Sport Soccer

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Cards for managers will simply add to circus clowns act

Talking Point

'In a sane world, England's League Managers Association would be reacting to the news that cards will be shown to those in the dugout this season in outrage' (stock picture)
'In a sane world, England's League Managers Association would be reacting to the news that cards will be shown to those in the dugout this season in outrage' (stock picture)

James Corrigan

Yellow and red cards are the final indignity and if the managers had any shame they would be embarrassed.

In a sane world, England's League Managers Association would be reacting to the news that cards will be shown to those in the dugout this season in outrage, claiming their members to be responsible adults who do not need treating like they are children.

Except they are not and they do and that is why there is no uproar concerning the English League's 'trial', which will begin when the Championship campaign kicks off tomorrow.

The gaffers cannot behave so they, too, will be shown cards, receive cautions and be subject to totting-up procedures that will bring suspensions.

We should simply be glad that the likes of Alf Ramsey, Matt Busby and Bob Paisley are not around to see what their profession has become.

To think, they used to be the ringmasters; now they are the clowns.

They jump around as if the game is all about them and not about the boys on the pitch who, do not forget, have supposedly been meticulously prepared for that 90 minutes.

In recent years we have witnessed managers butting opposing players, pushing linesmen, squaring up to other managers, refusing to give back the ball and serving up a never-ending stream of abuse towards the officials.

The authorities had to act, but the problem is this solution will exacerbate the situation.

Managers do not care that much when they are sent to the stands.

Studies have shown there is very little effect on the team's performance and some have claimed it tactically beneficial to have this bird's-eye view.

The point is you cannot punish people who think they are so important into being respectful. The disrespect only deepens.

Managers love to bear a sense of injustice, and actually think it part of their job description to be incensed and make grand shows of fury.

And in many ways, because of Fifa and its inconsiderable wisdom, they are right - it does seem central to their role.

For more than a century coaching 'from the boundary lines' was outlawed.

Granted, it was impossible to stop managers from signalling or bellowing instructions, but their influence on match day was minor in comparison.

Yet in its misguided attempt 'to improve the quality of play' by making the managers 'an element of the game', Fifa made the referees' task that much more onerous.

Compelled

In 1993, the technical area was introduced and, from that moment on, managers have felt compelled to stand up and wave their arms in a decidedly non-technical fashion.

The geometrics and geography of the white lines invite conflict. The crowd baits and hollers whenever the combatants dare to encroach and feathers fly.

And the TV adores it, keeping cameramen with their backs to the action, waiting for the histrionics to erupt. Many a dull passage, a dull weekend even, has been rescued as a spectacle because of the drama stage left.

The late Stanley Lover, president of the Football League Referees' Association, warned: "The technical area only serves as a stage for the maniacs."

At least the powers-that-be are now trying to do something about it.

The next thing is for stadium bans to be increased, but that will not work either. All they can do is turn back the clock, reconsign the managers to the dugouts and instruct them to sit down and behave.

© Daily Telegraph, London

Telegraph.co.uk

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