Iwan Roberts: It’s time to call time on VAR... it’s sucking the life out of our beautiful game

Two penalties were awarded by the video assistant referee (VAR) during Norwich City's 3-1 loss to Manchester United at Carrow Road last month 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Two penalties were awarded by the video assistant referee (VAR) during Norwich City's 3-1 loss to Manchester United at Carrow Road last month Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

We’ve had VAR in the Premier League for four months and I’m officially saying I hate it.

It's a shambles and I'd rather it disappeared altogether, it's driving me mad! It's sapping the fun, enjoyment and the excitement out of the game, all the things we love and why we watch football.

People said by the introduction of VAR it would stop fans discussing certain close decisions on a Monday morning that referees had made during games over the weekend, how wrong were they? Because of some of the shocking decisions made at Stockley Park it's not just the Monday that fans are talking about these decisions, it's the whole week and that can't be right.

I've admitted as a former striker I would hate it as it would be taking goals from me and that split second of pure adrenalin and euphoria when you've scored a goal wouldn't be there as I'd know that my goal would have to be checked and checked again before the celebrations began.

We saw an example of this last Sunday at Old Trafford when Tyrone Mings made it 2-2 with a perfectly timed run into the United box to volley home past David de Gea, only not to celebrate as he knew all the checks by VAR had to be made before the goal was awarded.

Norwich City felt the thin end of the wedge again with the VAR-system in a 2-2 Premier League draw with Arsenal Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdNorwich City felt the thin end of the wedge again with the VAR-system in a 2-2 Premier League draw with Arsenal Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich have as much reason as anyone to be angry and annoyed with VAR as the Canaries have had more than their fair share of very poor decisions lately, especially at Carrow Road. People say these decisions even themselves out over the course of the season, well if that's the case Norwich have got a hat full of positive VAR decisions coming their way in the second half of the season, well you can but hope.

It was great to see my old team mate Craig Fleming on the Southampton bench on Wednesday night as part of Ralph Hasenhüttl's coaching team.

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Last season Hasenhüttl didn't bring anyone with him to St Mary's and worked with the staff that were already in place, but having kept the Saints up he was told in the summer that he could bring his own team over from Germany which meant the majority of last season's first team coaching staff lost their jobs, apart from three.

Kelvin Davies, Dave Watson and Craig were asked to stay on and I'm delighted for Flem as he's worked his socks off to get where he's at without having too many breaks in his coaching career.

Craig and I signed on the same week back in July 1997 and is someone that I still keep in touch with. Whenever he hears that I've had something cut from my body because of sun damage he's always one of the first people to ring me and ask if everything's okay, mind you I think that's because he still feels guilty because he nearly killed me when he hit me full force on the back of my head while we were playing golf in a charity golf day at Sprowston Manor.

One of the funniest things I ever saw up at Colney was when Craig placed a dead pheasant in Paul Crichton's locker! This pheasant had been dead a few days and it wasn't pretty.

Craig and Paul were always up to no good and the two of them had been having a right ding dong all morning, I think Paul had cut up Craig's shoes which wasn't such a bad thing as his choice of footwear was shocking. However, Flem would have the last laugh.

During training Craig had spotted the dead pheasant in the farmer's field next to the training ground. After training he went into the kitchen, borrowed some rubber gloves (I hope he didn't give them back), and went and picked up the dead bird while Paul was having his lunch.

Fatally Crichts hadn't locked his locker and so Craig hung it up there on his clothes. Let's just say that everything was ruined and Paul had to bin the lot and go home in his training kit!

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