Monday, May 10, 2021

Some musings during a period of downtime

I have begun to notice more and more a somewhat bizarre statistic creeping into football reporting and that is the ‘secondary assist’.

That, apparently, is the pass before the pass that leads to a goal.

How ludicrous.  Why would one want to count those?

It may, after all, have been a mis-kick.

I mean, if this trend continues, we’ll end up with the ‘nth assist’ which will be credited to the player who kicked off.

I am reminded of a quotation attributed to Albert Einstein (I can already hear some younger readers asking who he was).

Einstein said:  ““Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count;  everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” 

Why don’t we just count the goals a player scores and give that player the top goal-scorer award at the end of the season?

That’s something that can be counted, and it counts for something.

Okay, it’s all right to talk about someone ‘making’ a goal if it was ‘made’ with a precision pass or a clever piece of play and individual skill, but please spare me the term ‘secondary assist’.

As a reporter, there are many more important things to note and analyse in a game of football.


What else irks me about football at present?

Well, one thing that does is the role and power of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body that introduces changes to the laws of the game.

The IFAB was founded in 1886 and its headquarters are in Zurich, Switzerland.

It comprises the football associations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as FIFA, which acts as the representative of all the other football nations outside the United Kingdom.

Some of the recent changes are inane and it makes one wonder whether any of the people on the IFAB have ever played the game.

The one that currently drives me nuts is the new law regarding the kick-off.

This now usually consists of a player standing over the ball in the middle of the centre-circle but in the opposing half of the field and facing his own team.  When the referee blows the whistle for the start of the game, the player plays the ball back into his own half, often to a player deep in midfield.

The IFAB have bleated for years at how they want to promote attacking football via changes in the laws.

How can this new kick-off law promote attacking football?  Attacking football usually entails playing the ball forward into the opposing half, as the old kick-off law mandated.

The new law is more like gridiron, where the ball is flicked backwards to the quarterback.

Football up until relatively recently, was the perfect game, in my opinion.

Each law had logic behind it and was there for a good reason.

That logic has often been discarded with the introduction in recent times of laws relating to the kick-off, off-side, goal-kicks, ball in play and handball offences.  Some referees are even confused.

Don’t get me started on Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and how that has destroyed the game.

I guess we just have to live with controversial IFAB rulings, but I wish they’d stop ‘dumbing down’ a game which once relied on a bit of intelligence on the part of players.


Thank goodness for the live streaming of NPL Tasmania matches.

I’ve been out of circulation for a while and it’s been a boon for me.

I have nothing but praise for those involved, especially the camera operators.

But, there are areas that need to be improved.

If you want to promote the game to many different audiences, for example, a good place to start would be to have commentary for every game, as was the case in past seasons.

I’m sure Football Tasmania has the funds to pay $50 or so to one or two commentators to cover every game that is live streamed.  We had a great team of commentators from around the State in the past.

I don’t think there would be a shortage of candidates.  It’d be a perfect way for aspiring young football commentators to cut their teeth in a competitive field.

As it stands, most games have no commentary and it’s like watching a silent movie (there are background noises, of course, instead of a piano playing).

That’s just bearable if you follow the NPL Tasmania competition and know the teams and players.

As for the wider audience beyond the Apple Isle’s shores, live-streamed games are probably meaningless and something of a mystery.

It shouldn’t be like that.



Charlie Calthrope said...

Positive musings: still a high level of participation in Tasmanian football together with energetic coverage from Walter and Rhodesy. FT put on a very good show in the north recently with the A-League.

Negative musing: FT still too slow to communicate. 2020 Financial report submitted to ASIC on 16th February 2021 but still not on FT website. Strategic Plan 2019-2023 is mentioned in financial report but not yet released on website. Time for the President to do his job and put some action behind the following words in the financial report:

"The directors believe that appropriate policy and procedures, effective communication that keep all stakeholders educated, informed and aware of our activities, ..... are essential elements of our strategy."

Anonymous said...

Walter the kick off has always been confusing. My guess is that the reason the ball is played back immediately is that the team retains possession. Prior to the law change most teams would pass the ball forward the circumference of the ball to a teammate alongside and then immediately play it back anyway. Its no different.

Brian Young said...

Wrt k.o. Most were illegal anyway. Rarely did players stay in their own half of the field, with the players taking it standing astride, one foot in each half.

Brian Young said...

Young the Devil's Advocate: In the case of an own goal, which player is the scorer and which is the assist(er)?

Anonymous said...

Talk the talk but done walk the walk.

Aslan said...

While you are on the subject of coverage, if there are any of the camera operators reading this thread, can you please give us a wider angle of the play.

We appreciate that you want to give us close ups of the players, but we really want to see the game as a whole.
The off-the-ball runs, the positioning, and general shape of the team, etc.
We can't see any of that with the narrow angle of vision that you give us.

Anonymous said...

Matthew Rhodes and Paul Hunt would be a super pair in commentary be a great partnership .

Walter said...

Anonymous 4.01pm and Brian Young. I take your point, but surely it's up to the referee to enforce the laws. Many don't. A good example is the matter of how long a goalkeeper can hold onto the ball. The law says 6 seconds, but how many referees enforce this? I haven't seen any. Enforcing it would make things very exciting and it would certainly prompt keepers to get rid of the ball quickly.

Anonymous said...

Walter, you read my mind.

When I was reading the section about the laws and rules of the game, the first thing that came into my mind was the rule about how long a goalkeeper could hold into the ball.

So much so that I spent my morning at work looking up this exact rule as I thought that it had been done away with while I was watching the premier league last night.

The goalkeepers seem to hold onto the ball for 20 to 30 seconds each time which was ludicrous.

If the rules are not there to be enforced, then what is the point of having them.

Mr Darcy said...

no comment ...
some numbers do tell a story.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago I did stats on time wasted during a match, about 55% on average was the time wasted, that's more than a complete half!!!! One game I covered had believe it or not 85 throw ins. Some of us may dislike AFL but at least you can't waste time. Maybe how to reduce stoppage time would provide more entertainment and less messing about?

Anonymous said...

Mr Darcy.
When some teams cant play they resort to alternative tactics.

Brian Young said...

Use the NBL method. Signal when the ball is in play by dropping a vertical arm to the horizontal position to restart play. Players could cavort all they like by rolling on the ground & crying. No time would be lost.

Brian Young said...

Keepers claim the ball, then flop forwards with it & wait; it's a timewasting rort.

Anonymous said...

While we are on the subject of goalkeepers, why has the art of catching a ball disappeared.

I was watching the Chelsea and Manchester city game and the Chelsea goalkeeper preferred to "spectacularly" help the ball over the cross bar when it would have been easier to catch it as it was a good height and he had about 4 kilometres to see the ball coming so why not attempt to catch it.
It drives me crazy.
Just catch the bloody thing. Using your hands is meant to be the advantage, not giving up a corner from it.

Granted that the ball has changed over the years and will assist the player shooting more as they tend to swerve more these days but still, give it a go to try and catch it.
Rant over.

Anonymous said...

May 11, 2021 at 9:53 PM

You answered your own question at the end.

Firstly, you probably don't realise how quick the balls are going at the keeper on TV. Nor can the TV probably pick up on the swerve.

Why risk dropping it, when you can safely punch it over the bar?

There is a reason the keeper (Likely Mendy?) is playing EPL.. I would trust him..