By Ian Hart
Almost six months into VAR and the technology has certainly polarised opinion with football fans.
To be frank, I’m still not convinced, yes it does take away the inconsistency of officials caused by that split second window to make a decision. But are we replacing one set of inconsistencies on the pitch with another set in the VAR hub?
In the main VAR has got it right, most of the time, but there still have been mistakes made despite the benefit of video playback. I, along with many other fans, still feel we are heading to a potential flashpoint.
Picture the scene, last day of the Premier League, a goal is scored in the 91st minute of a particular game, which either relegates a team or saves the team scoring. Effectively it’s a goal worth £150 million, but it goes to VAR, and then the officials take over three minutes to decide.
The tension mounts and eventually the goal stands, the stadium erupts, a celebratory pitch invasion thrown in. Or...The goal’s ruled out, the stadium still erupts, but not in the aforementioned way.
If the opinion of the VAR officials, is controversial in itself, we could end up with a full scale riot at any given Premier League Ground. Has the added technology to the event? Excitement and incident wise, yes, but does everyone get a fair shake all of the time?
Unfortunately I still think the answer is no. All credit to the Premier League for trying, but maybe the answer is to be put it to the vote? Every one of the 20 Premier League clubs has season ticket holders, the overwhelming majority of the supporters in the grounds, week in week out.
They are stakeholders in their respective clubs, for example the Albion have over 23,000.
Why not ballot every season ticket holder in the Premier League and ask them whether they want to continue with VAR next season? I would hope then that the Premier League would accept the result of the vote, because the fans are the game and they clearly know what they want, then again we said that about Brexit, so I won’t hold my breath.
Three defeats on the bounce, prior to Thursday night’s trip up the Amazon route to Arsenal, but still to my mind no cause for alarm.
Even the most die-hard Liverpool fan would be the first to admit the Albion were unlucky not to get a point at Anfield on Saturday, and regardless of what happens at the Emirates, when Wolves arrive at the Amex on Sunday the Albion won’t be in the relegation zone.
The arrival of the legendary Wanderers see the beginning of three key home games, Wolves, Sheffield United and Bournemouth, before the arrival of 2020. Basically these are the games that Albion, whilst taking nothing for granted, have to look at not only remaining unbeaten over the 360 minutes or so, but reaping a return of at least seven points, preferably all nine.
Prediction time, I’m still confident Potter is the man, and the Albion will get back to winning ways at the Amex with a 2-1 victory.