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The thing that amazes me the most about the poor standard of refereeing is not that so many of the refs and linos are dreadful, but there are assessors regularly situated in the stand, performance assessing these officials.
How on earth people like Stroud, or Stuart Attwell, or Trevor Kettle for instance, can still be refereeing after over 10 years of consistently bad performances is beyond me. There aren't many walks of life where you can be that bad at your job for that long, yet still sustain a career.
The problem goes far wider than just what goes on on the field of play imo.
Keith's article is long and rambling, and I don't think he really nails what it is he wanted to say.
But, reading between the lines, at least part of it is aimed at the "Plan B" brigade, the moaners for whom 14 wins or thereabouts per season (and therefore guaranteed safety) in the PL, whilst playing wonderful football, was never enough.
And he'd be right to have a pop and all.
They're still about even now, at every home game. People who just don't get it. Who groan at any pass that doesn't go in a forward direction. They don't, and never will, appreciate the difference between objectively clever and efficient football, and tedious percentages hoofball.
Fair enough, it takes all sorts I guess and maybe not everyone wants to (or can) understand what they're seeing on a deeper tactical and technical level. But I find it hard to criticise Keith for calling them out, because they will never be happy and they will always hold the club back by tolerating or trying to justify the approach of limited coaches like Cooper, Monk, Clement and so on, peas in the same pod.
I loved the last 6 or 7 minutes. We kept the ball for fun, kept trying to make the pitch big, kept pushing up.
People mistakenly talk about bravery in football when someone does a sliding tackle or sticks their head in where it hurts - there is some truth in that, but having the courage to play your football and keep hold of the ball against a very good side, that is what I call real bravery.
We've come on light years since Cooper was in charge. The team is barely recognisable - and all for the better.
Loving this ride - win, lose or draw, we have our identity back and that's what matters.
So we lost today. Fair enough. Birmingham are a decent side. Certainly not relegation fodder.
All in all, we've had a good week.
We are only 2 months in to a season where the turnover of players has been huge, and a new coach who only came in during the week leading up to the first game.
I think we've actually done really well, considering. All whilst radically altering the style of play to something far more easier on the eye.
There'll be plenty more Birminghams.
There'll also be plenty more Cardiffs and West Broms.
Keep the faith, and enjoy the ride.
Statement victory and performance tonight, and cast iron proof that the Cardiff game wasn't a one off.
We are improving all the time, the players are slowly having the Cooper coached out of them and you can see the benefits of that week on week. That, out there these days, is a happy team enjoying themselves.
I still expect us to have the odd Preston or Blackburn, but there will be plenty of West Broms and Cardiffs to come as well. I suspect more of the latter than the former the longer the season goes on.
Martin is taking us on a journey, ride the waves and enjoy it 😎