Football, Foul Language and Apologies

You will recall in my blog about my trip to S*nderland RCA v Spennymoor on Saturday, I wrote the following:

The game was a very competitive one, with several very physical challenges. The refereeing and the linesmen appeared totally deaf to the excessive foul and abusive language used by the players and officials during the game. Indeed early on, the Spennymoor manager launched a particularly foul tirade at the linesman, even though the linesman had done nothing wrong. Neither the linesman nor the referee took any action. If the language had been used in town on a night out, then a S5 Public Order Act or even worse would have followed.

There is no place for such language in the game. Well, actually after seeing what Wayne Rooney did on Saturday whilst playing for Manchester United @ West Ham, it seems the place is in the Premiership.

Today, there were developments. Wayne Rooney has been charged by the FA and faces a 2 match ban for his swearing at the TV camera during the game. His actions were not helped in my opinion by the statement released on Saturday afternoon some 2 or so hours after the media had picked up on his actions.

“I want to apologise for any offence that may have been caused by my goal celebration, especially any parents or children that were watching.

“Emotions were running high, and on reflection my heat-of-the-moment reaction was inappropriate. It was not aimed at anyone in particular.”

Do these sound like the words of a man who struggles to say anything without swearing? They strike me and many other people as being the words of a PR man at Manchester United.

Contrast this with the current blog entry on Spennymoor Town’s website written personally by the manager, Jason Ainsley. His review of the game ends with the following paragraph.

On a separate issue I do read our own forum and would like to apologise to Spen666 and the other supporters for the language used by myself and our bench on Saturday, As manager I am responsible for my players, staff and my own actions.  I do get very emotional and passionate during games and try to protect my players and get frustrated when decisions don’t go our way which is certainly no excuse and  something I am aware of and continually trying to improve, after speaking with referees this year they have certainly seen an improvement in my attitude and conduct on the touchline,  although Saturday I let those standards drop which I do regret and I hope you accept my apology. I want to retain our title so much for everyone concerned with this club  and I do hope by the end of the month we all have something to celebrate.

I have to say that it takes a big man to admit he was wrong and to apologise so publically. The apology is in response to this post I made on the Spennymoor Town forum. It is also good to see a manager inter-reacting with the fans and sparing the time to respond to posts on the message board.

Jason, your blog post is a credit to you. Thank you for taking the time to respond and for being so honest in your blog. Can you imagine Arsene Wenger or Alex Ferguson responding so honestly?

As stated in the manager’s blog, the outburst did come after a Spennymoor player had been injured by what appeared to be a deliberate elbow to the head. I should perhaps have made that clear in my earlier post.


Nearly Barking?

Its been about 10 days since I have posted a blog about what is happening in my life other than football. The answer is erm…….. work, pleasure, sadness, etc.

I spent last week in the beautiful Tyne Valley staying with Michelle whilst I was working at Teesside Crown Court. This meant driving 110 miles per day to get too/ from the court. I was leaving home around 0715, getting to Middlesbrough around 0845 and getting home around 1845 each evening. I normally cycle to work and have to say that is preferable to sitting in the car for 3 hours a day.

At Teesside Crown Court we were carrying out observations of the level of advocacy of the prosecutors, whether CPS employees (Crown advocates) or member if the independent Bar. As happened last week, it was difficult to find trials that were proceedings. Most trials seemed not to proceed, often (but not always) because the defendant pleads guilty on the trial date.

I’m sure that members of the public would be surprised to see how much down time there is at court. There is often good reason why there are delays in cases proceeding, but it is difficult for the uninitiated to know why the case is not progressing. Sometimes delays are caused by the need to deal with late arising witness issues, sometimes its to deal with a legal point, but sometimes it is because people have not done what they should have done.

On Monday 28th, I bumped into Nick a barrister and a director of Kyles Legal Practice Ltd which is an innovative and new legal firm made up of barristers and solicitors. I have known Nick for many years since he was a law student. He arranged to meet me and a fellow director Brian for dinner the following night. I used to instruct Brian when I was a solicitor in the North East, but have not seen him for a good few years now. This was an unexpected bonus. On Tuesday, unfortunately Nick was called to a police station, but it was good to have a meal and catch up with Brian.

I was able to speak again to both of them on Friday as well. I know that if I ever found myself in need of legal representation in criminal matters that I would instruct Brian or Nick.

It was also very interesting to learn about their business plan and I have to say it rekindled my interest in criminal defence work. Would I ever go back into criminal work in private practice?……..

I drove back to London on Sunday afternoon after spending 17 days with Michelle, including her significant birthday. We dined out a couple of times with my parents. We went last Friday to Fratellis in Ponteland (that is Michelle my parents, my sister and I) followed by a couple of drinks in the Diamond Inn at Ponteland. An evening with my parents that made me think, we have to look after and watch children when we take them out, and once they have grown up we have to look after our parents. Yes father, I am referring to you!

I have to confess to being spoilt something good by Michelle, packed lunches every day. Great and I mean great home cooking every evening. My laundry done for me. The lady is too good to let go. That is why I lock her in the house every time I leave Winking smile.

It seems strange to be on my own again in London. Not that I will be alone for long. Michelle, Josh and Michelle’s parents will be coming down on Friday night, so I will be busy this week cleaning the house. Anyone know any decent cleaners? I will of course not be cleaning tomorrow night as I will be watching Leyton Orient v Plymouth Argyle and a chance to watch Old Monkey’s Head – Peter Reid.

Today, Monday I went to work in the office. So what you say, what is special about that? Well after so many weeks on the road, it was nice to be back at the office. Also, today was the first day at our new offices. Sadly we are no longer overlooking St James’s Park but we are now very near the Masonic Temple in Covent Garden. Upon arrival by bike today, I was given my new security pass and shown to the underground bike storage and shown the showers etc. All good until I went to go home and realised that no one had told me how to get out of the basement bike storage. The exit I eventually discovered is at the opposite end of the building to the entrance. I was worrying that I would be trapped in the basement all night.

The new offices are slightly nearer to my home. This is not good news as it will mean a reduction in mileage each day unless I add on extra bits. Still, I got 25+ miles in today.