This brilliant piece by Michael Butler was published on May 14th 2019, a year ago today. We need to ask however, what has changed in that year?
It is clear that we need to be better game. The COVID 19 pandemic should be seen by all stakeholders in football as a chance to reflect on how we can make a real positive change when we return to playing the game we love so much. If we truly love the game, we must stand up to those who ruin the game we are missing so much. Are you really going to stay quiet when one of your team mates is abusing a ref ? Are you still going to sign that player that you know for sure will pick up many cautions and a couple of red card as season for basically being a knob head ? What team or club want to lose a player for a couple of games because they can’t keep their gob shut? Why would you do that?
Clubs tell everyone who will listen that they struggle to pay their way. Everyone knows it is very hard for clubs to operate so why sign these sort of players, have these sorts of people as managers, as captains or spectators when you know they will cost you games and money? It just doesn’t add up.
Even a mouthy spectator at a grassroots game will negatively affect the amount of people who come to watch you. Think about it, who really wants to hear abuse and swearing for most of the game and pay for the privilege?
The entitlement from some people in our game to give refs abuse is killing the game just as much as the monetary cost is and we can’t blame The FA for that. Granted there should be stronger preventative measures and some refs are not good enough for the level they operate at but do they really need abusing? Some players are clearly not good enough for the level they operate at but you just don’t hear anyone give these players the sort abuse for missing a sitter or having a stinker than you would see for a ref giving a “dodgy free kick”
When we start again let’s please change the game for good. It’s up to us all to ensure we have a game to play and one we can enjoy without the abuse, bad atmosphere and a minority spoiling for the rest of us.
When that first whistle blows again, let’s be part of a new dawn of a better game and not a groundhog day of the same old nonsensense.
Good luck for the future.