Vaargh! Video meltdown at Wembley as Tottenham beat Rochdale...eventually

VAR farce

Watching fans of other clubs broil in their own furious juices over VAR used to be quite a fun pastime. Nothing fills up a Twitter timeline quicker than an irate supporter, who feels they’ve been unjustly duped by the robot future of modern football. An absorbing breakdown to witness.

Importantly, dodgy VAR decisions was something that happened to other clubs. Spurs had yet to experience the joys of the video assistant experiment, so could enjoy the drama from a safe distance.

That all changed on Wednesday night, as Tottenham became the latest high-profile victim of the sport’s newest moan du jour. February 28th, 2018. The day the laughter stopped. Now we’d all like to see VAR do the honourable thing and pop itself into the nearest bin. Or at least, have a bit of a rethink.

Technology has its place

Look, I’m no Luddite. Online banking doesn’t terrify me and I know how to use the self-checkout at Morrisons. I embrace technology and think football too can benefit from the miraculous reach of automated help. But that’s not really what this is. Not yet, anyway.

Technology didn’t decide to rule out Erik Lamela’s opener on Wednesday night; a man sat in a room watching a television did. In its purest form, a man’s interpretation of an event, presumably after several watches, at various speeds and angles. An incident, which, most people just happened to have a contrasting view on. Is this any more helpful than a ref in the thick of the action making the call? What’s the use of lengthy deliberation if ultimately they come to the wrong conclusion?

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‘We are going to kill emotion in football’

The retrospective decision making pretty much puts a bullet in the concept of a goal celebration. Footballers will become too scared to fully lose it in a clinch moment, for the fear of hearing the whistle and having to sheepishly trot back into position to face a free-kick.

Imagine if Marco Tardelli was cut-off mid hooha in the 1982 World Cup final, because it turned out some chap in the gantry had spotted an innocuous tangle of limbs in the box? The type which we saw Fernando Llorente penalised for at Wembley. ‘We are going to kill emotion in football’, claimed Mauricio Pochettino, after Wednesday’s farce.

That doesn’t even sound hyperbolic. Think of every hair-raising moment you’ve witness as a football fan, and then picture it being ruined by a late whistle and half-hearted ‘Mike, there’s been an infringement.’

VAR needs a drastic review or scrapping altogether.