Where to start,
This review is from: Geoff Hurst, the Hand of God and the Biggest Rows in World Football (Hardcover)
All in all I enjoyed this paradoxical offering as it is true to the man himself. I have no qualms with controversy and how a ref might give a wrong decision here and there but Mr. Poll has been responsible for some absolute howlers. There is so much to mention but it would take me several pages to detail the ambiguities involved.
I find he is more of a prophet(and profit) by alluding to the Hurst incident, circa '66, and, saying that it could happen again, this time against England. So, a good insight there. He states that today, where "linos" are now assistant referees, that a common language should exist to avoid misunderstandings between officials. However, this failed as he feared, quite remarkably in a near identical game? So he covered his bases there.
The Hand of God chapter relates to Maradonna and Lineker discussing the issues surrounding the controversy. They both agreed it was the officials fault for allowing the goal to stand. However, Mr. Poll claims that is akin to blaming the police for the crime? This where his logic fails(not for the first time), as players do cheat but it is up to the ref(police) to apply the laws invested in them. Hence, disallow the goal and save face!
I read his praise of Howard Webb's performance in the Final of the last WC. Let me say that Webb, was roundly booed for his inadequate handling and justifiably so. Stating that he had not seen fully the De Jong incident is worse than poor, as he'd seen the raised foot to the chest, no doubt(he produced the yellow presumably for that?) and Alonso's agony confirmed any doubts that he might've had. Surely the speed and height were enough for even a blind man to notice and send the thug off? Not only that, in one chapter he suggests that in the Germany v Czech match, in the nineties, where another ref(I think it was Ellary) that the game would have been better controlled had he shown a red card instead of about ten yellows. Cue Mr. Webb who allowed so many fouls by Van Bommel( and others) that it spiralled into mayhem and a spate of yellow cards ensued. So, how did Mr. Webb have a good game? No, it killed the game!
In another chapter, the late Don Revie, stated that, "refereeing was the hardest job in the world",(as Mr. Poll agrees and is always saying?). Hardly, just ask any soldier, miner, trawlerman, policeman,scaffolder,deep sea diver, nurse, etc, etc........In his defence he does admit to getting decisions wrong(even referees are human, aren't they?), so at times he rated himself as 8 out 10 but sometimes he was a 10 out of 10? Quite modest, really.
I'd love to debate his ideas/reasons on a one to one basis but I don't think I can reach his Ivory Tower?
Still a fascinating if not irritating read!
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