Ref! On pre-season and America

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


Evening lads,

Yes, I suppose it is a bit of a rarity, this, with no serious football going on. You can’t really say there’s none, though, because the pre-season friendlies are happening already.  Makes me feel a bit sad, as it happens, because it means the summer is almost over. And yes, it’s the first year for many years that I haven’t been starting a new season myself, because even these meaningless games have to be officiated.

Yes, I have been doing a bit of training, as it happens. Old habits die hard. Jody and I have been running to the park, round it a few times and home for some exercises and a massage. Do me a favour, Baz, be your age, mate. She’s a qualified masseuse. Yes, that is how it’s pronounced. Masserz. I know the yanks say m’soose, but that’s  a funny thing about them, they don’t know how to pronounce foreign words.

That’s probably why they don’t leave their country very often, apart from John Kerry, of course. Kerry, Baz, not John Terry. Kerry is the Secretary of State, mate. The Secretary of State for what? Nothing, mate. That’s the job title. Often wondered about that myself. Sort of Foreign Minister. And he’s always abroad. Anywhere anything major’s happening, he’s there, just reminding us that there are Americans other than cops and black people shooting each other.

I know, it’s surprising they haven’t become a major force in football, but long may it remain so. If they dropped all their silly games and just played sahker they’d be getting in the way, wouldn’t they?

So don’t give them too much encouragement, I say. It’s bad enough with our top sides going there to play each other pre-season and our old codgers spending their twilight years with LA Galaxy.

They’ve produced a few good goalkeepers, haven’t they? Kasey Keller, Tim Howard, Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan. It’s a refreshing display of humility, I reckon, sending people to the Premier League to play in a low-profile position. You’d think they’d all want to be strikers, wouldn’t you? Chewing gum and smoking marijuana in the dugout.

There’s one at Chelsea now, Matt Miazga. Young centre back. Hasn’t had a first team game yet, I don’t think, but he’s learning his trade I suppose.

Cheers, Gary, bottle of Budweiser please, since we’re on a transatlantic theme.

Remember when Beckham first went over there. Some of them didn’t like it at all. He breezes in and takes over and the captain was well put out. Landon Donovan. Sounds like a made-up name, doesn’t it? Got his PR company to come up with something swashbuckling because he’s really Reginald Smith.

Then Beckham turns up with his pop star wife and the girls are all over him and he beats them at their own game. So to speak. Our game is football.

Clint Dempsey, that’s another one, Dave. Real name Jolyon Schnitzengruber, but that doesn’t sound so good on the front pages. You’re never going to pull Britney Spears with a name like that.

Anyway, they can call themselves what they like, and even the teams have fancy names. The San Jose Earthquakes, the Galaxy, Red Bulls, all that sort of caper. Showbusiness. Maybe that is the secret of their lack of success. If they had clubs called Accrington Stanley and Brighton and Hove Albion, you might take them seriously.

Not at all, Baz, no anti-American bias here. Just saying, mate. As I said, long may it remain so.



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