To understand this article you first need to watch the video above
In the 80’s and 90’s, Australian Rules Football was faced with a big problem. The game was marketed as the competition with the big marks and the big hits. The problem was that people were being hit in the head and playing with concussion every game and this was legal.
The sport has different rules; it is legal to smash into the side of a opponent when they do not have possession of the ball. Many people were worried it was only a matter of time before some one was seriously injured or killed.
If only they had known better, because some of the men in the video above now have serious issues with concussion’s suffered from the video above, it has made some of these men lose the ability to remember that they even played football.
In 1995 the AFL stepped in and got serious about the issue. From then on every game would be watched by a panel and any infringement’s would result in fines or suspension. Some people said the game would become boring and soft. However the game is now faster, harder and has a greater level of skill involved than ever before, mainly because you know have to beat you opponent with skill rather than belt him over the head.
Now what does this have to do with West Ham and football? Currently football is witnessing the ugliest of demons rear their heads in the game. Simulation is now so widespread in the game that commentators, coaches and even some supporters see it as the normal thing in the game.
Well I don’t, I see it for what it is, cheating. Diving, staging or whatever you want to call it is cheating. Wikipedia says that cheating is described as “getting a reward for ability by dishonest means.” And nothing could be further from the truth, as I will explain below.
People pay a huge amount of money to watch football. The question is why do we pay to watch the game? It’s to see one man beat another man via skill and passing to score goals. We don’t pay to see player fall on the floor and cry every time they get a defender put pressure on them. People pay to watch men fight hard and use their skill to win games.
The Premier league markets itself as “the greatest show on earth.” Well if it wants more appeal and more people to watch games they have to introduce a panel that tackles staging only then will players get the message that the game is up and coaches will not tell players to fall on the floor, they will tell them to beat their man.
Above is a video of a hit that was introduced after the reforms in the 90’s. Brodie Holland ran at full speed and smashed into his opponents face. The result was seven match ban and a maximum allowable fine under the players’ union rules. After that incident players got the hint that what had happened before could no longer happen again.
So what does this have to do with West Ham? People often talk about the ‘West Ham Way’ and how the ball should be played on the ground. I agree, people want to see good games of football and they pay their money.
But as we continue to see incidents like the Chico Flores incident we must ask ourselves how much longer will it take before we rub this out of the game. No one likes to see a player who is paid more than some people earn a year pretend to hurt themselves so they can get advantage from the referee. I have seen too many incidents over the years that make me think why can’t we stamp this out of the game?
If the FA is serious about staging they need to address the issue head on. The new rule this year that a referee can give a yellow card for staging is not even close to a reform. Only a panel that watch every game and every replay and can suspend players will wipe out this from the beautiful game.
I have seen my team lose good players, I have lost grand finals and I have seen my team knocked out of cup competitions, because of cheating. It’s time we all did something about this because with all the money the FA has the last they can do is appoint a few blokes to sit in a room, watch the games and judge who is staging and send them into the stands. We, the supporters, pay our money to watch football players win with skill not actors fall on the floor like little girls.
Come on you Irons!