We say to managers they have a responsibility, and very often the spirit of the side mirrors the manager's image, as in Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest team. He has an influence albeit a bit more limited one these days because of the money the players get. But there are certain areas he has no control over: you can't blame a manager for a player swinging a fist in the middle of an emotional game. We keep saying to Gordon Taylor [of the PFA] that he's got to whip the players into shape.
I don't know that the problem's any different from what it used to be, it's just highlighted more. Things have always gone on in the tunnel. I don't see what you can do about it; emotions are still running high as you come off the pitch, you don't calm down until you've reached the dressing-room. The play-acting was brought in from abroad. We used to be honest about those things, then we'd go abroad and they were diving all over the place. So you join the bandwagon. Now it's part of the game.
Former international referee
Referees used to be able to have a quiet word with a player and use their discretion. Now they appear to have no discretionary powers. Players have lost a lot of respect and even managers don't have control of them any more. Professional referees? I always used to say I was a professional referee as well as a part-time butcher. One positive step is that the Football League now has refereeing co-ordinators who liaise between referees and managers. They're bridging that gap and it works very well.
The main thing is probably to get the players to be more grown- up. It would also help if managers took a stronger line, rather than saying they couldn't see what happened from where they were sitting. Managers should tell the players what's expected of them and if they let the side down they shouldn't be blindly defended. They also have to realise that if there are incidents in training then... there are fans there and videos being taken, and everything is likely to surface.
FA chief executive
I don't think the situation is any worse now than it's ever been. What's happened is that there have been a number of incidents in high- profile matches. The problem of incidents in the tunnel-area will be discussed with managers, players and referees at the next meeting we have with them. We've always worked very hard through the National School to implant good habits among young players there and will continue to do so at the new academies which are being set up.
PFA chief executive
The appeal I'd make is that the game has to be bigger than any individual. In particular, make sure you adhere to the spirit of the law. This will only survive as a sport if we remember the greater duty of respect for fellow professionals. For incidents in the tunnel, I'd suggest either that the fourth official looks after that area or even that the referee makes sure the teams come off separately. And a final measure would be to have a closed-circuit camera in the tunnel.
INTERVIEWS: STEVE TONGUEReuse content