by Noel Draper

Another weekend rolls by in the Premier League and a few more things are closer to being decided. One team is closer to winning the damn thing, a few more are closer to being relegated out of it. It’s all jolly exciting. Once again a few contentious decisions made all the headlines, especially the one at Old Trafford, leading again to a call for video technology to be used in similar instances. This is, of course, complete poppycock.

Sure Ashley Young was a yard offside. Sure Ashley Young threw himself to the ground in full view of a referee. Sure the referee sent off Shaun Derry and sure Wayne Rooney scored the resulting penalty but did it really have any actual impact on the game or the league title? Well no, no it didn’t. United would have won anyway and with City self exploding away from home the title is as good as lost, or won, depending on your allegiance.

At the other end of the table QPR, thanks to the loss, remain delicately balanced, teetering on the edge. Without the penalty award and with the services of one Mr Derry for a full 90 minutes would they have won or even salvaged a point? Once again the answer is in the negative no matter what Mark Hughes says when interviewed, and boy does he like an interview.

You see, even with the pitch side officials getting things completely right the outcome of the game would have stayed the same. QPR would have lost. For over a hundred years decisions like this have been made by officials that have resulted in teams getting relegated, winning cups and remaining in mid-table obscurity. The human element is buried in the very fabric of this wonderful game we call football and has served it well so why change it? Why suddenly stop the game so a video referee can quickly take a peek at a monitor? The answer is, of course, money.

If QPR get relegated they then lose, even with the parachute payments, a hell of a lot of money. They also lose a full house every week and a lot of journeymen footballers but most of all they lose money. Lots of money. Not enough for them to go out of business but enough for the owners to feel it. This is of course a very bad thing for the club’s coffers. Sponsorship money and television time goes down. They lose money. Money. Lots of money. Did I mention the money?

This is why managers like Mark Hughes go on television and rant about the officials. Curbishley does it. Wenger is famous for it. As is Fergie. In fact every manager in charge of every club rants at the television cameras. Some of them are passionate about the club they manage but most of them are worried about losing their own stash of money. Relegation means the reduction in bonus payments and maybe the loss of a job. The same goes for the players. If QPR gets relegated then the players would lose money and maybe would have to find another club. Whilst some of them will be sorry that QPR were relegated, most of them won’t be if they find another club.

But will relegation affect the real fans? Will they stop going week in and week out to support their team? Will they stop singing songs about the players? Will they stop swearing and making hand gestures at the away end? Will they stop buying the over priced and lukewarm food? The answers are, of course, no, no, no, no and they would be mad not to but probably no. Relegation is not a nice experience for a fan to go through, this is speaking from personal experience of course, but the fans will survive. They always do. Hardy bunch to a man. Or woman and child. This is the 21st century after all.

Not that this matters one jot as the sad fact is that video technology, like goal line technology, will be with us soon. It will be introduced because of the money men and not for football reasons which is also a bit sad. The saddest thing of all though is the fact that this confirms what most of us have been thinking for a while now and that is that we, the fans, don’t matter to the powers that be anymore. We are a figure on a balance sheet and that, my friends, is not complete poppycock. It is fact.