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Sunday, 11 December 2011

"F*** me what have I done there today?"

I found myself sitting here almost writing in mere disbelief. The trip back from Stoke almost flew by like the 95 minutes today. So many incidents that needed little discussion but caused huge debate; Chris Foy finding himself in the centre of, well, everything. Heard Foy's recently gone into hiding?

Let's begin. We seem to have this 20 minute start away from home where we find we just can't get started. We know what Stoke are all about. In the last few years I felt we'd dealt with Stoke's aerial threat. Their fans celebrate being awarded throw ins like we do penalties. The problem in the first half was that Kaboul and Gallas failed to stamp any authority on to Crouch and Walters. They failed to bully them like Premier League centre halves should. Shawcross proved this; if he wanted Kaboul's shirt so desperately I'm sure something could've been sorted after the game.

Crouch did handball in the build up to the first goal. The linesman should've picked up on this but, even so, the defending was shambolic. After Etherington miss-hit his second and we found ourselves 2 down at half time, Redknapp gave the players the biggest wake-up call they'd have had all season. Reverting to 3-5-2 was brave but a smart move and one that needed to be done. Stoke were always likely to sit and try to protect everything they had, parking more than the bus in front of Sorensen.

The second half reminded me of my old Sunday league. If we were ever playing away from home it was always one of the parents of the home side refereeing. This left the chances of decisions going your way about as likely as Arsenal are to win the league. No chance. Foy's performance reminisced this, well, the refereeing wasn't even fit for the amateur Sunday leagues.

We needed to get that goal. We needed it early and keep Stoke on the back foot. I felt Modric was fortunate to get the penalty as, despite it being a clumsy challenge on the Croat, he went down rather late; but still, it was given and back into the game we found ourselves. What proceeded from then on almost pushed me to giving up on the sport completely- well for a few heated seconds anyway.

Issue 1: Kaboul finds himself booked for appealing a decision that even Shawcross was blushing at the decision to not award us a second penalty.

Issue 2: Shawcross elbows Kaboul's goal bound shot off the line but Foy, *insert Specsavers-based insult,* fails to spot this. I've been reassured that he is a professional referee.

Issue 3: Defoe found his shot just outside the 6 yard box blocked with hands. Although this was a much harder incident to pick out, the Stoke player in question proceeded to intentionally use his hands to block Defoe's shot.

Issue 4: Kaboul's sending off. I fail to see the difference between the foul on Modric and Kaboul's challenge on Walters, yet our centre half finds himself picking up a second booking. This is without even mentioning that Walter's was offside in the build up.

Issue 5: From the 1st minute Stoke ensured that time was not of an essence; do their fans enjoy seeing a ball dried over and over again? 60 minutes or so in I noticed that Shotten took, on average, around 18-20 seconds to take a throw in. Yes, I did count. Does that make me sad? Yes, a little.

Issue 6: Adebayor's disallowed goal. It was picked up by a few of us that this particular assistant referee was quick to change his decisions just as fast as he made them. Giving corners then reverting to goal kicks and incorrect decisions in terms of throw ins and fouls. How he's given Adebayor offside for his equaliser is still beyond me. Were the flood lights not bright enough? Was he thinking of what to have dinner that evening? Was he also thinking back to the catalogue of errors from his good mate Chris? I doubt it was the latter. But whatever it was, it's another decision that's cost us; and left a lot of us £36.50 down without the result we deserve.

Issue 7: The 'smaller' decisions- the simpler decisions- the decisions that, even standing a good 100 yards away, looked as routine as they come for a professional referee. But not for Foy, he made the day difficult for himself, he made it difficult for us. It wasn't the odd one or two incorrect decisions, this was 95 minutes of the most diabolical refereeing since United away a few years back. Eat your heart out Webb, Foy's topped you today.

Tottenham turning up proved about as pointless as Stoke's midfield; The drunk fella standing behind me would've done a better job. I was almost getting neck pains from raising my head up so much as the ball was lofted time and time again into the air. The boys gave everything in the second half, we got our tactics right but were robbed of a fair game; Foy leaving any little respect and dignity in Stoke.

Redknapp gave the Mail a much more honest view of Chris:

'We've come away with nothing because there was a blatant handball on the line and Adebayor is two yards onside when the ball is played to him,' said Redknapp

'That's why we've come away with nothing, two decisions have been completely and utterly wrong. I spoke to the referee after the game. I never go and speak to referees after the game, I accept defeat and have never complained about refereeing decisions in 30 years of managing. Never.

'But today he got some badly wrong. When he goes home tonight and sees them he'll know he's made a couple of terrible decisions.

'The linesman, he'll watch it tonight, when his wife's making him a bacon sandwich and he'll think: 'F*** me what have I done there today?'

'I thought Younes' second yellow was harsh and the first one he got was for telling the referee it was handball, for something he has missed,' said Redknapp.

'What's he supposed to do, not say anything when someone gets something wrong? Do you just accept it? I don't think so.'

He added: 'From the start I felt he wasn't going to give us an awful lot here today. That was the feeling I had.

'I just felt he was quite enjoying not giving us anything. It was one of those days.'

Kaboul's face upon seeing the red card emerge summed up the game. Disbelief. Disgusted. Robbed. I'd like my £36.50 refunded from Chris, I doubt I'd get it. I'd never stayed behind with a good few thousand others to give Foy a few thoughts and comments. His quick look up at the Spurs fans proceeded by his head dropping told the whole story. He knows he was abysmal. He knows he'd cost us atleast a point. There's the rant I'm used to.

Eff You Chris, Eff you.


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