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Fergie Time - The Figures.


Xann
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While true that the chart only indicates what happened and not why it happened, the fact that Fergie stands on the touchline tapping his watch so theatrically during the final twenty minutes of any game United are losing, and makes such a huge song and dance about referees blowing early should they lose (see comments following the Tottenham game this season) it has to have some kind of effect on officials. It's brilliant management of course, just **** annoying if you are a supporter of one of the other 91 clubs in the league.

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I'd agree that it's largely down to teams who are winning against United trying to play down the clock more. However, as annoying as it as against your side, you can't blame Ferguson for making it clear that he is 'aware' of how much extra time his team should be afforded. It's a part of one of the greatest aspects of his management: his players always clearly believe that they can get something out of any game. They have a massive psychological advantage over their opponents when they are clearly in such a hurry - but a confident hurry - to get on with things, which is also why they come back from behind so often and have done regularly under Ferguson's management.

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While true that the chart only indicates what happened and not why it happened, the fact that Fergie stands on the touchline tapping his watch so theatrically during the final twenty minutes of any game United are losing, and makes such a huge song and dance about referees blowing early should they lose (see comments following the Tottenham game this season) it has to have some kind of effect on officials. It's brilliant management of course, just **** annoying if you are a supporter of one of the other 91 clubs in the league.

I'm not disputing that.

The nature of timekeeping in football, though, essentially enshrines these sorts of shenanigans, so compiling the figures is somewhat useless unless you're advocating that something be done.

The only something that would be effective, AFAICT, is introducing some sort of start-stop timing. Timing, as regards stoppage time, already is under the control of the fourth official. How difficult would it be to require that the fourth official track that time via a start-stop clock which is also publicly displayed (especially on the television broadcasts, so it would be recorded when the clock was running and when it wasn't)? We'd see something like 82:48/79:18 displayed, and there would be somewhat less scope for managerial manipulation. Yeah, mistakes would happen (witness the number of times in basketball or gridiron games that the referee directs the timekeepers to set a clock), but they'd be knowable and the sunlight would be the disinfectant.

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