Ref! On England and Ross Barkley

The candid thoughts of Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.

 Referee

So, weekend off, yes, that’s the beauty of international week. No Premier League, so no action for yours truly. I’m a football fan like all of you, so of course I watched England on Friday. A lot of people thought it was a bit of a snooze to watch, and okay, there was nothing at stake because England have already qualified, but what would you rather watch: a 2-0 win at a canter or a humiliation in a real game?

No, Dave, I don’t watch the referee as much as the play. You can’t help noticing things, obviously, but – you’re a builder, right? Do you watch the match or are you looking at the stands and the tunnel and thinking you could have done a better job?

Exactly, it’s in the back of your mind, but unless you notice something very bad or exceptionally good, you’re watching the football.

Yes, I think we’re going to get a shock at the actual Euros – got some scary friendlies coming up, in fact – but at least we’re not having one of those nailbiting qualifying campaigns.  Surprising how quickly things can settle down. Like Harry Kane, I feel quite comfortable with him up front. He’s not scoring hatfuls of goals, but he looks the part and they’ll come if you stick with him.

Cheers, Gary, paynt a hayvee. That’s my Glasgow impression, mate, some Jock asking for a pint of heavy. I don’t know, but heavy’s not going to be Bud Light, is it? Something with a bit of body to it I suppose. A bottle of Newky Brown, if you don’t mind.

What I really liked was seeing Ross Barkley showing a bit of skill. Pity he looks like he does, mind. He’s got this permanent look of being off his face and itching for a fight, the sort of drunken numbskull you steer clear of in the kebab shop on a Saturday night. Barkley’s not that sort of bloke, apparently, but all he needs is a boozy flush to his cheeks and you’d avoid looking at him.

What I mean, Baz, is haven’t you ever been waiting there at half past midnight and there’s some guy going, “Oo you fakkin’ lookin’ at mate?” You know, he hasn’t pulled, so he’s looking to indulge his second passion, which is punching people. So you look anywhere but at him, cos whoever does catch his eye is going to be invited to step outside.

No, I’m not saying Barkley is like that at all. That’s what I’ve just said, Baz. Barkley is apparently not that sort of bloke. Maybe it’s that short back and sides; he looks severe. But football-wise he’s the latest in a long line of gifted midfielders that goes back through Matt Le Tissier to Glenn Hoddle and Tony Currie and Alan Hudson. Too talented for their own good. England managers don’t trust them when the chips are down. You bet your life in a proper match that matters Hodgson is going to pick James Milner and Adam Lallana and Jonjo Shelvey and play Phil Jones in midfield. Anything but let the wizard do his stuff.

No, it’s not what I would do, it’s what tends to happen. It’s… oh, thank god for that… cheers Gary.

 

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