Thursday, June 22, 2006
(Not so) Golden Graham
What an unimaginable berk! What kind of absolute doofas can give a guy three yellow cards in a match?? Graham Poll, the only English referee in the World Cup, that's who. Sadly, I didn't see the drama unfold live having enjoyed Brazil take full advantage of Japan's decision not to mark anyone second half. But having since seen and read about the carnage in the press it is safe to conclude that the man is a tw*t.
Even if you forget about his woeful ineptitude in failing to give a blatant handball penalty to the Socceroos and forget about him somehow managing to muck up the kick off (surely all you got to do is blow the whistle?) and forget about him inexplicably blowing for full-time just as the ball was going into the net to give the Australians victory (just like Clive Thomas in years gone by) Poll had a mare.
He gave Croat defender Josif Simunic one yellow card and in the last minute booked him again, only failing to produce the red card. Things got more surreal when about a minute later he booked Simunic for a third time. And this time gave him a red card.
Poll, who incidentally is rumoured to be intensely disliked by many of his fellow referees, will be the second Englishman after Michael Owen to be heading home early. And the worse thing about the fiasco? People may forget what a dreadful game Aussie keeper Zeljko Kalac had. Zeljko Kalac - remember him? I do. He was brought on by the then Leicester City manager, Martin O'Neill in the 119th minute of the play-off final against Palace with the match destined to go to penalties. O'Neill brought him on for the sound reason he is massive and could save penalties. Seconds later, Steve Claridge (74) shinned one in and Leicester one and Kalac was denied his destiny. Anyway back forward to 2006: To some media surprise (people falling off chairs, spluttering into their cappucinos etc) Kalac was preferred to the much better Mark Schwarzer of Middlesboro and proceeded to flap at everything and instil about as much confidence in his defence as David James commands. His coup de grace was to let a weak shot under him, which could well have done for Australia. The website SportsAustralia.com go so far as to ask Kalac to voluntarily prostrate himself before Guus Hiddink (the coach) and the great Australian public and apologise and stand down in favour of Schwarzer. No, it really does.