A question of honesty
RAHEEM Sterling, not for the first time, found himself the recipient of a “soft” penalty on Wednesday night when he went over in the area. Having clearly tripped himself up with no defender within a yard of him, the Shakhtar players were too busy laughing their heads off at the decision to protest and the penalty was duly dispatched.
Afterwards it was suggested that Sterling should have told the referee that there was no contact or that Citeh, recognising the unfairness of the decision, should have deliberately missed the spot kick. Which is all fine and dandy and I have some sympathy for this school of thought, but a poster on a website put it into perspective thus: “When defenders start saying to referees, ‘sorry ref, I did wrestle him to the ground/there was contact and it was a penalty’ maybe forwards will reciprocate.” Hard to argue with this train of thought as week in, week out we see forwards ganged up in penalty areas with the resulting free kick usually going to the defending team.
Want to avoid all this hassle? Bring in VAR; it’s only as good as the people operating it but it’s better than the guesswork we see in too many incidents. Anyone who doubts that VAR is the answer should consider that in Uefa competitions there are five officials on the pitch. Five, and not one of them saw — or admitted seeing — Sterling’s clear-as-day pratfall.
A wise man once said . . .
“There are only two things certain in life: death and taxes.”
Now I bow to no man in my admiration for the great American author, printer, political theorist, freemason, postmaster, humorist, scientist, inventor, statesman and diplomat Benjamin Franklin, but he forgot the third certain thing: Arsenal getting drawn at home in Cup ties, usually against the lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition.
There is actually a fourth certain thing: Arsenal fans throwing their toys out of the pram at any perceived criticism of their south London club.
It’s only money
The Scots are (wrongly, in my opinion) famed for being, shall we say, careful with money. But if that is the case how come a fan, presumably of Hearts, felt flush enough to down Hibs manager Neil Lennon with a well-thrown £1 coin the other week?
Lennon has, of course, got history with Jambo fans, having been attacked on the touchline a few years back while managing Celtic. Not surprisingly he’s getting a tad fed up with all this stuff and would like to see the culprit get his just deserts in the courts. If I were Lennon I wouldn’t hold out much hope on that score, seeing as the fan who attacked him in 2011 in full view of the TV cameras was cleared of assault as the jury in Edinburgh decided to give a “not proven” verdict to the charge of sectarian assault and instead knocked it back to a mere breach of the peace.
That must have been some game at Tynecastle the other week because, in addition to the coin incident, the Hearts goalkeeper was felled by a Hibs fan and the two linesmen were both struck by “foreign objects” thrown from the crowd. Who said Scots fitba was boring? The score that night, if anyone’s bothered: Hearts 0-0 Hibs.
Team of the week
Hugo Lloris, Spurs; Seamus Coleman, Everton; Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool; David Luiz, Chelsea; Ben Chilwell, Leicester; Lewis Cook, Bournemouth; Lucas Torreira, Arsenal; James Milner, Liverpool; Erik Lamela, Spurs; Richarlison, Everton; Raheem Sterling, Citeh. Manager: Marco Silva, Everton.
Autumn internationals — today: 4.30pm Scotland v Fiji; 5pm England v New Zealand; 7.20pm Wales v Australia; 8.30pm Ireland v Argentina; 10.05pm France v South Africa. Those of a nervous disposition should consider watching footie at 5pm today rather than the rugby from Twickenham. I’ll watch the game from behind a sofa but I have to say I can’t see England getting within a dozen points of the All Blacks.
Third test — tomorrow: 5.15pm England v New Zealand. With England being 2-0 up in the series this is pretty much a dead rubber, but it should be worth watching if only for the novelty value of England beating an antipodean team in the 13-man game.
Brazilian Grand Prix — tomorrow: 8.10pm. With the title safely wrapped up Lewis Hamilton will no doubt want to end the season on a high, but equally Sebastian Vettel and his Ferrari team will want to lay down some markers for next season. Last year’s race cannot provide any pointers as Hamilton had to start from the back of the grid and Vettel took the honours, but I actually quite like Max Verstappen’s chances this time out.
Last week I asked what the following clubs all had in common: Brighton, Bournemouth, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Watford. The answer is that the clubs who represent 25 per cent of the current Premier League have never won top-class silverware.
This week: what connects Arsenal and corned beef?
The Great Karflıyaka BakeOff, week two — I’m sorry to say that after the original Battenberg challenge was changed to Tottenham cake all the competitors cried off citing the following reasons: “I’m having nothing to do with stupid football, give me rugby any day.” Mike Rivett.
“I know naff all about football and you expect me to bake a bloody cake named after a bunch of southern softies?” Christina (Call me Mary Berry) Wallace-Rivett.
“There’s no way I’m baking a cake named after a bunch of losers.” Mrs Walker.
That’s the last time I listen to a recipe suggestion from Jo Le Roux Sanders, and as for Mrs Walker, she supports United! Say no more.
So long, farewell, auf Weidersehen, adieu — Peter Dawson and Ian Williams depart the island in a few days for warmer climes, so there’ll be no more Boom Bang-a-Banging in Karşıyaka now until next summer. For some this might come as a relief but the majority will miss their musical contributions on a Friday at Jessic and wish them well over the coming months until they return next year.