The Anonymous Widower

Refereeing At The Women’s World Cup

At times, as in today’s England game against Cameroon, refereeing has not been of the highest quality.

I watch a lot of football and being a referee is something I would not want to do!

But I do have a few thoughts!

Are Some Of The Referees Not Fit Enough?

I have my suspicions on this one, as some of the bad decisions seem to have happened, when the referee is behind the play!

Referees from major football playing countries, probably officiate in many more games and come under much more scrutiny about their fitness, than they do in other countries.

Was It A Mistake To Send Referees Home From The Last Sixteen Countries?

I know why FIFA has done this, but does it get rid of a lot of the best and most experienced referees?

Perhaps delaying until the last eight would have been better?

Should We Integrate More Women Officials Into The Men’s Game?

We are always hearing that there is a shortage of referees for matches in the UK

I wouldn’t be surprised that this is a problem in a lot of countries, with large league structures.

Surely, welcoming more women into the profession would help to ease the shortage.

I actually, think, as with many other trades and professions, the shortage will mean that more women are welcome.

I should say that at Ipswich in the Chapionship, we have had the occasional woman assistant referee and there hasn’t been any adverse crowd reaction.

But, I suspect, other crowds and possibly countries wouldn’t be so friendly.

Conclusion

The standard of refereeing by women will improve, as more come into the game, due to the shortages.

But no real progress will be made in the UK, until a woman referees a high-profile League or Cup match.

The first time it happens, will be down to a chapter of unfortunate circumstances.

Perhaps a team of four for a match will contain two women, one of whom will be the fourth official.

The man refereeing the match, becomes unable to do so, as happens a couple of times during matches in the Premier League every year.

Perhaps, the man running the line has made a terrible howler and is getting stick from an angry crowd.

So, the inevitable decision will be made.

After all, Bibiana Steinhaus, has refereed in the Bundesliga for a couple of years.

One of her problems according to Wikipedia, has been that Iran cut her out of broadcasts of matches, when she is the referee.

But then there’s no accounting for that religious basket-case!

 

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Down The Pub For The Football

There is a typical man’s pub that does beer and pizza near me, where I go occasionally to watch football, if I don’t fancy watching alone.

So for tonight’s England-Argentina game in the Women’s World Cup, I walked along my road and had a butchers!

There wasn’t a seat to be had, so I may have got my gluten-free beer, but there wouldn’t have been anywhere to eat a pizza.

But it was gratifying to see the support for the women’s version of the National game!

 

June 14, 2019 Posted by | Food, Sport | , , , | 2 Comments

Where Will I Watch The Champions League Final?

My father had first gone to White Hart Lane as a child, in his father’s pony-and-trap, before the First World War. He told me how they gave a local lad a shilling to hold the horse’s head during the match.

That would be about twelve pounds in 2019 money. I don’t drive, so would you pay twelve pounds to park your car for a match today?

Later he had been at the 1921 FA Cup Final at Stamford Bridge, where Spurs had won the cup for the second time.

He took me several times to see Spurs in the 1950s and we were there in 1961, when Spurs received the First Division trophy after losing to West Bromwich Albion.

I was now going regularly on my own and I cycled down from Southgate.

I seem to remember paying half-a-crown to leave my bike in a secure space. That would be about three pounds today.

In the early 1960s, my parents moved to Felixstowe and to overcome the boredom of summers and other holidays in the place, our neighbour started taking me to Ipswich Town, where I saw a few games of Alf Ramsey’s First Division-winning side of cast-offs and misfits!

As I’ve lived in Suffolk off-and-on for over fifty years, it was the start of a long-term relationship.

I should also say, that following Ipswich Town and the companionship I;ve enjoyed, has been a great help to me, since C’s death!

For four years in the 1960s, I was at Liverpool University or living in the City.

I saw Spurs play many times all over the North West, but it was not a good period for them and I only saw one win, which was at Everton.

I also used to go to both Liverpool clubs, where you just walked up on the day and paid to get in. Those were the days! I remember, I was there to see Emlyn Hughes make his debut for Liverpool. Wikipedia says that was March 4th, 1967 against Stoke City.

Most long-term football fans have a long-term relationship to one club and I’ve met some strange relationships.

Ipswich for instance have a clutch of Liverpudlian supporters, who seem to have started supporting Ipswich in the Bobby Robson-era. That could be just the Liverpudlian attitude to be different.

So where will I watch the Champions League Final on June the First?

I am leaning towards Manchester at the moment! Although, thinking about it, Barcelona could be an interesting alternative!

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , | Leave a comment

What Would Be The Best Result In The Manchester Derby?

Despite supporting Ipswich since our next door neighbour in Felixstowe took me at the end of the Ramsey era, I have affections for two other clubs.

As a child and teenager living in London, I did what my father had done in his youth and regularly went to see Spurs at White Hart Lane.

My father would tell stories about how he was at the Cup Final in 1921 and how before the Great War, his father would take them to the game in a pony and trap. My grandfather would give a kid a shilling to hold the horse’s head during the match.

Then in the 1960s at Liverpool University, I regular went to see both of the Liverpool clubs, although I identified more with Liverpool.

Perhaps because inh those years they played the better football and were more successful!

So who do I want to win the Manchester Derby?

Certainly not United, as in the 1950s, I lived next door to the most obnoxious United supporter, who rammed them down mine and my father’s throats at every opportunity.

I actually think, that both Spurs and Liverpool, would be happy with an extremely hard-fought goal-less draw at Old Trafford tonight!

April 24, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | 2 Comments

DfT Keen To Encourage Rail Travel For Football Fans

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in Issue 873 of Rail Magazine.

I was moved to send this letter to the magazine.

Was this title on page 17 of Issue 873 serious or an ironic joke?

I am a seventy-one-year-old Ipswich fan and Season Ticket holder, who lives in London, within walking distance of Liverpool Street station on a fine day.

Over the last six or seven years, I have been unable to see Home matches as often, as I would like, as on perhaps half of weekend match days, there have been no trains running on the Great Eastern Main Line, due to the constant maintenance. Or is it a complete rebuilding for 140 mph trains?

To be fair, I have occasionally used the replacement buses, but the problem is that they make the journey well over an hour longer. So on a match day, there is no time left for anything else!

I had to watch the two Ipswich-Norwich matches on television, as on both these Sundays to get to the match by mid-day was impossible and probably needed an overnight stay!

I accumulated my very adequate pension pot, by writing software to schedule resources on complicated projects. Surely, Network Rail, Greater Anglia, the Premier League and the EFL can agree a plan that is better than the current shambles.

Greater Anglia surely have the means to improve the situation arriving in their depots.

Pairs of  four-car Class 755 trains could run reduced services via Cambridge.

  • If the line is blockaded between Ipswich and London, then a direct service could be run between Norwich and London via Ipswich and Cambridge.
  • If the line is blockaded between Ipswich and Norwich, then a direct service could be run between Norwich and London via Cambridge.

Although, this has nothing to do with football, pairs of Class 755 trains would also be useful for running a service between Peterborough and London, when the Southern section of the East Coast Main Line is closed.

I shall add a few extra notes to this on-line version of the letter.

Class 755 Trains

Points about Class 755 trains.

  • They are 100 mph trains on both electric and diesel, and probably have similar performance to the current Class 90 locomotive/Mark 3 coaches that run between Liverpool Street and Norwich.,
  • Capacity of a pair of Class 755 trains is 458 seats, as against the 514 seats of the current stock.
  • The interior will be suitable for services between London and Norwich.
  • The trains and their crews will probably be certified for all of Greater Anglia’s Network.
  • A single train is eighty metres long and a pair would be 160 metres.
  • The trains should fit all important main-line stations on the Greater Anglia Network.

I also suspect that these trains could run into Kings Cross station, either using the East Coast Main Line or the Hertford Loop Line.

They are blockade-busters par excellence.

February 26, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Network Rail Are Treating Norwich And Ipswich Fans With Contempt

Over the last few years, I have gone to perhaps half-a-dozen Ipswich-Norwich Derbies.

Last season, I didn’t get to either match, as Network Rail, thought that these days were ideal to do engineering work on the Great Eastern Main Line.

As if, there hasn’t been enough in the time since I’ve moved to London in 2010.

Normally, I would have bought a ticket for the match on February 10th in Norwich at 12:00 in the morning.

But I have just looked up the train times to get there for a match start at that time on a Sunday.

The only service leaves Liverpool Street at 07:08 and arrives in Norwich at 10:12! It also involves an hour on a bus. I would probably arrive back home at around seven in the evening.

I have other things to do, like getting something to eat and as a coeliac, I can’t just pop into the average take-away, unless I wanted to spend another three hours sitting on the toilet.

Why is there no liaison between Network Rail and the two football clubs, so that essential work is done on less important days?

To make things worse, on Saturday the 2nd, they’re getting the buses out again. So that’s another match I’ll miss!

This season it has been easier to watch Away matches than Home ones.

When are Network Rail going to stop treating regular travellers with such downright contempt?

January 27, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

This Must Be The Football Story Of 2018

This article on SpireFM is entitled Never Mind The FA Cup Final – One Local Village School Has Scooped Gold At A Huge Football Festival For Children Aged 10-12!

This is the first threeof paragraphs.

From football on a village green in the New Forest and dodging ponies to playing at the home of Coventry City.

It’s fair to say it’s been an exciting weekend for Hale Primary!

The team progressed through the county and regional finals to earn a place at the national finals of the Danone Nations Cup, the English leg of the world’s biggest football festival for children aged 10-12.

And they won in a penalty shootout.

December 31, 2018 Posted by | Sport | | Leave a comment

Exclusive Footie Shocker

The title of this post, is the same as that at the top of the front page of today’s Sun.

It is not about the latest Premier League star being found in bed with a bevy of young beautiful ladies or losing his money in casinos, but this.

Kante Pays More Tax Than Amazon & Starbucks

As ever The Sun has got straight to the point.

The BBC shows the front page with this comment.

The Sun leads with a story on Chelsea FC footballer N’Golo Kante, who it says has signed a million pound deal which will see him pay more tax than Amazon and Starbucks combined. The 27-year-old chose not to use a scheme to be paid via offshore firms, meaning he will pay £6.7m in tax.

Luckily, I have no need to use companies like Amazon, Facebook and Starbucks.

November 24, 2018 Posted by | Finance, Sport | , , , , | 3 Comments

Are Greater Anglia Buying So Many Class 755 Trains, So They Can Run A Better Service During Constant Works On The Great Eastern?

Yet again, they were rebuilding the Great Eastern Main Line, so I didn’t get to football at Ipswich yesterday.

It’s not that I mind the buses, but it means two things.

  • I have to leave so early, that I can’t do my weekly shop before I go.
  • I also get back so late that I will miss Strictly on the television.

There is also the problem, that Ipswich is one of the worst places to find a gluten-free meal, unless you go to Pizza Express.

I often have my lunch before I travel or take it on the train from Leon or M & S.

For some time now, I’ve suspected that Greater Anglia have ordered a lot more Class 755 trains, than they need, based on a train-for-train replacement basis

It now becomes obvious why!

At weekends, they will link four-car trains together and run four trains per hour on the following routes.

  • Norwich to Cambridge
  • Ipswich to Cambridge

One train in four will continue to and from London after Cambridge.

On the other hand, it could be a plot by Norwich fans in Greater Anglia’s headquarters in Norwich to annoy Ipswich fans!

 

 

September 23, 2018 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving Football From Hampden To Murrayfield Is Vandalism

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in The Scotsman.

I’m not bothered, as I doubt, I’ll ever go to Scotland to watch an important Scottish football match, that would be played at their National Stadium.

But, I have been to Hampden Park before.

I was there fifty years ago, when Spurs and Celtic drew 3-3 in the Glasgow Cup. I also suspect that the 91,000 plus crowd was the largest, I’ve ever been part of.

And I was at Hampden to see the athletics in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

I have no view on the historic aspects of the possible move, except that there might be an economic case.

And I also note, France, the Republic of Ireland and Wales all have a stadium, that is shared between football and rugby.

But then Germany and Italy don’t have a national stadium for football.

I can see another big argument between Edinburgh and Glasgow on this decision.

Other the last decade though, transport links between and to and from Scotland’s two major cities have changed.

  • There have been extensions to the road network across Scotland.
  • The rail lines are being electrified and new higher-capacity Class 385 trains are being delivered.
  • Passenger numbers at both Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports have grown.

So at least getting to either stadium is becoming easier.

It will be a difficult decision to call.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment