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TV replays, and the return of Rav, - 15/02/2003

   Robert Lee
   Fabrizio Ravanelli
   Derby County

The debate over whether or not television replays should be used in football emerged again following our victory over Rotherham United. Goalkeeper Mike Pollitt probably wishes they were because he would not have received a red card for handling outside his area so early in the game. I was about 25 yards away when it happened and didnít have the best of views, but I thought he had slid outside the box and pulled the ball back in.

The television later proved that he had not, but we are not complaining. Itís about time we had a bit of luck, and we went on to win the game well with three good goals. I donít mind TV replays being used to judge whether or not the ball has crossed the line for a goal, or whether and infringement took place inside or outside the area. But I would not like to see TV replays used for too much than that. Football is a game of decisions and, therefore, emotions. It is also a game that benefits from its continuity. Too many breaks would spoil that.

I wouldnít want to see throw-ins or offsides decided by television replays, or, indeed, disputed corners as we saw in the recent Premiership clash between Liverpool and Arsenal. Rotherham may have been reduced to 10 men but we still had to go on and beat them. Itís never that easy to play against a team that has had a player sent off. They seem to find extra effort from somewhere. Look at Crystal Palace in midweek. They were one-up in their FA Cup replay against Liverpool at Anfield when they had a man dismissed. They continued to make it difficult for Liverpool and even scored a second goal to win 2-0. The stuffing was knocked out of Rotherham when Giorgi Kinkladze curled in the free-kick for the handling incident. But we took full advantage of the situation by keeping the ball moving. Our passing was good and we never took liberties on the ball. The manager told us not to have more than two touches and in Giorgi and Rob Lee we had the players who could open up Rotherham because they still had two banks of four behind the ball. It was nice to score three goals in front of our own supporters and we could have had six on another day. The three we did score were excellent. Giorgiís free-kick was quality and he produced a great pass for Adam Bolder to finish very well on the second goal. I think Adam has been excellent for us this season and he is capable of scoring more goals. He is a good finisher as he showed at Grimsby early in the season and heís not snatching at opportunities as much now. That comes with the confidence of knowing he is part of the team. The third came just after half time and it was good to see Izale McLeod finish it off. All in all, it was a good afternoon.

Welcome return for Fabrizio

It was nice to see the supporters reaction to Fabrizio Ravanelli when he came on as a substitute against Rotherham last weekend. A player needs that kind of welcome and encouragement when he has been out for so long. Things have not gone as well as Rav would have hoped this season, but he is now finding his way back following the operation on his Achilles. The fans pushed him on last Saturday and hopefully he will now progress in leaps and bounds.

Rob Lee still has a lot that he can offer, like myself, has been here a year now and his performance against Rotherham United showed why I was so keen for him to follow me to Derby. I knew what he could offer the club and though he recently turned 37, he has still got at least another year in him.

He does his talking on the pitch and brings a touch of class as well as experience and composure to the team. Iím not just saying this because heís a mate of mine, I think most people can see what he contributes. Heís a big help to the younger lads, especially those in midfield, and is always available to receive the ball. The likes of Rob and Giorgi can have the ball even if they have players close to them. They can handle that, they can create their own time and space. I know Rob has thoroughly enjoyed his time at Derby.

Derby Evening Telegraph

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