Roberto Martinez: The Man Who Saved Football

by Andy Dillon / 28 January 2016, 10:16

Everton were unable to make it an all-Merseyside Capital One Cup Final after losing out 3-1 to Man City at the Etihad (4-3 on aggregate). The main talking point was City's second "goal" which has once again raised the technology in football debate.

The Sun's Andy Dillon (@andydillon70) looks at how Everton boss Roberto Martinez has saved football by dismissing talk of technology after TWO dodgy decisions robbed him of two premier league points and a wembley cup final?

Roberto MartinezROBERTO MARTINEZ chief whinger - but today also the man who saved football.

In the last 11 days Everton's manager has been robbed of a Wembley cup final and two precious Premier League points by short-sighted linesmen.

Martinez has not held back with his griping about being hard done by and at times it has sounded like a broken record.

At Chelsea earlier this month, Martinez claimed to be feeling 'pure anger' at a clear offside scored by John Terry EIGHT minutes into injury time.

Even Terry and his boss Guus Hiddink couldn't stop sniggering that they'd got away with it thanks to a ref's assistant who couldn't see straight.

And last night in the Capital One Cup semi final, Manchester City get the nod on a goal which should not have stood after the ball so obviously crossed the touchline.

Martinez moaned like every other manager would but then gave the most surprising answer when asked if linesman should be done away with and replaced with spy-in-the-stands technology that would not miss a trick.

He said: "My question is do we need technology or should we expect the linesman and the referee to get these calls right? For me that action is so clear. I would expect international or Premier League linesmen to get that call right."

Fair point well made.

But far more importantly Martinez has done a remarkable thing by continuing to put his faith in fallible human beings at a time when football is slowly being taken over by machines - like something out of a Terminator movie.

He has also gone against the overwhelming trend and sway of opinion among his peers to have all officials tied up and dumped in car boots from 3-5pm on a Saturday and let cameras do their job for them.

The day we do that is the day football as entertainment dies.

When managers, players and fans have nobody to complain about or nothing to argue over in the pub or in the car or on the train home afterwards then we may as well give up.

Play football in empty stadiums but first run a form guide and a squad list complete with a mathematical algorithm into a computer to work out the result before the game even kicks off.

Football needs people - whether they can spot a drawing pin on the ground from 50 yards away or whether they cannot even see their hands in front of their face.

It also needs slightly old-fashioned people like Martinez who are willing to resist the pull of the 21st century and help retain even a semblance of what made football such a great spectacle in the first place.

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