Living in London, one can occasionally see explosive rage when one least expects it, like the young guy on the tube the other week who nearly turned an old doddery type of fellow into a punching bag just for absentmindedly cutting in front of him. A lone member of the underground staff was able to referee and quickly defuse the situation.
It’s the memory of moments like that that are enough to have me on the side of the striking tube workers who are protesting against plans to leave many underground stations unstaffed.
I am, however, not often on the side of those who choose to strike and that Iâ€™m afraid goes for the Scottish referees this weekend. For a start, a histrionics-filled midfielder does not possess the same unbridled menace as a loose cannon in an unstaffed tube station, not that that is why refs are striking of course.
So why are they striking? Despite this being significant news in amongst Irish problems and NZ mine disasters, I’m still not really sure. My impression is that referees have objected to having their integrity called into question, as if that doesn’t happen every weekend from the stands. Should it really mean more just because the complaint is more formal? Is it enough to down tools and say enough is enough? Iâ€™m not convinced. I reckon the referees should put their whistles where their petted lips are and do what they do best; yes, awarding dodgy penalties and getting offside decisions incorrect. I mean, we can’t have stadia like Broadwood and McDiarmid Park sitting empty on a Saturday (Ed – they’re empty every Saturday!). (Yes, I’ll keep setting them up if you keep knocking them in…)
Not that Pete Wishart’s suggestion of refs revealing who they support will help matters. Surely the quick-witted Glaswegians will go with Partick Thistle, a neutralising ploy that works wonders when the oddly threatening question of ‘which team dae ye support?’ is proferred. Iâ€™ve personally used it before and Iâ€™m sure I have a better shaped nose for it, although referees already have their noses out of joint unnecessarily.
So, whether football gets played this weekend with Welsh and Irish referees or not, I can’t say I’m with the Scottish refs and I’m not sure if they can recognise the difference between going on a strike and going in a huff. The SFA should penalise them, change its mind and then let them off the hook. Thatâ€™ll teach them.