Thursday saw the start of Uefa's experiment with additional officials behind the goal-line, which meant there were six in the Europa Cup match at Goodison Park I watched on TV.
My first thought was where are they going to get all these extra officials, of the required quality, from? The biggest problem is the fact they have never played the game, so you'll probably get a situation where a guy behind the goal gets it wrong as well as the ref. The second thought was how would we get everyone – six officials, an assessor, plus the captain and manager of both sides – into the referee's room at Selhurst Park when we exchange teams pre-match? There's not a cat in hell's chance. We have to edge in sideways as it is.
The extra officials spotted a few things at Everton, like the corner for the second goal, but none of them spotted Juanfran kicking Louis Saha before the striker retaliated and got sent off. In general, I can't see anything other than problems. If, for example, the referee gives a penalty and the extra assistant behind the goal thinks he's dived, does the ref have to change his decision when he thinks it's definitely a penalty?
I know an extra official would have probably spotted Freddie Sears' goal at Bristol City – and those three points would come in handy now – but so would have goal-line technology. Why on earth does Fifa not bring it in? The refs, their supremo Keith Hackett, players and managers all want it. It would only be for goal-line disputes, everything else, like penalties, will always be down to the referee's interpretation and the more officials involved, the more interpretations there will be. Officials are human, they will make mistakes, however many there are.
2. Dismal display drains the colour from William's face
It's been a depressing week for me as a manager. It started with the most disastrous second-half performance I've had in my career against Scunthorpe. At half-time, 1-0 down, I gave what I thought was a great team talk telling them we could win three or four-one. We lost 4-0 and by the end I was grateful for the whistle.
I felt terrible afterwards. You can imagine how much I enjoyed facing the press, knowing a few were waiting to hang me. But I've never ducked a press conference so I turned up eventually. When I got home I just wanted to put my head in the oven, but we've got electric, not gas, so that wouldn't have worked.
Even William was really glum. I said to him, "Don't be too down, it's not your fault." He said, "I know, it's just you promised a chameleon when we won our next game." The week didn't get any better for William, or me. On Tuesday we rolled up at Loftus Road looking to put everything behind us but the heavens opened and flooded the pitch.
It was impossible for the ref to play the game. We had to do an inspection but, though it was tipping down, I thought, "I can't take a brolly, not after the stick Steve McClaren got".
By the time I got back on the bus I was like a drowned rat. I said to Jose Fonte, "Jose, you were absolutely brilliant tonight, you never put a foot wrong. I want you to continue like that all season."
Then the transfer embargo was imposed on the club again. But you've got to be positive, there's enough negativity in football. The challenge is turning it around.
3. Six-match bans can stop divers bringing game down
It's also been a bad week for football – though not as bad as it has been for Formula One. I was appalled Uefa repealed Eduardo's ban, that's put football back years. We'll now see more diving than ever. I listened to our League Managers' Association chief, Richard Bevan, who has been a breath of fresh air, talking about diving in a debate about the subject. Richard said the only way to thwart it would be for managers, here and abroad, to coach their players not to do it. While I believe he means well, there's no chance.
I love Arsenal, I love watching them play, but no one can convince me Eduardo (below) did not look immediately for that penalty. Anyone who's played football knows he went to get the pen, irrespective of what he says. Now he's been let off all managers will be encouraging their players to dive, because if that's legal, why not chance it?
Of course only the top clubs, here and abroad, will get them. So I suppose nothing's changed.
I still believe only retrospective six-match bans will stop diving, with a panel of experts judging video evidence. I don't blame the refs, they need help. It usually takes several viewings to spot a good dive.
Despite all that, I was jumping up and down with William watching Arsenal's midweek comeback. I missed the first half because William was at our academy. The poor little lad was shattered. Unfortunately the under-nines train on Monday and Wednesday, the same days he does rugby at school. We've got mum saying, "He can't be doing his reading when he's this tired", and me saying he has to go to the academy. So I've told William, "Don't tell mum you're worn out after football, pretend you're full of energy."
4. Adebayor's antics leave Hughes in a hole
We've also had the Adebayor incident. Quite apart from the risk of seriously injuring someone, as a manager you immediately think how stupid he was. Mark Hughes needs him. It's Man United away tomorrow, half his attackers are injured, and now his main striker is suspended. It was totally irresponsible. As for his goal celebration, I know he was caught up in the atmosphere but I had the pleasure of watching Arsenal three times last year and I certainly didn't see him making a 90-yard sprint then, and especially not towards his own goal.
He was an absolute liability for Arsenal last year and now he's trying to show what he could have done if he'd been loved. Well, fans aren't daft. He got a new contract after holding a gun to the club's head then never broke sweat. No wonder the fans turned on him. Not that that justifies people throwing stuff.
Managers get a lot of stick, and for some reason I've always received plenty. I usually try and react with a smile and be sociable. I don't mind 99 per cent of the stuff thrown at me, it's often quite humorous. It's different if it's personal stuff about the family, but I don't have a problem with my parentage being questioned. I remember it getting a bit strong in a few places and calling a steward over, but when you see someone 6ft 6in and three foot wide, breathing through his nose and ears, with sweat dripping off his nose and shouting, it's no wonder stewards think twice about arresting them, I don't think I'd fancy it.
I remember one match at Belle Vue, Doncaster Rovers' old ground, when I was Notts County manager. There were two lads by the dugout giving me masses of stick, really personal, and I eventually gave some back. I wasn't abusive, it was just something like, "Why don't you take a running jump?" A few days later I got a letter from the FA charging me with misconduct after one of these idiots had written to complain. I couldn't believe it. I wrote back pleading not guilty and pointing out there was a fourth official and a policeman in earshot and neither thought I'd done anything untoward.
I was found guilty in my absence and fined. Ever since I've always asked for a personal hearing whenever I've been charged with anything.
What does upset me is seeing parents going absolutely daft when they've got their kids with them. What kind of example is that to set? It's often people in suits as well.
5. Clattenburg holds head high in City pressure cooker
Going back to Man City-Arsenal, the Adebayor incidents overshadowed, for me, what a good performance Mark Clattenburg put in as ref. I thought he was superb when he first came on the scene, then it seemed it went to his head a bit, but after the enforced break he had he looks back to his best. He refereed with humility and treated players with respect. I know he missed the stamp, but so did I when I first saw it. It was a game with so much going on you'll never see everything. I hope he keeps his feet on the ground this time, we need refs like him.
6. No Turkish delight for Rooney but what passion
People seem to be getting excited about Wayne Rooney throwing a strop when he was substituted playing in Turkey on Tuesday. Personally, I loved it, it's great to see a player who cares that much about being involved. It's only when they throw their boots at you, you have a problem.
7. Amy lifts my spirits by tickling the ivories again
The only bright spots in this miserable week were the kids. I was delighted to hear Amy wants to have piano lessons without being bribed to do so. I love listening to her play but she stopped 18 months ago. Sharon plays and her mum used to teach piano, so it runs in one side of the family.
Apologies for the lack of laughs, it's not been that kind of week.Reuse content