Monday, 16 April 2012

Comments on Chelsea's non-goal

People citing the photo on the Chelsea website and the Daily Mail as 'evidence that the ball may have crossed the line' are clearly ignorant of simple geometry and perspective. Any image taken at that angle where the ball is directly in front of the middle of the goal will appear to be inside the far post even if it is several feet in front of the goalline.

The decision was worse than any of the famous incidents where the ball crossed the line but a goal was not awarded (and this includes examples where the ball actually hit the net and came out again). This is because in ALL of those situations it could be argued that the ref/ linesman really did not see the ball cross the line). In this case the ref has no such defence as he cannot possibly have seen the ball go over the line. The closest analogy would be the Geoff Hurst goal, but in that case at least 50% of the ball was over the line. Yesterday NO PART of the ball was over the line.

Someone said:

"Not to stoke the flames, but if the situation was reversed, do you really see Ledley or Scott Parker saying "Hey ref, that wasn't a goal, let's call it 1-0 and play on"? 

This is the wrong analogy. The correct analogy would be 'what would John Terry and Ashley Cole have done if it happened to them'. I believe they would have gone as far as refusing to restart the game until the ref had properly consulted the linesman and fourth official. There is a lot of nonsense spoken about 'the need to bring in technology'. The fact is that informally it is already used. For example, managers watch the incidents on a TV monitor in real-time and if there is an obvious error they tell the fourth official what they saw - Fergie and Wenger do this all the time and even Harry has been known to do it. The fourth official informs the ref and linesman that there may be a problem and they should at least consult again properly etc (in this case the linesman has stated that he did not see the incident properly, so if Atkinson had spent some time just clarifying that fact with the linesman he would have realised it was safest not to give the goal). Chelsea would certainly have made it known to the ref that the TV showed an obvious no goal and Terry would have told the ref that he was going to look very stupid if he did not think again and consult further. At the very least Chelsea's whole team reaction would have been one of total fury at the ref. What I found astonishing from Spurs' reaction was almost no dissent at all. Even from the very top of block P where I was I could see the ball could not have crossed the line. However, the lack of protest by Spurs players made me think that I was possibly mistaken. Every fan I have since spoken to at the ground has said exactly the same thing. Hence the fans were not convinced an injustice of that magnitude had occurred and for this our own players take the blame. Had we been fully aware of what happened there would have been a very different reaction from the crowd who were really resigned to defeat after that but would otherwise have been really fired up. For example, when Chelsea's third goal went in about 50% of the Spurs fans left there and then with 15 minutes still to play. I don't think they would have done if they knew the full story.

In fact it all boils down to a lack of real leadership on the pitch which not only hurt us in the case of the 'goal' but also contributed to our collapse late on. Compare Ledley King as a leader to Terry, Gerrard, or even Van Persie. Those guys would have gone ballistic - and quite rightly so. King made no attempt to talk to the ref and after the match he was completely laid back about what had happened. In fact I am furious about the whole Spurs after-match reaction now because it has lent credibility to the Chelsea narrative that the phantom goal didn't really matter anyway.

I do not understand Harry's rationale for putting his reserve keeper in goal. Was Harry playing his strongest side or not? Clearly not in goal, but yes otherwise. Cudicini is competent but he is clearly not first choice. Harry presumably wanted to stay loyal to Cudicini as he had played in the previous FA Cup games. But then, on that basis, why not start with Defoe? It simply makes no sense.

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