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Monday Moan: A to Z of irritations

Monday 15th October 2012 13:09

Suarez: Sometimes down too easily

Suarez: Sometimes down too easily

Mark Holmes breaks up the boredom of the international break with an A to Z of football's irritations in his latest Monday Moan blog.

Usually I rant and rave about whatever has wound me up over the past seven days, but the international break has given me the chance to think about the things that annoy me about the game as a whole.

Have a read of my A-Z then send in your own using the story comment facility at the bottom.

Anti-football: Has there ever been a more bizarre phrase in football? It is usually given to a lesser team that has 'stopped' a top one from playing. This ghastly act entails them making tackles, defending well, and in the absolute worst cases causing problems for the opposition via those disgusting set pieces and long balls. Funnily enough, it is a phrase only ever applied when said lesser team takes points off the big one.

Bands: If there is anything more annoying at a football ground than someone banging a drum for 90 minutes, I am yet to see it.

Card-happy referees: Perhaps my complaint should be with the rules rather than the referees, but it isn't half frustrating seeing a game ruined by nine or 10 yellow cards without a bad tackle in sight. Football moves closer to becoming a non-contact sport with every passing season.

Diving: There are many different types of dives, and they're all as bad as each other as far as I'm concerned. If you go down when you could stay up, you've cheated. If you leave a leg trailing to make sure a defender touches you, you're not clever, you're a cheat. If you hit the deck without a defender in sight then you're a cheat and should be sent off. What annoys me even more than the divers themselves, though, is the people that say players are 'entitled' to go down under contract. Like I say, football is becoming a non-contact sport.

English players: England haven't looked remotely like winning a tournament since 1996. The cream of our crop is so far behind Spain, Germany and countless other nations that even the media realised we had no chance of winning the recent European Championships.

Yet there continues to be a huge premium placed on the heads of average English players. What's worse, many managers actually believe the hype themselves, shopping almost exclusively in the British market despite the fact they could get a player twice as good for half the price if they dared to look overseas.

Feigning injury: Seeing a player dive is bad enough, but watching them rolling around the pitch in apparent agony only to get up 10 seconds later is even worse. Funnily enough, the sudden improvement in health often comes after the 'offender' is shown a card.

Glory hunters: I've got no problem with overseas followers of Premier League teams, many of whom also support their local side, but I've got no respect whatsoever from those that chose to follow a team like Manchester United or Liverpool over their local Football League side. It's leeches like this that tell me they don't know how I can possibly watch Stoke every week. It's called support.

Harassing referees: Players will often say they 'wouldn't want to be a referee', so tough is their job. You could have fooled me - a great deal of them seem to want to officiate games they're actually playing in! A word in the referee's ear here, a card wave there and a good old-fashioned team huddle around the man in the middle - all actions which should result in a booking.

International breaks: Has anyone enjoyed the past week? Many of us missed out on going to a game over the weekend because England were playing San bloody Marino. This is already the second international break of the season, and next month England play Sweden in a friendly, a friendly! The international fixture list needs to be cut in half - at least.

Jesters hats: For some unknown reason, getting to Wembley can make usually sensible folk dress up like mentalists. It's all a bit of fun, but the staple of any mentalist's wardrobe on cup-final day is the annoyingly-big jester's hat. The chances are they will have a curly wing, flag and air horn, too. In other words, said mentalist will completely ruin the 90 minutes for you.

Kits: Wigs and hats are bad enough, but how has any grown man ever convinced himself that dressing up in a full kit was a good idea? Purely by coincidence, these people always seem to go to games by themselves.

Leaving early: A tiny percentage of people have good reasons for leaving a game early, but thousands do it purely to beat the rush away from the stadium. Would you leave the cinema or theatre early to get a quick exit from the car park? No, so don't moan if you miss your team's late winner.

Music after goals: Any club that plays music after goals has rubbish fans. End of.

Not celebrating: If a player does not celebrate after scoring against a club he made 500 appearances for, I can accept it. But if a player decides not to celebrate 'out of respect' for a team he served for a season or two, I'll just assume they can't handle a few chants from the stands.

Officiating criticism: Referees make mistakes. Assistant referees make mistakes. And when it costs your team, it's incredibly hard to take. However, referees get a ridiculous amount of unfair criticism. They are paid a fraction of what footballers are paid yet Howard Webb will get 10 times the amount of criticism for missing a bad tackle that Wayne Rooney will get for missing a simple 10-yard chance. Referees, like everyone else, will always make mistakes and everybody needs to accept that.

Punditry: I don't know if this is a worldwide phenomenon, but the standard of football punditry in this country, Gary Neville aside of course, is a joke. Did Alan Shearer ever have any sort of interview or screen test, or did the BBC just chuck a load of money at him because he's a 'name'? He's just one of many pundits that earn millions of pounds for telling you what Big Dave could tell you for free in the Horse and Jockey.

Qualifiers: Following on from my moan about international breaks, surely the qualifying procedures for major tournaments needs changing? I'm all for small teams being given a chance, but the likes of San Marino are never, ever, ever going to take points off teams like England. The two games between the teams are completely and utterly pointless. Surely it would make sense to create a separate tournament for the world's lowest-ranked sides? That would give them a chance of actually winning a few games and mean a lot less fixtures for the world's top sides. Win-win.

Rumours: There's no doubt the transfer window is exciting, but it has the unfortunate habit of driving normally sensible people insane. Every time they hear a rumour, they believe it. If the player linked with their team is bad, they get angry with the manager for chasing such a no-hoper. And if the player linked is good, they spend weeks praying the transfer happens, moaning with every passing day that it's taking too long to complete. If the player then joins another club, it's time for the manager to be sacked.

Sitting back: You would assume that scoring a goal would give a team confidence, but it seems to have the opposite effect for many. Even if they have dominated the entire game until that point, scoring can sometimes convince teams that their best tactic from thereon in is to sit on the edge of your box, defend for their lives and hope for the best. And then rue their luck when the other team scores an injury-time equaliser.

Twitter: I've got no problem with players using Twitter. It's nice to get an insight into their lives and personalities, and most footballers use it to good effect. What I can't stand is the mock outrage every time a player dares to use a swear word or rises to a bit of baiting from opposition fans. 'This is why they shouldn't be allowed on Twitter' etc etc. If anyone has ever been genuinely outraged by something a footballer has said on a social networking site, I pity you.

Unfair distribution of money: This is a historical moan, but I firmly believe English football was ruined the day top-flight clubs decided to keep all the money from the first Sky TV deal to themselves. That deal should have benefited the game as a whole, but the big clubs made sure it would only make them bigger, and the rest smaller.

Venky's: It is not easy running a football club. Unfortunately, it is rather easier to buy one, and that has led to mad-cap owners running clubs into the ground up and down the country. Venky's are the poster boys for all terrible owners.

Wages: I have no problem with the best footballers in the world earning what they do. Golfers, F1 drivers and basketball stars are paid crazy amounts so why shouldn't the top footballers benefit in the same way? It's lower down the food chain where there is a real problem, with mediocre players earning five figures a week from clubs that can't afford to pay it but have to, to stay competitive.

Xenophobia: When it comes to football, our country really lives up to its 'Little England' mentality. As mentioned earlier, many managers believe it's a risk to sign players from abroad, and the vast majority of English players would not dream of joining an overseas club. Most fans, meanwhile, would not dream of watching a game from Germany or France and were recently amazed by the performance of Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund against Manchester City. Believe it or not, football does exist outside of the UK.

Yellow: The colour yellow is at the heart of two minor irritations for me which highlight unnecessary change in football. The first was the change from orange to less-visible yellow balls, and the second was the day the first club introduced a non-green goalkeeper's kit. Yellow, red, blue, multi-coloured - it's madness I tell you, madness!

Zonal marking criticism: Roughly 10% of all goals scored in football come from corner kicks. For the vast majority of those goals, the defending team utilises standard, man to man marking. Little is said - the goalscorer probably 'did well' to escape his marker. But woe betide any team that concedes from a corner kick when using zonal marking. It doesn't matter if it's the first goal you've conceded from a corner in five years - this one goal you've just conceded is a clear sign that zonal marking does not work. The oldest of old-school defenders will tell you why.

You can find me on Twitter @Homzy.

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