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Wan't sure I would read enjoy this but I did. It provides real insight into the work of a referee. I like most football fans probably blame the referee when decisions go against my team. Maybe not so much again. The discussion on some of the most contraversial decisions in recent times are discussed and reasons put forward why they might have been wrong ....or right......! Maradona's hand of God....was the referee the only one in the World who did not see it? Was the Goal over the line in the 1966 Wolrd Cup Final? I will not give anyhting away but the disussion on it makes for interesting reading. His comments on the bahvaiour of the press makes for interesting reading and I am sure most decent minded readers will agree with him. I suppose the real message of this book is that referees are human and do make mistakes.....The book is intelligent, interesting, well written and an ejoyable read. Highly recommended to all football fans and the football media experts......who clearly do not know what they are talking about!
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on 10 September 2010
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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on 17 February 2010
Graham examines many major incidents in detail, gives his opinion and that of other referees involved at the time to provide a fascinating insight into them.
The book not only provides such thoughts and opinions but gives food for thought for any referee who thinks deeply about his own performance and could be very useful to newer referees. In my opinion, a different kind of refereeing book and definitely one of the best ever books by referees.
Geoff Hurst, the Hand of God and the Biggest Rows in World Football
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on 10 January 2010
This should be required reading for every would-be referee in the stands, not to say every football manager. It demonstrates, by fascinating examples, just how hard the referee's job is, how it has been made more logical over the years and what could be done in the future. Poll is informative about the Laws (showing just how little most of us understand them) and is not afraid to detail with his own errors and those of colleagues, but there is no whinging. Downside - the previous World Cup details seem a bit out of place. In summary it is a well-written book, very amusing and informative.
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on 23 July 2013
A bit self indulgent by Poll in places with loads of referalls (no pun intended) to his own autobiography , but overall an interesting read , and to get some FACTS on the laws of the game will make for some interesting discussions when your armed with your new facts , especially with your mates in the pub when you're watching a match together , that's for sure !
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on 2 August 2013
I only really bought this as it was on offer at 99p.It has however helped me understand a few of footballs laws better.However he still seems to have a chip on his shoulder over the 3 yellow cards incident.We all make mistakes like he says,but dwells a bit too much on it.
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on 27 July 2013
Poll explained a number of the laws of football very well and I certainly will have a better understanding of some of the refs decisions that in the past I would have disagreed with. In one or two areas he comes across as a little pompous but all in all a good read.
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on 4 August 2013
Always interesting to get anothers point of view but I found the style of writing a bit basic but maybe that's what it was supposed to be. A good holiday read, which is what I chose it for.
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on 21 January 2013
A really interesting book by a controversial referee. The man who recieved congratulation-cards from Kaiser Beckenbauer himself, three cards, by the way.
The book is exellent reading.
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on 7 December 2012
If you like your footie books then this is for you. It gives a modern take on some of the historical moments in football.
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