The goal that wasn’t

Here’s an article from Nat, one of our posters on the forum, about the weekend’s goings on at Ashton Gate.


Saturday. Ashton Gate, Bristol. 3.30pm approx.

Bristol City vs. Crystal Palace

On-loan Palace striker Freddie Sears closes in on goal. He shoots from just inside the area, and the ball flies past the Bristol Goalkeeper and into the base of the inside side-netting before bouncing out. The Palace players celebrate Sears’ first goal for the club whilst the City players dejectedly prepare themselves for the match’s re-start.

Except the Referee doesn’t give the goal. Despite being in a good position to view the incident, he has presumably decided it has hit the inside of the post and bounced away from goal. The Palace players and officials understandably go ballistic. The Bristol City players don’t spurn this unexpected opportunity of clemency and go on to win ‘1-0’ in the last minute through Nicky Maynard.

The incident re-opens up a huge can of worms; the issue of technology in football, in this case the more prevalent issue of goal line technology. Now I’m not one who is in favour of overindulging every aspect of our game to be deciphered by technology. I am of the opinion that in football you should be generally willing to accept bad decisions and move on from there.

However, for me this is the exception to that train of thought. A goal being mistakenly given or not given has a direct implication on a team’s general performance in a season. As has been said by man a pundit already, it obviously could ultimately lead to a team being relegated or promoted. These decisions could give or lose a club a lot of money. In an era of such technological advancement, to not use such a simple method to ultimately settle what is becoming a regular and potentially important dispute is farcical.

There are two more side issues to this incident as well. The first one centering around the Referee, a Mr Shoebridge. From what I can see, he was in a good position to have a clear view of this incident, so full marks to him in that regard. For me there is nothing more infuriating than a Referee hindered by the fact he is out of position.

However, the upshot of my first comment is that, if the Referee is in such a good position to see the ‘goal’ then why couldn’t he give it. The basic replays I have seen suggest that it was a good foot over the line at least. Why could he not see this? Even if he wasn’t sure about the legitimacy of the goal, then surely the reactions of both set of players told him everything. The fact that he was so sure it wasn’t a goal surely calls his decision making and maybe even his eyesight into question.

I’m not one for haranguing Referees at every opportunity. I believe that it is easy for us to criticize them when we usually have many different views repeatedly available for any incident in a game, whereas they have to make a snap decision from one angle. However, the fact that this Referee clear botched an easy decision when he was in such a decent position surely undermines his future performances; if he cannot get that one right, what correct calls does he make?

The other issue raised by this is the issue of sportsmanship, or lack of perhaps on Saturday. Bristol City’s players evidently knew it was a goal if their reaction in the immediate aftermath was anything to go by. The officials affiliated with the club probably knew it was a goal because it was such an easy incident to see. Surely they could’ve let Palace score; it would’ve quelled a lot of understandable bitterness in the Palace camp and perhaps would diffused the situation totally. The fact that they didn’t looks very badly on them; they have for want of a better term, legitimately cheated their way to victory.

Discuss this post, and other items, in the Joys and Sorrows Forum.


11 Comments on The goal that wasn’t

  1. Ugh. Idiotic post from somebody who clearly wasn’t there to obtain the slightest bit of context.

    Consider it from a different angle.

    Team A scores a goal on the first half of a game. The linesman flags it for offside so the ‘goal’ is chalked off. TV replays show the striker was 5 yards onside and Team B – the opposition – see this at half time. By not allowing Team A to walk the ball into the goal at the restart of the second half is this a) cheating, or b) accepting a referees decision and getting on with the game?

    I can’t remember this type of clamour when Roy Carroll scooped the ball out of the back of the net for Man Utd against Spurs when it was clear to everyone – even without the need for tv replays – that the ball was 4 foot into the goal mouth. Now that could be argued as cheating – not as simply abiding by the referees whistle.

  2. You have completely invalidated your story by failing to get your facts correct. The ‘goal’ was disallowed for an infringment (spotted by the linesman) in the build up play, not because the referre thought it hadnt gone into the net. To single out Bristol City and suggest the players and staff are unsportsmanlike is harsh, unfounded and unrealistic. Do you expect every incorrect decision to be nullified by an uncompetitve response to level the field?

  3. Well, here we go again. Don’t you just love people who describe themselves as I’m not one who usually………. but on this occasion…”

    Nat has managed to do this, not once but twice in the same article here. (In fact, he nearly did three times, if you read between the lines of his final paragraph.)

    Let’s leave to one side, whether or not Nat is “one who is in favour of overindulging every aspect of our game to be deciphered by technology” the fact remains that in this instance, in his opinion, these particular decisions should be left to modern technology – in fact, he even goes as far as to state that it would be farcical to do otherwise

    So, we are left with the choice, do we use technology, or don’t we? It is no use arguing that we only use it for one particular scenario because we will all have our own opinions as to what is important enough to warrant the use of technology and, I would suggest, that opinion would change from week to week, depending on the latest incident to put “my” team at a disadvantage.

    If we decide to allow technology, we must accept that it will change the game forever, not withstanding the question of how we stop the game while the technology decides the answer. e.g. If we stop the game, then find out it was NOT a goal, how do we re-start, how do we compensate for loss of / gain of advantage. Suppose we do not stop the game and allow play to continue, resulting in a goal for the other side – do we then rule that the second “goal” is disallowed. Either way, you can see that it will not take long for the game – as a whole – to descend into farce.

    Don’t think that it will end with goal line decisions either. Once technology is allowed in, it will slowly invade other aspects of the game, after all, if it can be used to determine goals, then why not use it to determine whether a foul was inside or outside the penalty area? If a player crosses the ball from the goal-line, leading to a goal, why not use it to determine if the ball had gone over the goal-line or if the player had kept it in play? The list goes on and eventually, all aspects of the game will be open to technology, with the consequent disruption to the flowing nature in which the game is supposed to be played.

    For those of you who think that technology can be chained and only applied to your own particular dislike, just look at the history of the substitute. First let me admit that I am old enough to remember the time when substitutes were not allowed, for any reason. The eleven players who started the game where the same eleven who finished the game – unless some was injured, in which case you had to battle on with ten men or less, depending on how many were injured or sent off.

    Then the laws of the game were changed to allow ONE substitute only, in the case of injury. Teams started to abuse this and players were instructed to feign injury to enable the sub to come on. Gradually, the laws were changed until we arrived at the current situation whereby we now have up to three players substituted for whatever reason and there is talk of even increasing this to five. No-one can argue that these changes have not altered the game – whether or not the change has been for the better or the worse is a matter of opinion. By all means debate the issue of technology but – don’t kid yourself that it will not have a great effect on the game as it is played today and, be prepared for the fact that this change may or may not improve/ruin the game we all love.

    The second point Nat makes is about the referee. When someone starts a sentence with the words, “I’m not one for haranguing referees at every opportunity.”, don’t you just KNOW that the rest of what follows, is going to be just one long haranguing session, no matter how understanding they try to appear. If you disagree with the referee, then so be it. It is your opinion and you have every right to express it, but please, don’t try to justify your criticism by saying it something you don’t usually do. After all, how often do you actually bother to write such a long piece extolling the virtues of a referee. “I am not one for praising referees at every opportunity but…”

    Nat’s final paragraph with its thinly veiled plea for fair-play and honesty – it just ain’t gonna happen. You mentioned yourself about the amount of money that can be won or lost by a dodgy decision, to expect players and clubs to willingly sacrifice that money by giving a goal to the opposition is extremely wishful thinking, although it would be nice.

  4. Sorry Taz, but I disagree with this age old argument that technology will somehow stunt the fluidity of the modern game. It is used to fine effect in other major world sports such as cricket, tennis, rugby and American Football and I don’t see the reason why it cannot be used to great effect to combat the blight of the game – inept match officials.

    We really are a technophobic group of people, football fans, we seem to take an instant dislike to anything we don’t quite understand with the argument that it will ruin our game.

    Referees get away with far too many bad decisions, which hold the risk of costing teams MILLIONS of pounds at the end of the season whilst the offending referee gets a slap on the wrist. In the current financial climate, with clubs going under left, right and centre – those extra millions could be vital to whether a club lives or dies. Referees should not have THAT kind of power.

    Sorry, but on this occasion, I have to agree that goal-line technology and instant replays are a must.

  5. Two quick points Kaje.
    1st. You have absolutely no need to apologise for disagreeing with me. Many people do. 🙂

    2nd. You assume that I am opposed to technology coming into the game. If you read what I have written, rather than what you think I have written you will see that all I am saying is that we should think very deeply about the issue, not just embrace it wholeheartedly because it appears to solve an immediate problem. After all, I did say that we should have the debate but, we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that the use of technology will have no effect on the way the game is played.

    You mention some games (cricket, tennis, rugby and american Football) where technology has successfully been assimilated into the sport but, you conveniently forget to add that, unlike football, these games all have frequent natural breaks in the game where officials can study the evidence. This does not happen in football.

  6. Nat is a plonka.

    The ball was more than a foot over the line……it hit the stanchion at the back of the goal. I think we should be awarded the game 3-0.

  7. Taz, of course we get natural breaks in the game. Throw-ins, corners, fouls, offsides. They could all be used to look at footage and make decisions, or, whilst *insert Manchester United player here* is rolling around on the floor after being blown on, the footage could be consulted.

    You could even have a new member of the officials, a video replay technician who views the footage and reports to the referee on the fly to minimise the stoppage time!

    Ways and means!

  8. Maybe I should clear one or two things up.

    Firstly I’m not condemning Bristol City for their course of action within a game. I did think today about how I would’ve reacted had the same happened against my team if I was playing, and in my heart of hearts I couldn’t decide. However the ideal situation for me would’ve been for you to let the goal be scored. It does look badly on you that you have effectively stole three points.

    I don’t buy the argument that there was an infringement and that was why it was disallowed. I’m sorry but if that was the case it would’ve been cleared up with that explanation by now. The fact was it was a grave error of judgement and could’ve been recitified. Your own players knew what had happened, you only need to look at their immediate reactions to see this.

    To the poster who talked about the time delay in decision making with technology, we are already experiencing these delays on the increasingly regular occasions match officials confer with eachother, but they aren’t having huge effects on the pace of a game, even though these conferences can last up to around half a minute-do you really think it would take much longer than that to see if a ball has crossed a goaline?

    And comparing it to the introduction of substitutes bewilders me to be honest. I don’t see the relavence.

  9. about time delay in referee decision making with tv technology. if you watch the incident the referee spoke to his linesman a good 2 minutes, is that not time delaying ? there would be no difference to talk to 4th official with a monitor.

  10. Spot on, Steve. People don’t seem to realise that we have those breaks during games when something controversial happens, there is always a period of a couple of minutes where the 4th official could easily consult a replay of the incident, before relaying the decision back to the referee.

  11. We’ll be having popcorn, hot dogs and root beer next……mmm….Beer!…… And don’t forget the cheerleaders. Ra!

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