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Russell Berrisford

Russell Berrisford

Russell’s support of Derby County eventually led him to leave the country. He has lived in Canada since 2007 and currently writes about soccer for The Vancouver Sun. RSS


Empathy for the Official

Written by on April 2, 2012 | 9 Comments »
Posted in The Officials' View

During the Champions League games of last week Bobby tweeted the thought that it would be interesting to see how the television commentators would fare if they were allowed to referee a game every now and then.

Obviously the many upsides of this experiment appealed to me.

The hilarity of watching people who seem to have barely glanced at the laws of the game trying to make split second decisions would be one of them, as would the simple fact that we would no longer have to listen to them while the game was taking place.

But then I became more self-reflective and began to wonder how I would fare if I were given the stopwatch and whistle?

How would any of us who watch the game for enjoyment cope with unique pressure of the role?

The truth is that very few of us can can give an accurate or honest answer to that question because we have never actually experienced what it’s like to be a referee.

Conversely I know for a fact that I would be a disaster playing the holding midfield role for Barcelona because I’ve kicked a ball about on a pitch and have had ample proof that I’m not as good as Mascherano, but I’ve never once tried to make a real live penalty decision at any level so have no idea how that feels or what the difficulties are.

Similarly the playing experience that the vast majority of fans have (no matter what the level) helps to inform them about other aspects of the game.

They know that a forward who has hit the ball high over the bar did so because he was leaning back, they know that a defender who has lost his man has done so because he was watching the ball and not the player.

Yet they are often willing to forgive these transgressions because they themselves have, in some small way, made the same mistakes.

But how many of us really know why a referee missed the pull of a shirt, or awarded a corner when replays clearly show that it was a goal-kick?

How many of us know the correct position that the referee should take at corner kicks or could say with certainty that a crucial decision was missed for a specific reason?

And because we don’t know why these mistakes were made, because we can’t empathise with the referee’s predicament we assign their failure to simple incompetence rather than showing the generosity of spirit that we give to (much more highly paid) players.

How frustrating must it be for the modern-day match officials when so few of us actually have a clue what the role really involves and so many of us are so quick to condemn them?

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Whitecaps Maintain Unbeaten Record

Written by on March 25, 2012 | No Comments »
Posted in DC United, Vancouver Whitecaps

Martin Rennie named an unchanged side for the 0-0 tie with DC United at BC Place on Saturday, and his starting eleven produced a familiar story.

The Whitecaps were once again solid in defence (they have yet to concede a goal this season) yet startlingly lacking in cohesion and ideas going forward.

The good news once again comes from….

To read more on the Vancouver Whitecaps match against DC united click the link to the Vancouver Sun

You can get updates through RSS (top of the page), follow at Twitter BobbySoccerRep, or on Facebook SoccerReportExtra.com

You can also find other Soccer Report Extra.com contributors on Twitter by following this link.

Have some thoughts and opinions you want to express?  The Training Ground is your chance. Just click on the link.

A Most Unusual Title Race

Written by on March 23, 2012 | 4 Comments »
Posted in English Premier League, General

It comes as no surprise that the battle for the English Premier League title has come down to a battle between the two Manchester clubs, after all United are always in the hunt and City have spent many millions in their bid to catch up with their neighbours.

Yet what is surprising  is that for both teams that title is the only piece of silverware that they can win for the remainder of the season.

Both clubs being eliminated from the group stages of the Champions League seemed unlikely when the competition began yet that is exactly what happened, and following that exit there was, for many, the blithe assumption that they would march together towards unhindered Europa Cup “glory”.

That glory though proved to be as elusive as Carlos Tevez when a late substitute is needed as both teams were completely outplayed in just their second tie of the competition.

Read the rest of this entry »




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