A bluffers guide to the offside rule for girls by Joe Crosby

Girls, before we examine the complexities of the offside rule, let us first make it clear that Man City is not a metropolis to be excited by. Or feared for that matter. Neither is it a retail outlet on the edge of town that supplies customers with men who fall apart once you get them home. No, Man City is a football team, Manchester City to give them their exact title.

So, you want to know about offside, eh? Well, with previous incarnations of the rule it was very much black and white: a player was either offside or not.

However, in recent years the offside rule has been tampered with. It’s no longer a case of offside or onside. Much of it now is down to the interpretation of the match officials, which has caused confusion in general and many of the ex-pros turned pundits to publicly admit they no longer understand the offside rule and that the modern game (along with the rest of the modern world) has gone mad.

It’s not just those who are paid to closely follow the game that now fail to properly understand the current offside rule. Sometimes it’s the players, too. As evidenced every match day when you see a footballer all purple-faced and frothing at the mouth remonstrating in the face of the referee.

The offside rule is such a grey area that it means you can now convincingly blag it. All you need to say about the offside rule in polite conversation is this:

A) The current offside rule is set up to favour the attacking team. Fans want to see more goals, but players these days are so athletic and cover so much ground and are so tactically aware that it is much harder to score, so football’s lawmakers have tweaked the offside rules to encourage goals.

B) You’ll never get the right decisions when playing at Man United. (When the situation requires it substitute Man United for Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal).

C) It’s like Bill Shankly said, if you’re not interfering with play then why are you on the pitch?

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