There was an item on telly the other day in which a robot sang a couple of songs (in a really sweet voice) and answered a few questions, writes Paul Thompson.
It had been pre=programmed of course but the expert in charge reckoned that robots would in future reach an amazing level of sophistication and would be able to hold an intelligent conversation with people.
Give me a human being any day.
I can appreciate the effectiveness of goal-line technology when it can swiftly rule whether or not a ball has crossed the line.
But the fallibility of officials is part of the game. They make mistakes, like players do, and while errors may deserving of criticm and are unpalatable when you’re on the receiving end, they are part of the game’s spice.
All officialdom can do is make sure that referees and linesmen are trained to the highest possible standards. Dave Jones calmly waged something of a campaign on this issue. Gary Megson was more inclined to deliver verbal volleys in response to bad decisions.
If Stuart Gray was seething inside over the yellow card for Ali Al Habsi when it should have been red, he didn’t show it at the post-match press conference
But when you’re a manager, sometimes you must be tearing your hair out.
There was a decision on Wednesday that if anything was more baffling than the Al Habsi one.
Jeremy Helan slid into what looked a great tackle; he also played the ball on to the opponent and it bounced over the byline. A linesman was was a few feet away and correctly signalled a goal kick.
But ref Andy Haines trotted over, booked Helan and gave a foul.
Gray reported a sombre mood in the dressing room as players pondered that they could have been one up against 10 men in the first half but lost to a late penalty.
He is a wise Owl and knows that you cannot start to feel sorry for yourself.
He even had the grace to says that decisions maybe do even themselves out over a season, and pointed to the Middlesbrough game, in which Boro had a man sent off for preventing a goal and earlier were wrongly denied a goal after the ball crossed the line.