What's on my Christmas wishlist... plenty of videos, a new watch and a little spirit

After a weekend involving limited action and with Christmas fast approaching, this week I'm taking the opportunity to reflect on the season so far - one packed full of incident, excitement and, as always, controversy.

It's been good, but could it have been better? What could or should be changed to enhance our enjoyment of the game? Here's my Christmas wishlist...


The most irritating and contentious law of all continues to baffle and bemuse virtually all those who follow the game. One particular weekend highlighted the frustration.

Tom Huddlestone's goal for Tottenham at Fulham - when William Gallas appeared to try and play the ball from an offside position - was one the most memorable incidents.

U-turn: Referee Mike Dean allows Tom Huddlestone's strike against Fulham

U-turn: Referee Mike Dean allows Tom Huddlestone's strike against Fulham

But, for me, it was when Liverpool conceded a second goal one the following day at arch rivals Everton (scored by Mikel Arteta) that provided a clearer example and yet the goal also stood.

Fans can't follow the way FIFA want this law interpreted and what's worse - with the speed of the game - assistants are unable to consistently get this law correct. 


Simulation remains a major blight on the game as players continue to go to ground very easily to try and con referees.

FIFA offer the advice that if there is any contact - however slight - between players then a foul should be awarded. While this stands, players will continue to dive. Even a caution does not deter players, as Ashley Young proved in October when playing for England. 


Football remains resistant to change or even trying things before implementation throughout the game. Of course, video replays spring immediately to mind but I'd like to see these tried first.

Goal-line technology

Come on, surely we all know that this has to be introduced. It is farcical that Frank Lampard's goal at the World Cup did not count. The IFAB and FIFA should just try it and let us see if it works.

Controversy: Germany's Manuel Neuer watches Frank Lampard's shot cross the line

Controversy: Germany's Manuel Neuer watches Frank Lampard's shot cross the line


There remains an air of suspicion over how a referee determines the amount of time allowed at the end of a game. The thought that Sir Alex Ferguson influences refs at Old Trafford if Manchester United are not winning is nonsense but the suspicion prevails.

So why not take time-keeping away from the referee, who has plenty to do without the hassle of continually stopping and restarting his watch?

An independent time-keeper in the stand who - in a pressure-free environment - could time the amount the ball is in play and ensure 90 minutes of action for fans.

Retrospective punishment

Citing players and allowing a panel of former referees, managers and players to determine suitable punishment would help the game. The current system of asking the referee IF he thinks he has missed something just is not consistent, fair or effective.


As it is Christmas, why not hope for something which - despite there being little chance of it ever happening - would hugely enhance the game?

On Saturday, I watched Sunderland v Bolton and was embarrassed by Paul Robinson ranting at referee Chris Foy after conceding a free-kick.

Robinson pointed at the ball insisting he had played it when he clearly had not. Replays proved Foy correct. Robinson was not alone as Sunderland's Lee Cattermole employed a similar tactic to con Foy and avoid a red card.

It happens week in, week out and makes the referee's job impossible. Come on chaps, play fair. I can only dream!

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