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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

BACON'S BITES: Call me a dinosaur but I refuse to kiss the backside of everything VAR...

PUBLISHED: 19:20 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 18 January 2019

A life-saver of the game? Or the potential to suck the life out of it? VAR!

A life-saver of the game? Or the potential to suck the life out of it? VAR!

PA Wire/PA Images

MIKE Bacon takes a look at the latest VAR issues. Plus is Sir Andy the greatest-ever sporting Brit?

Derby County's Martyn Waghorn celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game with team mates Derby County's Jayden Bogle during the Emirates FA Cup third round replay match at St Mary's Stadium. It was Waghorn's little toe that caused his side's opening 'goal' to be ruled out! Photo: PADerby County's Martyn Waghorn celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game with team mates Derby County's Jayden Bogle during the Emirates FA Cup third round replay match at St Mary's Stadium. It was Waghorn's little toe that caused his side's opening 'goal' to be ruled out! Photo: PA

VAR reared its head again in the Southampton v Derby FA Cup game on Wednesday night.

Derby were denied the opening ‘goal’ after everyone, including the ref and linesman had trotted back to the centre circle to kick-off. The officials saw nothing wrong.

Enter VAR!

Football’s tech ‘saviour’ had spotted that Martyn Waghorn’s foot was an inch offside in the build-up when TV slow motion slowed the incident down again, and again and again and again.

‘Oh look, so it was. Look, very very closely. It’s about an inch off. Slow that down again. No, again, once more, there you go’....

It was pathetic.

My point is, I’m all for getting things right but if we are going to start slowing down incidents to the enth degree then we might as well all pack up and go home.

I know VAR is here to stay.

But I worry about the sanitisation of the biggest game on the planet.

Because football is in the moment. Football is passion. Watching it live is glorious.

That moment as a fan, you start to get off your seat, or crane you neck as the ball heads towards the net.... And then... GOAL! An eruption of euphoria among you and your friends, or people who you don’t know, but are now your ‘mates’ because you all support one team. That joy, that adrenalin rush. Jumping up and down cheering. What a feeling.

And then...

And then you find VAR is taking a look... On the terraces, you know not why.

Yet it’s because it’s been pointed out by VAR officials that player A’s bum could, just could, have been an inch offside.

Andy Murray celebrates with the trophy after defeating Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the 2013 Wimbledon final Photo: PAAndy Murray celebrates with the trophy after defeating Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the 2013 Wimbledon final Photo: PA

Minutes later after the adrenalin is starting to drop and the euphoria has subsided among fans on the terraces, the goal is chalked off! TV audiences all nod their approval, or don’t. On the terraces... confusion.

It sucks the life out of the game.

And while I love goal-line technology because a ball crossing the line is what football is all about and is decided in a matter of seconds, I hate the concept of VAR gawping at players’ bootlaces and bums to see if they can see if they are an inch offside.

VAR is supposed to be for ‘clear and obvious’ mistakes. An inch offside isn’t ‘clear and obvious’.

VAR has the potential to be a load of pedantic crap if we are not careful, and I don’t care if you do call me ‘a VAR dinosaur’....

At least I take great comfort from knowing I’m far from alone.

Andy Murray with his gold medal following victory in the men's singles final at the Olympic Tennis Centre at the 2016 Rio Olympics Photo: PAAndy Murray with his gold medal following victory in the men's singles final at the Olympic Tennis Centre at the 2016 Rio Olympics Photo: PA

n I HOPE Sir Andy Murray makes it to Wimbledon.

It would be a fitting way for him to bow out of tennis – should that be the case – even if he went out in round one.

There is little doubt that we have all warmed to the dour Scot over the years. He’s become a bit of a national treasure and few will forget his two Wimbledon victories, as well as his many other great achievements.

For many he is being touted as Britain’s greatest-ever sportsman, but is he?

For me, that title belongs to the brilliant English rower, Sir Steve Redgrave.

Redgrave won gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000 and is the only man to have done so in an endurance sport. He was 38 when he won his last gold.

Admittedly he was often in a pair or a four, but you can’t tell me you can ‘carry’ anyone at those levels of rowing.

Murray, of course, is right up there alongside Redgrave. Many will have him as greater.

In Murray, we have watched a young lad who struggled to stay the course in some of his early tennis matches, cramping up at times and then, as he matured, failing to get over the line in two Aussie finals before eventually winning the US Open in 2012 – his first Slam.

There have been four more final defeats (three in Australia and one at the French Open), during his illustrious career, but who cares? His two Wimbledon victories will be forever etched in all our memories.

Murray’s exploits on the court has brought us all joy.

With Tim Henman we suffered so much heartache, the ‘Tiger’ never quite getting to that magical Wimbledon final – or any Grand Slam final.

But Murray made it count. Batting off those who thought he didn’t have it in him to lift one Slam, let alone three.

Coupled with his 2015 Davis Cup heroics that saw GB victorious, as well as two Olympic golds – and you almost, yes, just almost, have the perfect tennis career.

Great Britain rowers (left to right) Steve Redgrave, Tim Foster, James Cracknell and Matthew Pinsent celebrate after winning the Gold medal in the Men's Coxless Four Final at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, Redgrave's fifth Olympic gold at the age of 38 Photo: PAGreat Britain rowers (left to right) Steve Redgrave, Tim Foster, James Cracknell and Matthew Pinsent celebrate after winning the Gold medal in the Men's Coxless Four Final at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, Redgrave's fifth Olympic gold at the age of 38 Photo: PA

Much has been made of Murray’s tears at his press conference Down Under last week where the enormity of his career possibly coming to an end was hitting him.

For what it’s worth I don’t think there’s anything wrong with men being tough, strong, masculine – however ‘a man’ is portrayed by some.

There is nothing wrong with men who don’t cry in public either, or cry at all. Just as there’s nothing wrong with men who do have the odd ‘blub’.

I’m tired of people one minute telling men how they should behave, that it’s ‘good to cry’. Go away.

If men don’t want to show emotion, then so be it. Maybe they have good reason. You don’t know their stories.

Then again, if Andy Murray – and men like him, me, and millions of others wish to have the odd tear – so be it.

I certainly won’t mind a few tears from Sir Andy at his final Wimbledon appearance should he play at SW19. But I would also like to see a huge, big, humongous, Murray-esque smile as well – he has much to smile about.

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