It’s 2024. The Reds are in (knock on wood) an enviable position in the table. And aside from being annoyed at the latest international break, I’m most confused about time. Specifically, how much time is there in a Premier League match? Are we being shortchanged?
Where Does The Time Go?
The process has been explained to me before. The referee on the pitch starts his fancy watch as he or she blows the whistle to begin play. Then, through some miracle of memory tricks and extensive maths, the ref semi-accurately lets the match run as long as it feels right.
For example, if a player goes down and play is stopped, the play clock continues to run, and “added time” is accrued in the mind of the match official. A bunch of fouls equals a bunch of extra time at the end of the half and the end of 90 minutes.
My two genuine questions are:
Who came up with this method of time juggling?
Why don’t they stop the clock when the whistle is blown and restart when the game restarts?
I seriously think we possess the technology to keep time. I just don’t think anyone wants to share this information. Referees are being criticized and evaluated for bad calls they’ve made. Bad decisions lead to compounded errors a lot of times. It’s to the point where it is going to change a team’s season.
What’s With The Secrecy?
Historically, games can turn in an instant. If the clock is allowed to go a minute or even a second too long, the “wrong” team could snatch the victory. Having a ref act as a timekeeper as well as the controller of the action could have massive consequences.
These are the same humans on the field who have to keep track of 22 players, two other refs, two managers, and a load of voices in his earpiece from before the first whistle until after the final one. We’re asking this guy to keep track of every second wasted on the pitch?
Let the supporters and attendees help. Track the match timer publicly. Put it on the scoreboard. Post two clocks if you want. You can have a stopwatch clock that ticks off seconds between whistles and a regular match clock that covers the set 90 minutes. Then, when extra time exists (which it always does), the stopwatch clock runs backward to count down the remaining time.
YES! I know that fouls and stoppages occur during extra time. When that happens, the clock that is counting down counts back up until the match restarts. It’s fairly simple. I can’t understand why this and other improvements aren’t embraced.
The Hourglass Theory
The moments we have to enjoy this sport get fewer every day. I’m not trying to darken the mood, but time is serious stuff. The sand isn’t flowing against gravity into the top chamber of the hourglass. Our time to revel in Liverpool’s performances is finite.
If time were money, as some people say, then we’d probably be more careful with it.
That’s really all I want from the PGMOL, the refs, and the players too. I don’t think they truly appreciate their time to the same degree we supporters do. None of us is here for a long time, but let’s make that a good time as long as possible.
I think that starts with being open and accurate with match timekeeping. Let’s have the entire EPL machine care as much as we fans do about this beautiful game.
Until next time…