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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Raves and Rants – Should All Defensive Fouls In The Penalty Area Be Penalties?

Written by on April 25, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Posted in General

A compilation of some articles and blog postings from the last week.

Matthew Kenny looks at how the British constantly look at football through a pessimistic lens.

Ben Berger looks at statistics and selling MLS.

Richard Williams has this piece on a very under-recognized player of the 50s and 60s. George Eastham took his case to the law courts to break the retain-and-transfer system that tied players to clubs and at the complete discretion of clubs.

Eastham won the case and moved to Arsenal from Newcastle. He was a member of England’s World Cup winning squad in 1966 but never played. A cultured midfield player Eastham moved to Stoke City and was the pivotal figure in their League Cup win in 1972.

Signing up for Liverpool from WSC.

Motherwell will play in this season’s Scottish Cup Final for the first time since 1991. The final of two decades ago was a classic with Motherwell beating Dundee United by the odd goal in seven. Somewhere in my archives I have the game on VHS tape – I think. Roddy Forsyth looks back at Motherwell’s heroes but it was also a squad marked by tragedy.

Jonathan Wilson compares Barcelona 2011 and Milan 1990. 

Paul Doyle puts forward a legitimate question which has been avoided for too long. Should a defensive foul in the penalty area be enough to merit a spot kick?I think this has the basis for a good debate.

There are no limits to Old Firm insanity. My only acknowledgement of the Old Firm game from Sunday.

“Wenger has brought some of this on himself. Nobody likes being told off and Wenger is still the man who made English football feel so chasteningly juvenile when he emerged 15 years ago, single-handedly inventing pasta and stretching, and exposing decisively the myth that drinking lager and jumping up and down in a circle inside a night club called Starzz actually improve performance.”

Barney Ronay writes before the result on Sunday.

Raphael Honigstein on the most unlikely of Champions League semi-finalists, Schalke 04. I stand to be corrected on this one but my recollection is that the worst performance in domestic league play combined with winning the European Cup was by Aston Villa in 1982 when they finished 11th in the old First Division. Schalke are currently 10th in the Bundesliga.

Schalke have already set a new mark be becoming t he lowest ranked side ever to reach the last four. PSV were 17th when they made it to the semi-final round in 2004/05.

As an aside should Schalke fail at the penultimate stage and Real Madrid make it to the final game they will match Inter’s performance last season as the lowest rank team to make it that far. Inter were 10th going into the 2009/10 competition.


“In Africa, we play more physical, and (in America), it’s more about technique,” Alhassan said. “(In Africa), they will not give you time to turn and play whatever you want. They are always (pressuring) you. (In MLS), sometimes, they give you time to turn and play. Sometimes, it’s hard to do what you want to do because the coach wants you to do what he wants.”

Kalif Alhassan of the Portland Timbers with a view of MLS that runs counter to what many would think.

“Mullan punished for sloppy tackle” describes the tackle from Colorado’s Brian Mullen that led to a broken leg for Steve Zakuani and Mullan being sent off. Is there anyone out there who could honestly describe that tackle as sloppy? This is the problem we are going to see more and more as league entities take greater control of their product.


“Tuesday April 12 marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of what is today The Federation de Soccer du Quebec, the governing body of soccer in theprovince of Quebec. To mark the occasion the Federation presented Centennial Medals to 40 individuals who have volunteered their services to soccer in Quebec in recent years. Among those receiving the medal was Colin Jose of London, Ontario whose lengthy research into the history of the game in Montreal is being used to help write a history of the game in Quebec. The book, due to be published in June is being written in French by Matthias Van Halst of Montreal.”

This was passed on by John Vanderkolk – thanks John and congratulations to Colin.

Curmudgeon Corner

Is there anything more pointless than sticking up the possession statistics that covers the last five minutes of play?

Unless it is Barcelona – in which case the lopsided stats are usually normal – the board always shows one side dominating the other.

It is hard to believe that there is a viewer somewhere watching the game wondering if one team has held the ball for 85 or 90 per cent of the time over the last 300 seconds of play.

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2 responses to “Raves and Rants – Should All Defensive Fouls In The Penalty Area Be Penalties?”

  1. You can vote for Soccer Report over at EPL Talk

  2. John Bladen says:

    It is an interesting question, Bobby.

    While I am loathe to encourage any change that results in more “judgment” calls (not every official will exercise his/her judgment in the same manner, and sometimes will even lack consistency in that respect in a single game), I can see both sides of it.

    Rather than allow officials to more freely interpret intent within the area, I’d prefer to see match officials instructed to issue a card for attempts to draw a foul more often. Very little in the game (violent fouls) troubles me more than attacking players who have a decent scoring chance trying to improve their odds by swan diving to draw a penalty. That rule (yellow for diving) is already in place, let’s see it used. Every time someone goes down (barring absolute falls, obviously) in the box, I want to see a card come out. If it’s a second yellow, too bad. They already have “no prisoners’ when it comes to removing shirts or jumping into the stands, so why not this? It affects the game much more than some dimwit showing off his abs (or whatever, in Gascoigne’s case…)

    I think Doyle’s plan for the discretionary awarding of PK’s for violent fouls outside the box is a good one, though. Down to ten men and give up a pk… now that is a deterrent.

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