It turns out what is good for the goose is not good for the Gosling.
Referees should take foul-mouthed, bar-room, finger-pointing, foam-flecked, abuse from overpaid, playacting, cheating professional footballers but should not be allowed to reply with a ‘sarky’ comment.
Dan Gosling, a £30,000-a-week, well-respected, seemingly honest midfielder with a very decent, commendable career at Plymouth, Everton, Newcastle United, Blackpool and Bournemouth to his name, feels the need to tell Jonathan Moss to apologise.
For what, exactly?
For not turning a deaf ear to the rantings of run-of-the-mill footballers who have failed to con honest officials?
For returning a bit of lip to characters whose wash bags weigh in at the cost of a referee’s weekly wage?
For biting back at behaviour that sees referees abused by junior and Sunday league players inspired by their idols?
For being verbal punchbags for players trying to deflect attention from their own inadequacies?
There are many reasons why you might question Moss’s suitability to still be a top-flight referee.
Not mobile enough, past his best (you might or might not think the same of Gosling, as it happens).
But having a pop back at mouthy footballers is not one of them.
Presumably, the remarks made by Moss that so offended Gosling were not unprompted.
Indeed, it seems Gosling suggested the standard of Moss's officiating was one of the factors behind Bournemouth being in relegation trouble.
“I’m not the reason you are in relegation trouble – you are,” Moss is said to have retorted.
And surely no right-minded judge would disagree.
Even allowing for refereeing vagaries, winning seven of 26 games and scoring an average of one goal per match are probably the reasons Bournemouth are in relegation trouble.
If Gosling does not like Moss telling him a home truth or two – and if you are of the opinion referees should keep schtum for fear of suggesting any bias – then there is an alternative.
During the Bundesliga winter break, German FA officials decided they had become fed up with dissent.
The directive went out for refs to clamp down on it and take no lip.
Early in the second half of a game between RB Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach, Alassane Plea angrily claimed he had been fouled by Marcel Sabitzer.
Tobias Stieler booked Plea and the Mönchengladbach striker responded by making a dismissive hand gesture.
Stieler sent him off.
None of the Moss-Gosling style discourse there. Oh no. Is that what Gosling wants? Then good.
Because, despite numerous half-hearted campaigns, dissent remains a disease in the game.
A disease with implications that are not taken seriously.
When, after his assistant suggested Raheem Sterling should have been given a yellow card for diving, a smiling Jose Mourinho suddenly dashed from his bucket seat to give the fourth official pelters during Tottenham’s recent home win over Manchester City, the clip went viral.
And the overall gist of the comments was … good old Jose, please don’t change.
No, please carry on setting an example that says angrily berating the impartial men and women who allow the game to take place is the way to go.
This is why referees at grassroots level continue to be assaulted, verbally and sometimes physically.
So maybe Gosling has a point. Maybe referees should not trade insults and taunts with players. Maybe Moss was ‘a disgrace’ as the Bournemouth player claimed.
Maybe next time, Moss should say nothing and hand out instant card justice to anyone who tries to undermine his authority or question his integrity.
Just like German referees are now doing.
And maybe then, players such as Gosling will concentrate on trying to lift their own performances rather than blame honest officials for their own expensive shortcomings.
Moeen picking and choosing is not the best look
Moeen Ali played a key role in England’s victory in the one day international against South Africa last Sunday.
He also featured in Wednesday’s T20 defeat in East London.
But he will not be on the two-Test tour of Sri Lanka next month.
The reason? He does not want to be there.
While his reasons have to be completely respected, picking and choosing when and where you represent your country is still not the best look.
Predictable bleating about Tiger Roll handicap
Entirely predictably, Eddie O’Leary – brother of Michael, Ryanair supremo – has been bleating about the weight allocated to Tiger Roll for this year’s Grand National.
The winner of the great race two years on the spin, the O'Leary-owned Tiger Roll also has four Cheltenham Festival wins to his name.
What did the Ryanair boys expect? Some sort of priority boarding to tempt them to rock up?
They have the chance to make history with Tiger Roll. If they choose to go for it, great. It will be a special occasion.
If they do not, the wider budget-airline-bracket public will not give a toss.
It will still be a special occasion.
One born every minute
Manny Pacquiao, 41 and a long way past his best, has signed with the management company that also looks after Conor McGregor, top UFC practitioner and white collar boxer.
It has raised the possibility of a boxing match between the two. Trying to sell the fight, promoters would presumably be working on the belief of 19th century circus magnate PT Barnum.
‘There’s a sucker born every minute.”
Bizarrely, they would probably be right.
Winter breaking point
So, Manchester City will go 16 days without a game and then play six matches – including a Champions League double-header against La Liga leaders Real Madrid, a Wembley cup final and a derby at Old Trafford – inside 21 days.
Not sure English football has quite got the hang of this winter break lark.
Beeb has a duty to promote athletics
If Laura Muir and Adam Gemili walked into your local tonight, how many punters would be scrambling for a selfie?
In other words, how many people would recognise two of Team GB’s top medal hopes for Tokyo 2020?
Mo Farah would probably be mobbed and Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson might get the odd double-take but that is about it.
Britain’s athletes, less than eight years after the feelgood Olympics of 2012, are, generally speaking, a low-key bunch.
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