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Roker Ramble: Cans in the stands to be trialled as VAR and a racist gaffer make the news

In this week’s Ramble: VAR decisions to be heard by fans... Drinking in seats should be trialled, EFL tells MPs (what could possibly go wrong?)... Yems doubles down after racism storm... and Ellis - come back!

Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images

VAR decisions to be heard by fans

It’s safe to say that VAR hasn’t been a roaring success since its inception a few years back. It has had the sort of teething problems that would require about 47 tubes of max-strength Bonjela.

The time taken to make decisions, zany interpretation of the rules, and the inability to truly celebrate a goal because you know they might be cut short are all big gripes of fans across the land.

I don’t want to go all Sam-Allardyce-drinking-a-pint-of-wine, proper football man on you, but VAR has been a complete disaster in my view. Mistakes are part of the game, with Keith Stroud and Craig Pawson most culpable in the “you completely f*cked up that game, ref” stakes in our defeats to Swansea and Blackburn respectively. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sadly, it looks like it’s here to stay, and the good news is that VAR decisions and the rationale behind them are to be explained in real time to fans and those watching at home, starting with the World Club Cup later on this year.

I wonder what that might look like? Personally, I imagine a blindfolded Mike Dean throwing a dart into a piece of paper with “decision - no penalty” crudely scrawled on it.

Sunderland v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Drinking in seats should be trialled, EFL tells MPs

What could possibly go wrong?

In radical plans, EFL bosses are thinking about trialling fans being allowed to drink while watching football. Until now, the practice is banned if you are in view of the pitch (unless you’re the bloke with his hip flask in front of me at the SOL). Though I do remember riotously sipping from a bottle of Budweiser during a match between Bury and Oxford at Gigg Lane where I could clearly see Nick Pope (yes, that one) in the Shakers goal.

Some will welcome the idea - personally, I have no problem with it. And in many ways it would improve the atmosphere. Remember at Wembley, when 40-odd thousand Mackems, many of whom were well refreshed, delayed the national anthem because of all the singing?

It would stop the practice of pre-loading as Dance of the Knights strikes up; the sight of Stone Island-clad lads desperately necking two pints of piss Carling before the match kicked off. Plus it would mean more revenue for the club.

The downside is many people cannot handle their drink, and the whoppers would become even more whopper-like as the game progressed. Also, if you’re sick of the leave-early losers, then you’ll love the bloke in front of you that manages to navigate himself through six pints in the first half alone, getting up to go to the bar on at least three occasions.

Still, imagine what that lot up the road would do if they were allowed to drink in the stands. The Tyne would run dry as the Geordies sank 12 bottles of Broon Ale apiece during another dull slog, and a win to nil. Yes, I know it’s brewed in North Yorkshire now, but IT’S A JOKE.

Meanwhile, Amanda Staveley would have to take cover as some of the more amorous, moustachioed, baldy Toon faithful, who are in absolute thrall of her made desperate attempts to clamber over the posh seats to profess their undying love for her. Pathetic.

Newcastle United v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Yems doubles down after racism storm

To describe this as a mess would be an understatement. John Yems, he formerly of Crawley Town, was dismissed for racist behaviour last year. Now, the written reasons have been released by an independent panel.

And - sharp intake of breath - Yems called players of colour “curry munchers”, “Zulu warriors” and “terrorists” during his time as manager. Want more? Okay. He purposefully mispronounced Arnold Schwarzenegger’s name (don’t think too hard) asked a player if he slept with an AK-47, and that he shouldn’t be allowed a GPS vest because “you people blow stuff up in vests”, said “f*ck Allah he doesn’t even exist” to Muslim players and finally remarked “look how black he is” to another. Not exactly motivational, you will accept.

An 18-month ban has been handed down, which in truth should have been life.

Now the Oxford dictionary describes racism as “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism by an individual, community, or institution against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalised.”

Which makes it absolutely astonishing that Yems has been found not to be a “conscious racist.”

Well, having taken a flesh wound but dodged the bullet to the head, the dickhead has come out swinging. In an interview with TalkSport this week, he served up the stereotype playbook of a man who lacks insight, contrition and empathy.

Really though, have you ever heard a racist admit they’re racist? Even Hitler denied it.

Yems insisted that - and forgive the use of tabloid style grammar - that actually, he is owed an APOLOGY.

By who? The poor lads you used racist language towards?

“People out there are going to say what they’re going to say,” he said. “I am saying to you I wasn’t found to be racist, I never used racist language with intent. If anyone is owed an apology I think I do.”

“All the abuse I’ve been getting without people even having the courtesy to ask me. I don’t think people have even looked at the case with open-mindedness. And I think if you go in there there’s a few apologies that should be coming my way.”

Well bugger me.

“The thing that I’ve done wrong has been highlighted to me and it’s shown me there are certain things you can’t say or do. If that’s the rules now and that’s what you’re supposed to do then let people know.”

Sorry hold on John, you needed to be let know that you can’t use language like that? Do you need to be told when to breathe? Or take a dump? To be fair, most of the excreta that has exited your body has been orally.

“You’re hearing one side of the story. There’s no witnesses. There were four boys who were released by me at the end of the season that wasn’t being offered contracts. Make your own mind up and form your own opinion about what goes on in football.”#

Ah that’s right, it’s the old women-are-asking-for-it defence; blame the victims. Classic.

His ban may be short, but one thing is for sure, John Yems will never work in football again.

News In Brief

Just one this week. Everton fans have been confirmed to be the most emotionally unstable set of “supporters” in the land. If you don’t believe me, get on Twitter and check out their haranguing of Yerry Mina, and Ellis Simms as they left the ground.

And then of course there is the headlock incident.

Come back, Ellis.


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