship no gods at all.

Derbyshire’s first “black” England International   Leave a comment

The Kick-it-out campaign celebrates the contribution ethnic minorities have made to the national game, whilst continuing the call for equality.  As such it is a celebration of diversity in our national game.

While what has happened in Serbia and in recent court cases highlights that there is still work to be done it seems right to celebrate how far we have come and how much non-white players have brought to the British game.

However I am aware that the first non-white player to turn out for our national team lacks any real recognition.  Most will immediately think of Viv Anderson in 1978 as the first of many England players with an Afro-Caribbean heritage.  I want to go back further than that to teams that featured Stanley Matthews, Denis Compton, Frank Swift, Joe Mercer, Stan Mortensen, Tom Finney and Matt Busby.  The only problem was that the nine games played by Hong Y Soo were war time internationals and so not recognised as full internationals.

Frank Soo was born in Buxton in 1914 of Chinese and English parentage.  His Father was a sailor based in Liverpool.  He made his name as an inside forward with Stoke City.  When the war came, as was the custom, he guested firstly for Everton and then Chelsea before being selected for the England team in 1923 when he played against Wales at Ninian Park.  He played seven more times against the home nations including a 6-1 win against Scotland at Hampden Park in front of 133,000.  He also played against Switzaland in a 50th anniversary match staged in 1945 in Berne that was at the time regarded as a full international.

His last match was a war time international some months after hostilities had ended.  After this point Soo was not selected again as he moved the Leicester City and then Luton.  When he retired he went into management with Padova in Italy as well as several teams in Scandinavia.  He did have a spell in charge Scunthorpe United in 1959.  In the early sixties Soo became an international coach when he managed the Israeli National team.

It took a further thirty years for a non-white player to represent his country but no East Asian player or footballer from the Indian sub-continent has come close to repeating Soo’s achievement.  Before Anderson officially became the first black England player there were black players turning out for Chesterfield.  One of those was of Asian decent in Ricky Heppolette who turned out more than fifty times in the early seventies.

The Spireites’ first black player was Peter Foley who joined Chesterfield on trial having made his name at Workington, then a league side.  He played two games for us in the 1969-70 Championship season.  He later returned to the Cumbrian club as their manager.  It is somewhat fitting that Foley is involved with the Kick it Out campaign and in 2003 was awarded an MBE for his services to race relations.  The first black player to come through our ranks was Jim Kabia.  Kabia was an apprentice at the club and in two senior seasons made eleven appearances, scoring at Hereford in 1974.

Now we can put out a Spireite eleven with more than half the players being non-white while seven black players have played together for England.  While this is representative of the mass immigration from the commonwealth in the fifties and sixties our football now benefits from an influx of players from all over the world.  Recently we have seen many Africans and more recently a number of players of East Asian heritage like Frank Soo was.

Less than two decades ago I remember black players being accepted for their flair but the view prevailing that they were not suited to central roles; it being suggested that black players would not make good keepers or central defenders.  It was also thought that blacks would not make coaches, managers or administrators.  This now seems like a view from the dark ages.  No one I know comments on race when England picks a squad.  The days of Anderson’s first cap, Blisset’s first goal or Ince skippering the national side are now part of not only black history but also British history.

Brendan Batson is now a big player with the PFA while Anderson, Keith Alexander and Chris Kamara have all managed league teams.  When Ruud Gullit was appointed Chelsea manager much was made of him being from abroad and his supposed lifestyle, no one mentioned that he was the first black manager in the top flight.  Of course the England and Great Britain women’s manger, Hope Powell, is black.

It is right that we still make a stand against racism in football and in all of our society.  However it would be nice if we could reach the point where rather than fighting intolerance we can celebrate diversity and recognise the part played by the likes of Frank Soo and Peter Foley in football and society.


The photograph heading this article is, for once, not one of mine.  In 2006 there was a collection of unwanted football shirts by Chesterfield FC to be sent to Tsumeb in northern Namibia.  This season the collection is being repeated.  Any shirts, Chesterfield or otherwise, will be collected and if suitable sent to benefit potential players in Africa.  Any shirts can be taken into, or sent, to the Chesterfield FC Superstore at the Proact Stadium.