Day 84 – Happy, Not Happy

Mixed feelings (did you see the title of the post?) after last night’s football.

Happy (that’s the first bit) to see the return of Premier League football, albeit in weird, unsettling circumstances. And happy to get our first game out of the way: a wholly lacklustre affair at an empty Villa Park.

Not Happy, though (second bit now) about the goal that never was:

Just look at all those faces. They know. All of them.

Clumsy, sure. Messy, maybe. Maybe undeserved, even. But they all count.

Or usually they do, anyway.

But despite the fact that this was way over the line, the technology didn’t pick it up.


Hawk-Eye (the company responsible for the goal line technology) later told us:

“During the first half of Aston Villa v Sheffield United match at Villa Park, there was a goal line incident where the ball was carried over the line by Aston Villa goalkeeper, No. 25 Nyland.

“The match officials did not receive a signal to the watch nor earpiece as per the Goal Decision System (GDS) protocol. The seven cameras located in the stands around the goal area were significantly occluded by the goalkeeper, defender, and goalpost. This level of occlusion has never been seen before in over 9,000 matches that the Hawk-Eye Goal Line Technology system has been in operation.

“The system was tested and proved functional prior to the start of the match in accordance with the IFAB Laws of The Game and confirmed as working by the match officials. The system has remained functional throughout. Hawk-Eye unreservedly apologises to the Premier League, Sheffield United, and everyone affected by this incident.”

Quite why it wasn’t then referred to VAR, no-one really knows, but that’s only fuelled the number of conspiracy theories going around about this which are now rivalling 5G, the moon landings (or lack of them) and Bill Gates inserting vaccine chips (or whatever) in all of us.

For this morning at least.

Because if that extra point keeps Villa up, it will cost another club tens of millions of pounds. And if those two lost points means that we don’t make the Champions League this season, that will cost us tens of millions of pounds.
Perennial Premier League favourites Man United will be chuffed though. Just saying.

Such are the implications and fine margins* of modern day football.

Of course, all this can be sorted out immediately by using the “definitive replay”. Because the goalie and the defender (and all the other players) can be removed from that image:

Sooo… Even if they were in the way, they won’t be once that is released.

When it is released. Then we’ll know. Any time now. Coming soon.

If, of course, it was switched on. *cough*

Onward. Upward. Newcastle on Sunday.

* this one wasn’t very fine

Oleg some distance from reality

So yes, England beat Ukraine and head happily into the quarter finals at Euro 2012 with absolutely no controversy surrounding their passage. Well, except for that perfectly legitimate goal scored by Marko Devic and not given by Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai.

Here’s the screenshot of that moment:

And here’s what Ukraine coach Oleh Volodymyrovych “Oleg” Blokhin said about it:

We scored a clean goal in the 63rd minute, as the ball crossed the goal line by over a metre.

Now, while I have heaps of sympathy with Blokhin and Ukraine (cos remember I have experience of this stuff here and here plus loads of other times I didn’t bother to document), I was unaware of the measurement of a Ukrainian Metre, which appears to be about twenty times smaller than a usual metric metre. Perhaps some hangover from the Soviet Union?

Incidentally, at the same press conference, Blokhin also had a pop at a journalist , saying:

Let’s go outside and have a man conversation.

Presumably, such man conversations involve a great deal of posturing, bravado and comparison of the length of their members; the size of which is something Ukrainian guys are famed for, although it now seems that they may have been measuring in local centimetres, thus diminishing the statue of their claims (and other things) somewhat.

Presumably there’s a Ukrainian Kilometre as well, then? Visitors to that country must think it’s HUGE, when Kiev to second city Kharkiv is listed as 9600km. That’s, like, bigger than Africa (but not if you measure Africa in Ukrainian kilometres, obviously).

But back to reality. Three things to ponder here:

1. Yes. There should be goal line technology in place and only now (that England have been advantaged by it) has Sepp Blatter seemingly woken up to that fact.
2. Were England cheating by having two goalkeepers on the field of play? Sky Sports suggests that yes, they were:

3. If the goal had stood and the match had finished 1-1, England would have gone through and Ukraine would not have gone through: pretty much exactly what happened anyway.

Not sour grapes…

…but when your team goes out of the FA Cup because of this:

GOAL Hull City 1-0 Sheffield United
It’s an unbelievably controversial goal and the Blades will be furious about that one. A cross from the Hull right is for some reason headed against the underside of his own crossbar by Kyle Naughton and the ball bounces down on to the line and away. The whole ball isn’t over, though, so it shouldn’t count. Poor decision from the assistant referee to award it.

and then this:

Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp is booked for diving in the Hull box – but replays show his right foot was kicked away from him by Kamil Zayatte. Should have been a penalty. More poor officiating.

All of which leads to this:

Referee Peter Walton has apologised for his performance in the Blades’ 2-1 FA Cup defeat at Hull on Thursday.
“The officials have to live with their mistakes but, to be fair to Peter, he rang and admitted he made major errors and that’s big of him,” said [United Manager] Kevin Blackwell.

…it makes me wonder why football can’t institute the kind of technology which has worked so well in cricket and rugby, both of which I’ve been watching over the past couple of days and neither of which has been ruined by a 30 second delay while a decision is referred “upstairs”.

And it makes me bloody annoyed as well, obviously.
The fact that someone then chose to replay the “goal” on the big screen at the stadium was amusing though:

Naughton’s 24th-minute goal was controversially shown on the big screen inside the stadium, meaning the crowd were aware that the goal should not have stood, but referee Walton was unable to act. Controversial incidents cannot be shown on big screens under Premier League and Football League rules, but in FA competitions it is usually left to agreement between the clubs.

Hull boss Phil Brown admitted that controversially showing a replay of the incident inside the ground “could have started a riot”.

Yeah, but deep down, I reckon Hull boss Phil Brown isn’t all that bothered, really.