One minor regret of our 10 seasons in the Premier League is that this spell ends without the authorities taking up the ingenious suggestions from our own Ken Gambles of making shirt-pullers wear bright pink knitted mittens and divers pull on goggles. Undeterred, Ken has come up with other thoughts on rule changes, this time proposing sanctions designed to punish offending teams, not humiliate individuals …
There will be ample time for inquests on this benighted season of ours subsequent to May 21, so before then I’d just like to raise a few issues about the game at large.
Call me a traditionalist – I do – as one brought up on a working-class game that has formed a major part of my life for over 60 years.
There’s much about the modern game I dislike but I’m stuck with it until I go to that stadium in the sky. I’m not a fan of changing the laws of football yet I must admit my reservations about the back pass law proved wrong and it has greatly helped the flow of a match.There are though some further changes I would like to see.
The first two would be easy to effect and would change what at present gives an unfair advantage.
From a goal kick, if the ball does not leave the area (unless prevented from doing so by an opposition player) a corner should result as it has always seemed unfair that there is no disadvantage to the side making a mistake. Also if a goalkeeper is fouled yet retains possession of the ball it penalises him to be made to take a deadball kick rather than allowing play to restart with a kick from his hands.
More difficult changes concern the blatant time-wasting which increasingly blights most games I watch.
There should be no substitutions allowed after 80 minutes.
Should extra time be needed then any remaining subs could then be used. This should prevent the procession of hold-ups which seem a preponderance in the last 15 minutes of most games and are extremely frustrating even when Sunderland are not involved.
Furthermore if goalkeepers are deemed to be wasting time over a goal kick (Ben Foster can take as long as 45 seconds to a minute to take his), a corner should be awarded.
When players clearly take the ball up to the corner flag to waste time, just give a goal kick. Likewise the infuriating non-taking of a corner that barely leaves the quadrant should be penalised by a goal-kick,
I realise these changes would mean more decisions for the referee to make but I am totally fed up with games being deliberately spoiled because teams seem to lack confidence in their own ability to hold on to a scoreline and consequently cheat the crowd of action.