Monday Night Football really served up an absolute gem last night when Everton faced off with Newcastle at Goodison Park. After cracking my fingers read to jot down a few things about an imperious Everton performance off the back of their magnificent first-half rendition something got in the way; goal-line technology after Victor Anichebe’s effort was deemed to have not crossed the line.
But the old cliché of ‘it all works itself out in the end’ that bad decisions are eventually levelled is always brought up during these times of official baiting and a hark back to the dawn of calls for goal-line technology should prove a timely reminder to Everton fans, and the football community, that there may be credence to the claims.
Its 1997 and technology for football matches is leaping unbounded into the millennium and Andy Gray has all sorts of modules on his pre-historic Ipad to play with. Even one that turns all the players into little virtual men combined with the ability to tessellate the camera angle all directions whilst the virtual representations of Terry Phelan, Gerry Taggart and Neville Southall remain frozen in time.
It is a clear goal, Taggart has rattled the underside of the bar and the ball has crossed the line on the way down with Phelan scrambling the ball away as Southall watches on turtle-like from the ground. It would have been Bolton’s first at the Reebok Stadium and given The Trotters a 1-0 lead with an hour left to play in the relegation clash. But the officials continued play, Everton swept their brows in collective relief and the game ended 0-0.
Of course there is no knowing what would have occurred in the remaining 60 minutes had the goal been given, it might have spurred Everton on to victory; but what did happen is Bolton lost to Chelsea on the final day while an early strike from Gareth Farrelly helped Everton secure a 1-1 draw with Coventry City.
Everton and Bolton both finished on the magic 40 point mark; with Everton only staying up by their superior by five goal difference.
It dawned a Sunday Sport edition about Uzbek linesman, hands of god and amorous German goalkeeping ranking the decision with them for monumentality and the clamour for goal-line technology had a new face.
The only travesty is that it is now 15 years later and we are still having the same old debate; since then we have had Stevenage Borough, Chesterfield, Frank Lampard (twice), Pedro Mendes and Clint Hill amongst countless other examples of where such simple technology could have eradicated any moments of doubt on such straightforward decisions.
At least next season it seems the issue will finally be addressed, but isn’t it coming maybe 10 or 15 years to late?
image: © Brett Jordan