BBC BLOGS - Jack Ross

Archives for November 2010

Time to cool familiar contempt for Scottish referees

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Jack Ross | 18:44 UK time, Monday, 29 November 2010

Familiarity breeds contempt is often demonstrated by events in football. It could be supporters turning on a player who has been at their club for a number of seasons, or players no longer giving a manager the performances he received from them in his initial period in charge.

This weekend was probably another example in that those foreign referees drafted in to officiate in the wake of the referee strike seemed to be afforded more respect by the players. I attended the Hamilton against St Mirren match and it appeared that fewer decisions were as vigorously questioned as normal and this spectator view was supported upon speaking with some of the players involved in the match.

It could, of course, be just a consequence of improved refereeing, but a more likely reason would be that players, being acutely aware of the circumstances surrounding the officials in charge, were more accepting of decisions. Furthermore, it may be that some players knew that dissent would perhaps be lost in a thick Scottish accent and thus rendered it redundant!

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International football rules, OK?

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Jack Ross | 16:11 UK time, Monday, 22 November 2010

I am not sure if a rain-lashed Wednesday evening match at Broadwood Stadium in front of a small crowd would merit a mention in most players' career highlights, but for me it most certainly does.

This was the occasion when I was fortunate enough to represent my country in a B international against Northern Ireland, and while it was neither a packed Hampden nor a full international, it was a huge honour for me to get to draw a famous dark blue jersey over my shoulders.

I can remember the build-up to this match being dominated by criticism of the timing and relevance of it and in some expert's musings the question was why any player would want to play in such a game and that anyone in possession of a pair of boots would be a candidate for selection.

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How to prepare for Gareth Bale and Aiden McGeady

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Jack Ross | 11:20 UK time, Monday, 15 November 2010

Whenever a player is producing excellent individual performances, a common question asked of any future opponent is: "How do you stop him?"

At this moment, every right full-back about to face the considerable talents of Gareth Bale (pictured) is being probed for an answer to such a predicament, but where do they, and every other player keen to get the better of their direct opponent, get the solutions?

Is it correct to assume that the responsibility for informing players of the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition should rest solely with the management, or should, and do, players do their own homework, thus improving the possibilities of them producing a good performance?

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Much-maligned and misunderstood: agents in football

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Jack Ross | 12:41 UK time, Monday, 8 November 2010

This is not another blog on the subject of referees but rather a look at others who are often portrayed as football bad guys - the agents!

It seems appropriate in the wake of the Wayne Rooney contractual saga where some apportioned blame to those who advise one of the world's most famous footballers. So how much of an influence do agents have upon their clients, are they necessary and how prevalent are they in the Scottish game?

To begin with, I would suggest that there is a significant agent presence in our domestic leagues with a fairly large variance in number and profile of players they represent and in the advice and expertise they offer to these players.

There are of course others who it could be argued fill the role of player recruiters operating under the umbrella of licensed agents sometimes based in another country.

This is quite common with agencies operating from England, as Scottish players show a desire to move south to the comparative riches of the Championship and beyond.

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