Respect must be earned

The Football Association continue to press forward with their Respect campaign and while everyone in the game wants it to work, very few seem interested in making sure it does.

The Football Association wants it, the Referees Association certainly does and so too do all the leagues.

Indeed the Evo-Stik League are set to name and shame any of their clubs who misbehave by naming them in the press, which would be embarrassing for one of our clubs who are next to the bottom of the table in their division with 14 cautions.

Another, with 11 cautions and a sending off, are near the bottom of the Premier Division and they had another player sent off last Saturday but they are not alone with two clubs having three players red-carded and five having two dismissed.

In the 10 teams we cover plus two fringe clubs, the opening five weeks has seen 10 players sent off along with a further 10 from opposing clubs and it’s a record that everyone should be ashamed of.

Some will argue that there are poor referees and while I would agree with that to a certain extent they are not responsible for players dreadful behaviour. For that, I lay the blame firmly at the feet of some of our managers, who certainly do not set the right example. Indeed their gestures and language from the dugouts, often encourages the goings on of their players on the pitch.

Referees too, must act against things, particularly the assistant referees who stand yards away from foul-mouthed managers in dugouts and do nothing. Let us also remember, that referees have no divine right to expect respect, it is something they must work hard for and earn it on the pitch.

It is an argument that I fear is not going to go away but in the summer I was presented with a Respect badge that I wear on my blazer. Sadly, the wording on it is beginning to fade, exactly like it is on the field off play.