On the back of the character assassination aimed at the ref in the Man Utd game last night.  


Seriously?  Nani kicked another player in the chest and people act like they can't understand the ref's decision at all?  Intention is irrelevant, it's clearly dangerous play and unless you are a moron then a red card is a perfectly understandable reaction from the ref.  Yes, he didn't need to send the player off, he could have chosen to be kind and just issued a yellow card for the offence but guess what folks, more often than not these kind of calls go in Man Utd's favour, and when they do Fergie is the first to dismiss any favourable referee calls with the usual "these things even themselves out over the course of a season".

Just imagine for a moment the reaction had it been a Madrid player who had launched himself studs first into Nani, with Man Utd trailing 1-0, and if the ref hadn't issued a red card?

This interview with Brian Clough may never have been so relavent.  It's sad to see that the issues he raised back then have only grown as time has passed.  I can't be the only one who completely "tunes out" when watching MOTD as soon as the match highlights end.  I would much rather the time allocated to Shearer and co was given to showing more football.  I can't even think of the last time someone on MOTD brought something insightful to the table.

Clough: I think we find football too much on television.  You and your colleagues are turning us off from family entertainment on a Saturday night by lecturing us at the moment.

Motson: Could you enlarge on that?

Clough: I'd love to. We used to sit down and look forward to it in comfort on a Saturday, I think you're becoming too deep, I think you're setting yourselves up as judge and jury.  I think you've gone over the dividing line where you have a contribution to make to one of being dogmatic, overbearing, boring, and you can keep going.  I know it's difficult to justify a none-none for example, or to bill it as match of the day, but if that's what you get when you take your cameras to a ground then show the none-none, don't try and justify it or pick things out and bore us all to tears with your lectures.

Motson: Are you talking about analysis of individual incidents are you, or what?

Clough: Yes, and I'm talking about the people who run your show: you, your colleagues, and Jim and all that type of thing.  If we want a serious discussion on most things for half an hour we'll switch Shirley Williams on.

Motson: But Brian, after a match is over, I mean, fans and so on, they go in the pub and they talk about things that have happened don't they?  

Clough: Yes, of course.

Motson: If it's a nill-nill draw and there was a goal disallowed or a controversial incident that's obviously a topic of discussion.  Now, surely our job is to report that as fairly as we can.

Clough: I think it's the difference between talking about it and discussing it with your mates and arguing about it in a pub than being lectured in your own home, in your own armchair, about what you should be seeing and what you should be thinking and da de da de da.  And I think this, I think what you do to referees is nothing short of criminal.  

I do honestly.

And I think the standard you feel that should be coming from referees at the moment is absolutely incredible.  'Cos I have seen, and worked in your industry a little bit as a layman, and I've looked at one of your machines 24 times and still couldn't get it right, and that's what you do.

Motson: Yes, but I must take you up on one thing there Brian, it quite frequently proves the referee right, I don't think it's fair to say that every analysis pillories the referee by any means at all.

Clough: I'm not interested in whether it proves him right occasionally, the point I'm making is that he makes a decision in 5 seconds, or 2 seconds, or 1 second or whatever it is.  In the heat of a moment with 22 players, with 30'000 people shouting and bellowing.  All I'm saying is you don't make that point strongly enough.  It should be over-emphasised how hard it is to referee a match.

Motson: I think Jimmy has said that more than once this season in fairness Brian.

Clough: Good, well let him get off their backs and let him keep saying it.

Motson: But, on my point of issue, in a game an offside or something like that.  You say, well we're dwelling on it too much, but don't you think people need those kind of things clearing up, don't you think people wonder "well, why was that goal disallowed?"  Let's see it again so that we can actually. It's instructional if you like.  Surely it's clarification.

Clough: Yeah, that's what I said earlier on.  You're treating us as though we're in a class room and you're school teacher standing up there and, Bob's an ex-school teacher in't he?

Motson: So, it's the way it's being handled that's what you're arguing about, not the fact that it's done?

Clough: I don't want to waste another 400ft of film talking about your program, but I think I've made enough points for you to find the happy line where it's entertainment, a little bit educational, a little bit instructional – using your words – and get off everybody's back.

Motson: But when you used to work for us Brian, when you were on television, as you say in a panelist capacity, you used to talk about games afterwards and voice an opinion and have your say.

Clough: As a critic.  Far more qualified than you, or any of your colleagues.  Where we used to look forward to going home and sitting in an armchair watching a bit of football and being entertained, we're now – talking purely as a layman, who pays your wages through my television fee – we're now not going home and enjoying it, we're not seeing as much football as we should and we're getting too much of that [makes flapping mouth gesture with his hand] and I suggest you shut up and show more football.

Now if that's not in a nutshell, I don't know what is.

Motson: But I think we do show the football you see, and I think that if the football's a nill-nill then we show a nill-nill as we did last Saturday.

Clough: Good lad.