Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

Talking Balls Comments

Yes you....

The men in black have been in the news much of late. Same as it ever was you might reply.

In England soccer referee Jeff Winter landed himself in hot water following a gratuitous and offensive attack on Celtic and their Catholic religious following. Supposedly blogging about his holiday in New Zealand, Winter’s ruminations on the way in which The Bhoys celebrate or don’t delebrate success has been deemed offensive enough to bring about a complaint from Celtic Football Club.

Back here in GAAdom word comes out today via John Fogerty and the Irish Examiner that GAA referees are considering the establishment of a referees body, similar in some ways to the GPA.

The impetus for this has been a series of assaults and attacks on referees in club games. It continues to defy logic in that people don’t realise that without referees there would be no games. The best referees are the sorts of people that you don’t notice, in other words the game proceeds without any controversial or contradictory decisions.

Of course in competitive sport it is human nature to blame someone else. Writing yesterday in Gaelic Life John Morrison, uber coach and GAA deep-thinker ruminated on the fact that the outcome of a high level game can turn on a small number of key decisions made by players on the pitch. This echoes Jose Mourinho’s theory about moments in a game.

The player can make the ‘correct’ decision or the ‘incorrect’ decision. Either way, it can have an impact on the outcome. But what if the key decision by the referee is correct or incorrect? Inevitably they come under greater scrutiny than the corner forward that missed an easy score in what turned out to be a one-point game.

Likewise coaches can make correct or incorrect decisions. How many times have we heard the oul chestnut that we lost it on the line. Many of the boys making that assertion have never stood on the line in any pressure situation, even an underage championship match and therefore have no knowledge what they’re talking about.

So, our view for what it’s worth is that The Gaelic Referees Association or whatever it is called eventually has its merits, but it needs to be combined with a reality check by all the ref abusers in clubs up and down the country. It’s always someone else’s fault lads isn’t it. Sadly that is something we can’t see happening anytime soon.

Meanwhile, back with Jeff Winter. OK maybe not. Pig and Grunt.