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It’s time to show the red card to abusive parents at youth football matches

Opinion
Opinion

So video assistant referees (VAR) have finally arrived in English football.

In my humble opinion, any help afforded to the men and women in the middle and on the touchline has to be applauded.

Go to any football ground in the country, be it the Premier League or a youth game, and you’re likely to hear the referee’s eyesight or even their parentage questioned.

I, myself, have been guilty of it in the past - I still haven’t forgiven Roger Milford for failing to send off Tottenham’s Paul Gascoigne in the 1991 FA Cup final against Forest.

I let him know in no uncertain terms from the terraces what I though of him that day.

In fact, if VAR had been around back then, Gazza would have been sent off and the mighty Reds would have gone on to win the world-famous trophy.

But away from fantasy land, the fact that you’re likely to hear such abuse at a youth game is alarming.

I myself have stood watching kids learning the game being harassed from the touchline by pushy parents - who not only bellow so-called support to little Jonny but also hurl abuse to the referee. It’s a shame video cameras can’t be installed on touchlines to capture such antics - it wouldn’t be pleasant viewing.

Only last week I heard a story about a young player - under 10 - squaring up to a so-called adult who had been sounding off from the sidelines.

Yes, it’s come to that. Perhaps the time has also come to blow the whistle on supporters - mainly gobby parents - from attending youth games.

One area has already banned shouting from the sidelines and now encourages spectators to applaud both teams, clap when a goal is scored but must not call out.

Whether it works or not is another matter, let’s hope so.

But in the meantime, if you’re a gobby parent who likes to mouth off at players as young as six or seven, then feel free to put a sock in it.

- Social media giant Facebook has announced plans to change how its news feed works, making posts from businesses, brands and media less prominent.

On a serious note, that’s not great news for us.

But my thoughts are with all those who still use Facebook for non-professional reasons - which seems to be everyone bar me - who like to scroll up and down their feed for the latest goings-on in the world.

Sadly, I guess from now on all you’ll be seeing is more photos of what people are having for tea, delightful baby scan images and check-ins at airports and hospitals

The lives people lead, eh?

- Six words come to mind when I think of US president Donald Trump: the gift that keeps on giving.

I’ll hold my hands up, I actually follow him on Twitter - it’s arguably the best parody account around.

I never, ever thought I would say this, but if you’re a Twitter user, give him a follow. Entertainment is guaranteed - then you’ll remember he’s the President of the United States of America.

You really couldn’t make it up.