Premier League

I Was Bumped For Keys & Gray

The use of goal line technology is an argument as old as Time (my sister’s dog) – somewhere between ten and fifteen years.

How many times are we going to have to see a goal not given that should have been before the powers that be allow common sense to prevail? QPR are the latest side to be victims with their goal against Bolton ignored en route to another defeat.

On a side note, it was great to see Owen Coyle not only come out to acknowledge it was a goal, but also to give the keeper credit for a good save. Keepers like Adam Bogdan and Roy Carroll make it look easy to claw the ball back from behind the line and not look guilty but that is not something you can teach. The thing is, not giving a goal isn’t always just the difference between getting relegated with 29 points and getting relegated with 30 points (just kidding Super Hoops. I look back fondly on my time at Loftus Road and wish you well).

I have always been pro-technology and think it’s vital we don’t just stop at the goal line. I remember a similar decision costing us gravely back when I was a centre half at Reading.

We were one-nil up with about sixty minutes to go when the ball clearly went out for a throw. Gary Peters got some stick for not playing to the whistle but the rules of the game state there needn’t always be a whistle for throw-ins.  Play went on and they took possession of the ball when it would have been our throw. Seven minutes later they score and we go on to lose the game.

As soon as the equaliser went in, I was straight over to the ref asking for an explanation. My arguments fell on deaf ears as he claimed to not even remember the incident. Just eighteen months later we found ourselves relegated. So nobody can tell me these sorts of decisions don’t have a significant impact. People say that refs and linesmen do a difficult job and get all sorts of stick but were the officials from that game getting grief and abuse a year and a  half later when we went down? It’s not possible to know but it seems highly unlikely that they were washing horse manure and eggs off their car like I was.

I tell you, if you’re on the wrong end of a decision like that and you spend your days on chat rooms and introducing yourself to fans in pubs, then the stick is unavoidable. They say that these things even themselves out over time but that would only be the case if football were played to infinity. We all wish it was, but it isn’t.

The other decision being discussed this week was the correct one made by Sian Massey who got the offside call bang on at the end of Manchester City’s loss to Swansea City.

What should have been a correct decision that is almost immediately forgotten became a chance for boorish bore Andy Gray to weigh in with a PR exercise in patronisingly dishing out praise to convince the world that he isn’t the man that he definitely is.

I have never had Sky television and so my life had always been blissfully free of his ‘punditry’ although I am often saddened by my limited access to The Simpsons and QVC.

The first time I heard of Andy Gray and Richard Keys was when I was informed that my soon-to-air Talksport show was being cancelled. I had spent a year in meetings with various production companies and executives proving my worth and developing a vehicle that we all felt was acceptable.

All of a sudden I’m told via text message that I’m being bumped to make space for people I’d never heard of. The worst part was that the news was broken to me by a lovely young shop assistant in the T-mobile shop who I sought help from when I couldn’t work out why my phone was beeping.

I did some research on Gray and Keys and found that they were embroiled in a great publicity storm following some off-air comments that were picked up by the cameras (If you also missed the story, there’s some stuff you can find on Ask Jeeves).

I listened to their comments and was surprised to learn that in broadcasting such comments were common and that this stuff went on all the time. I had no idea that this was the way that people in punditry behaved but that is exactly what Keys and Gray kept insisting.

Seeing as I had been shunted off Talksport in favour of them, I figured they must know more about the industry than I do and so I vowed to follow their example. I had some leads I could follow and a couple of meetings sorted out for potential gigs. I wasn’t proud but if talking to people in the broadcasting industry about smashing and hanging out of the back of things was the way to get my own Talksport show, then that is what I would do.

I can now tell you categorically that this is not something that is rife within the broadcasting industry and for now I will be forced to stick to my role as outside analyst for five live as a regular caller to 606.

Anyway, my original point was that we need to embrace new technologies and that’s something I’m trying to do. I’m not that knowledgeable about social media (something my son tells me is summed up by the fact that I’ve been on Google Plus for six months.

I was excited to be introduced to twitter and send messages to a lot of my old mates like Sav, Pat Sharp and Justin Bieber but it seems that looked like spam so I’ve had 25 accounts suspended.

Still, I’m getting the hang of it and think this one will stick so give me a cheeky follow at@Simon9SmithPro.

It’d be great to hear from some old fans.

In a professional career spanning almost two decades, Simon Smith has played for over sixty-seven clubs.

The ultimate utility player, as his pace has diminished Simon has managed to reinvent himself time and again, from poacher to holding midfielder, centre-back to goalkeeper. 

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