My four-point plan to stop calamity refs

Why my buddy Brad will be keeper of the flame at Wembley

Why England must take reborn Scholes to Euro 2012  

The officiating at Wigan v Manchester United reminded me of Pele's final game, in which he played a half each for Santos and the New York Cosmos.

One error ruled out a good Wigan goal in the first 45 minutes and another incorrectly awarded a corner against United which led to Shaun Maloney's winner.

People talk about decisions evening up over the course of a season but here was a case of it happening in the same game!

When I was playing we'd have moaned about the officials getting together at the break, looking at the first half incidents and deciding to go easy on the team they've wronged.

Now I realise what a tough and thankless task referees have - although, as I've told you before, I really do question whether some officials love the game and see it in the same way we do.

To help them out, I propose four quick changes for next season:

* Simplify the offside rule so anyone who is off is off, whether they are deemed to be interfering with play or not.

* End the ridiculous rule which says taking your shirt off or celebrating with the fans who pay good money to see you is an automatic booking.

* Close up the loophole that means the likes of Mario Balotelli escape retrospective action when a ref says he saw the initial incident and got it wrong.

* Bring in an extra official to deal with the whining and swearing from managers on the touchline, so the fourth official can actually help out with what's happening on the pitch.


Last week, the Goal Of The Season betting consisted of Peter Crouch's wonder strike against Manchester City at odds-on and "any other goal" at 5-1.

Abbey must have been clearing shelf space for his award.

Then came Hatem Ben Arfa's worldy against Bolton, and it will be a tall order for Crouchie to win it now.

The turn, skill, the acceleration... it's the best goal I've seen in years and deserves to be part of an award double for Newcastle, with Alan Pardew winning Manager of the Year    

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