Last on MOTD: The Lynn Faulds Wood guide to being a linesman

POOR Trevor Massey. It’s one thing to be attacked by Neil Warnock. It’s another to be attacked by a corner flag.

Warnock, you’ll remember, called for Massey to be banned after he wrongly awarded Aston Villa the corner which led to Stiliyan Petrov’s equaliser in the … I’m sorry, I’m getting bored just typing that sentence.

So let me deal with the corner flag – an inanimate object. Harmless, you say? Never. Anyone who remembers the glory days of Watchdog with Lynn Faulds Wood knows that.

Now I’m not sure if Faulds Wood really did spend week after week marching around the BBC studio declaring this tin opener, that kettle, this frisbee and that blancmange as a “potential deathtrap”. Apart from anything else, it’s very poor English. Something is either a deathtrap or it isn’t. The word ‘potential’ is superfluous, just as it is in the phrase “potential banana skin”.

(I didn’t mean to come over all Lynne Truss at this point, as that would be a rather unedifying spectacle. But what is a potential banana? I don’t know, but if I ever form a band – which is incredibly unlikely given that I am the wrong side of 30 and can’t play any instruments – that’s what I’ll call it.)

I suspect the whole “potential deathtrap” thing was Hugh Dennis’ fault. I remember a sketch on The Mary Whitehouse Experience in the early 1990s, in which Dennis wandered past a series of harmless objects, declaring each one a potential deathtrap in an increasingly hysterical high-pitched Scottish voice.

Then again, Watchdog’s producers didn’t help themselves by once devoting an entire show to highlighting the dangers of Kellogg’s Pop Tarts. (Although I think that, on a subliminal level, the show was actually about the dangers of allowing simpletons to use a toaster.)

So I think, from that, we can all make a guess as to Faulds Wood’s views on the corner flag that very nearly had Massey’s eye out.

Last night’s final match: Birmingham 1 Wigan 0
Commentator: Steve Bower

Trevor was working as a linesman at a Premier League game, when one player slid into another right by the corner flag. The flag popped up and hit Trevor, cutting his head. However, Trevor failed to contact AmbulanceChasers4U, and thus was awarded no compensation whatsoever. If you’ve had an accident at work in the last three years…

That was it, really. Birmingham’s Liam Ridgwell clattered into Wigan’s James McCarthy, causing the flag pole to smack the unfortunate Massey. It was, perhaps, the most unusual football injury of the season. Maybe someone should start a campaign to ban corner flags. After all, we all know where the corner of the pitch is already, don’t we?

Wigan, in their horrible orange away kit, were already one down by then, having conceded a penalty that should never have been awarded. Mario Melchiot didn’t appear to touch Keith Fahey, who went down anyway to win a penalty converted by James McFadden.

“Referee Anthony Taylor had no hesitation,” said commentator Steve Bower. Which brings me back to potential banana skin territory.

You see, a few years ago, I read an article in a football magazine (I forget which one, but it was glossy and probably claimed to be irreverent) about a writer having a crack at a training class for budding commentators.

The course was led by Gary Bloom, who is probably best known for being Peter Brackley’s stand-in back in the days when Football Italia was on Channel Four. The only bit of the article I remember concerned Bloom taking the writer to task for using the phrase “the referee had no hesitation”, because it was essentially meaningless. The point, I think, was that you’d expect the referee not to hesitate – it would be more remarkable if he did.

At St Andrew’s yesterday, the referee probably should have hesitated. Wigan manager Roberto Martinez thought so. At least Massey wasn’t on the wrong end of that attack.

Gubbometer

1. Blackburn: 6 (GD: 1. 2L: 3.)
2. Portsmouth: 6 (GD: 1. 2L: 0.)
3. Stoke: 6 (GD: 0. 2L: 2.)
4. West Ham: 5 (GD: 1. 2L: 2.)
5. Everton: 5 (GD: 1. 2L: 0.)
7. Wigan: 5 (GD: 0. 2L: 3.)
6. Hull: 4 (GD: 0. 2L: 6.)
8. Bolton: 3 (GD: 0. 2L: 7.)
9. Fulham: 3 (GD: 0. 2L: 5.)
10. Aston Villa: 3 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
11. Gubba: 2 (GD: 2. 2L: 3.)
12=. Burnley: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 6.)
12=. Wolves: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 6.)
14. Birmingham: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 5.)
15. Tottenham: 2 (GD: 0. 2L: 2.)
16. Arsenal: 1 (GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
17. Liverpool: 1 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)
18. Sunderland: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 6.)
19=. Chelsea: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
19=. Manchester United: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 1.)
21. Manchester City: 0 (GD: 0. 2L: 0.)

GD = Gubba difference
2L = On second last (Last night’s penultimate match was: Bolton 1 Wolves 0.)

(NB. Teams will receive one point for every time they appear last on MOTD. Appearances on MOTD2 are not included. Teams level on points will be separated by Gubba difference – the number of times a team is on last with Tony Gubba commentating. Teams still level will then be separated by the number of times they appear second last on MOTD.)

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