Kelly’s Eye: Make it a sin for cynical soccer teams who don’t play the game properly

Hartlepool United and Wycombe Wanderers in action at Victoria Park on Saturday. Picture by Tom Collins.
Hartlepool United and Wycombe Wanderers in action at Victoria Park on Saturday. Picture by Tom Collins.

Is it time for football to bring in or trial the sin-bin?

Kelly writes his weekly tosh with Hartlepool United’s win over Wycombe still relatively fresh in my mind.

Kelly did not keep count and some smarty pants might come back at me and say “Pools gave away more fouls than Wycombe”.

I doubt it though.

Kelly’s Eye never heard the cheer that greeted Pools’ valuable win over the high-fliers because all I had ringing in my ears was the referee’s whistle.

Do you know what Wycombe did at Victoria Park, apart from lose 1-0?

They fouled. Then they fouled again. And after that? Committed more fouls.

Would I lie to my readers? Sorry, reader.

Before any old team-mate or adversary of mine chirps up “all you were good at was fouling” I would agree that is true.

But that’s because I could not play football. Wycombe, judging by their record, can. I presume they simply chose not to.

Kelly’s Eye is sure Gareth Ainsworth is more than just a nice hair-cut. He’s probably a good guy who remembers his mam’s birthday.

His Chairboys were not not leg-breakers but they were ever so cynical.

They would allow no flow. Pools would attack and there would be an infringement.

One of the few times I’ve seen this, bizarrely, was at the old Wembley, sorry to name drop, when Middlesbrough played Chelsea in the Coca-Cola Cup final of 1998. I know, how gifted was I to be reporting at the age of only 12.

Everyone raved about what a great triumph it was for the Blues. Rubbish I said, all they did was foul, only one side was trying to play football and that was Bryan Robson’s Boro.

Which brings me back to the start - sin-bins.

Some will say there are already four sanctions available to a ref, free-kick, penalty, yellow and red cards.

But as Wycombe proved, niggly little fouls are not properly punished.

It might be the number 22 with a push, five with a trip, 10 with a pull.

Nothing outrageous, but enough to break up play and when a free-kick comes in they have two centre-halves built like brick out houses who head the ball miles downfield.

Kelly’s Eye suggests a sin-binning for a player after an accumulation of fouls rather than any vicious hacking.

You see it in rugby. If there is a cynical act, the perpetrator is yellow-carded AND spends 10 minutes in the ‘bin’.

And if a side gives away a run of penalties, the ref may just have a quiet word with the skipper “another pen and someone’s going to walk”.

They either toe the line or go down to 14 men.

I’m sure if a footy team knew they could be reduced to 10 men or nine it could focus the mind on fair play.