A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

By Mark Daniell
Nov 28th, 2008

Ah well… Good old Bordeaux, eh? Good for them. Anyway moving on, let’s deal with more important issues, namely: You Are The Ref!

That’s right; I was watching the Blackburn game in Australia when I suddenly found a pang of sympathy for the man in black. Picture the scene: Anelka is through on goal, only the keeper to beat, he dinks the ball and his trailing leg is tapped, lightly. The ball is staying in and should he stay on his feet, he will surely score. At this point he has two options: stay up and score, or fall, see the keeper sent off, and then score the penalty.

Now I know this all sounds a little contrived and cynical, but these You Are The Ref things have to introduce unusual scenarios, and this situation is a match breaker. So you are the ref, you see the foul, you see the striker stumble, then fall. He could have stayed on his feet, but he chose to let himself drop to the ground. What do you do? Answer below.

It isn’t easy, watching football in Australia and it got me thinking: firstly, good on Mark Bosnich for resurrecting his career and playing for the Central Coast Mariners while their regular keeps was injured. He looked happy in his thinning blond hair and commentating suit. Secondly, what’s with the flies in Australia? I’ve met flies all over the world but never before have they shown such a propensity to land on one’s face… what are they hoping to achieve? At best they’re annoying, but when you’ve sat up drinking XXXX in front of the footy till four in the morning and are lugging a hangover round a baking hot Sydney, they’re enough to drive you insane.

You are the ref 2: Picture the scene: a rain soaked pitch is essentially unplayable, but it’s a packed out crowd and the weather forecast says after half time it’ll clear up. You wait, the surface water deepens. A pass goes awry and the ball stops dead, then rolls backwards. It’s caught in a downstream and before the players can stop it, it’s been washed out to sea. There it grows up, mates and swims back upriver to spawn. It struggles against the stream, leaping high to beat the onrushing current, but then gets slapped out of the air by a brown bear and devoured. What do you do? Answer below.

Another thing that makes it difficult to watch football in Australia is finding something to do until kick-off. Drinking XXXX is an option, but usually results in you waking up fully clothed on the sofa at five in the morning, most likely with a fly on your face. Another option was to watch the remake of the Karate Kid with Hillary Swank. This, it turned out, was a mistake.

You are the ref 3: Picture the scene: Drogba scores in a delightful return to form and goes to celebrate in front of the crowd. An opposition fan shows his admiration by handing over a small sum of money. Didier thanks him for his gesture but replies saying he’s no need for the money as he has most of his wealth overseas and has side-stepped the worst of the credit crunch. Ivorian sign language is minimal but he gets his point across and returns the sum while wishing the fan well. What do you do? Answer below.

Another thing that makes watching football difficult in Australia is the Hyundai A league which is the biggest pile of football tosh in the hemisphere. The only good thing is that the team names sound like gladiator prostitutes.  Wellington Phoenix? Queensland Roar? Perth Glory? What were they thinking?

You are the ref 4: Picture the scene: the second half gets underway and in an unprovoked attack, the ball is kicked by a midfield player. This is doubly insulting as the ball is out on a date with a slightly plump girl who’s agreed to show him the neighbourhood as he’s just moved to town with his mother.

He tries to stand up for himself but in doing so is beaten up and abandoned by his slightly plump date. Naturally he signs up to martial arts training with an aging oriental fellow but soon feels he’s been scammed as all he seems to be doing is waxing car bonnets and waterproofing a Japanese landscape garden. Just when he’s about to quit he realises he’s learnt karate after all and is entered into a competition.

In spite of dastardly underhand tactics by the cobra kai, and an unforgivable leg sweep, he crane kicks his way to Elisabeth Shue’s, and our, hearts. What do you do? Answer below.

Answers:

1. It’s harsh, but it’s the rules: you foul in the area, penalty; you’re the last man, that’s your marching orders.

2. I don’t care if you are a grizzly, intentional hand ball: yellow card.

3. Credit crisis rules apply. Gordon Brown wants us to spend, and Didi stopped that man doing what his country asked of him. Report incident to police post match and stick him in the Drog house.

4. “Daniel LaRusso’s gonna fight? Ladies and gentlemen, Daniel LaRusso’s gonna fight!” No he’s not, you’re the ref and after Hillary Swank’s effort, we don’t tolerate nancy Karate Kid remakes any more. I don’t care if you are Will Smith, no Karate Kid remakes.

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