West Ham at Southampton, the Anderlecht game, and thoughts on VAR, offside and handball.

Did you read Geoff’s excellent article in Under The Hammers on Thursday prior to the European game against Anderlecht? In it he described how it never ceases to amaze him how much of a pigs-ear officials have made of implementing VAR, and how the beauty of football is it’s simplicity. He went on to discuss the meal that the VAR review system made of last Sunday’s game against Fulham. For once all three West Ham goals stood following review, but they took an absolute age, didn’t they, taking the spontaneity out of celebrating a goal scored?

I’ll put my cards on the table here and say that I am a fan of the concept of VAR. But, and this is a massive but, only if it is used as it was surely intended, to highlight to the referee that he has blundered by not seeing something that has resulted in a clear and obvious error.

Goals are checked for offside, but it seems to take an age to draw the lines, and in the end it often comes down to a toe being in an offside position or not. I’d personally like to see a change to the offside law. It was originally introduced to prevent goal-hanging more than 100 years ago and this made sense at the time, and not to decide whether a player had a toe (or any other part of the body that can touch the ball legally) in an offside position anywhere in the opponent’s half. Surely it would be simple enough to change the law such that if any part of the attacker’s body is in line with any part of the defender’s body then the attacker is onside? It would take literally seconds to confirm this.

Perhaps even more controversially, how ridiculous that you can be offside anywhere in the opponent’s half? Why not extend the line of the penalty area and only give offside decisions in the final 18 yards of the pitch? This would mean that the game would be stretched over a greater area. You can’t be goal-hanging 50 yards from the goal! Perhaps this idea of mine is a step too far, but at least I understand that technology is advancing to an extent that cameras will soon be able to identify offside automatically without the need for linesmen, or assistant referees as they are now called. Perhaps that will enable them to concentrate on assisting the referee more? Is that something we would want them to do?

But even more contentious than offside in the modern game is the concept of handball. I was interested to read an article by Mike Dean in his column in the Daily Mail this week where he talks about handballs being the hardest part of being an official. “Give me a tackle, a trip, a push, some grappling in the box or an offside any day of the week” he says.

But going back to Geoff’s point about football being a simple game, why can’t we make the handball law much more straightforward? Dean goes on to discuss what the officials have to consider when assessing handball. “Did the ball strike the player on the red zone (below the shirt sleeve) or the green zone which I assume to be above the shirt sleeve? I wonder how they assess this if players are wearing long sleeves? What was the proximity of the player to where the ball was struck from? Did they have time to react? Was it deliberate? Was their arm in an unnatural position or was it naturally a consequence of his body shape an movement? How can you be sure what position is natural for the arm from one individual to another? Was there a clear movement of the arm to make the body bigger?”

He goes on to say that “handballs have always been a talking point and they remain so to this day regardless of the introduction of VAR.”

Dean’s comments lifted from his article are in bold italics in the paragraphs above. No wonder it takes so long to come to a conclusion! Once again I have what I think is a simple solution. Just leave it to the referee to decide if a player deliberately uses his hand / arm to gain an advantage. If so, then penalise him. So many handball decisions seem to be given where there is no intent. Of course the decision of the referee will be a subjective one – these are often not clear-cut, but even after looking at a multitude of camera angles, it seems to me that it is impossible to decide whether all of the points that Dean raises for handball decisions lead to a clear conclusion. Pundits analysing the decisions on TV have varying opinions. Yes, VAR can intervene if the referee has made a clear and obvious error, but let’s keep it simple. Only intervene if the referee has missed something clear and obvious. Just have one criteria. Was it deliberate or not? And that’s the end of it.

The result of the Anderlecht game was not really a reflection of the 90 minutes. At 2-0 the team concentrated on possession rather than adding to the lead, then towards the end Ben Johnson made a clumsy challenge in the penalty area which led to an unnecessary few uncomfortable minutes to see the victory out. Once again a good performance from a number of players that haven’t been in the starting eleven in league games. Once again, Flynn Downes demonstrated his midfield potential and must surely get more minutes in the near future.

Southampton are the opponents this weekend. In my start of season predictions I forecast them to be one of the three clubs to be relegated this season, and nothing I’ve seen so far has made me change my mind on this. Three Midlands clubs (Leicester, Forest and Wolves) currently occupy the relegation places with Southampton immediately above them.

Their seven points all came in the opening month of the season, drawing at home to Leeds, winning at Leicester, and at home to Chelsea. In September they lost at Wolves and Villa, and in October so far they were soundly beaten (as so many are) by Manchester City and then last weekend lost at home to Everton.

We have yet to reach the heights of the last two campaigns this season, but our form contrasts with our south coast opponents. Where their game appears to be deteriorating with four consecutive league defeats, our form has slowly improved after not such a good start with six wins in our last seven games, two in the league and four in Europe. The European campaign has been promising without being outstanding, and we have (almost) already won the group with two games to spare.

I’d like to think that we’ll beat Southampton easily, but you never can be sure of how it will go on a Sunday following a Thursday game. 2-0 perhaps? What are the chances?

Further thoughts on West Ham at Stamford Bridge and subsequent events

What goes around comes around (sometimes sooner rather than later)!

It’s Wednesday morning on the 7th September 2022. I’m listening to some John Lennon music tracks, and one of my favourites – Number 9 dream. I wonder what Michail Antonio dreams about? Perhaps it is referees and the decisions that have gone against West Ham in the opening games this season, the disallowed goals at Nottingham Forest and Chelsea?

I’m sure you know who Lennon is, but in case you don’t he was one of the twentieth century’s greatest musical talents. He was a world-famous singer / songwriter who, together with Paul McCartney, fronted the Beatles and penned virtually all their hits. He was shot dead in New York in 1980, a sad and untimely death, aged just 40. And just in case you don’t know the Beatles, they were the world’s most successful group who changed the face of popular music in the 1960s.

As I listened to some of Lennon’s great songs I was reading through the BBC Sport website looking at the football for the previous evening. I had taken no notice of the football results last night with little interest in the early group stages of the Champions League. It’s a different matter thinking about the Europa Conference League, which, as a West Ham fan I will be following closely of course.

I read about Manchester City’s exploits and unsurprising win in Seville, and then about Chelsea’s defeat to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League. I cannot deny it. It brought a smile to my face. I looked with interest to see that Mendy had been dropped from the starting eleven, or was he rested, or injured by that vicious assault by Jarrod Bowen last Saturday? Being unfamiliar with the Chelsea substitutes I spotted his name amongst the substitutes but wasn’t sure whether he was the only keeper there.

Arrizabalaga was in goal for this game. I wonder if Mendy will have recovered in time for Chelsea’s next league game, or even from his injury? Remind me again, was it a broken or dislocated shoulder? Another report said it was a knee injury that ruled him out, even though the Senegal keeper was named on the bench and apparently took a fully active part in the pre-match warm-up. Now I am confused. What part of Mendy’s body did Bowen’s boot brush against? I also read that Chelsea had a goal disallowed in Zagreb. I don’t know if VAR was involved but I do hope so.

As I was reading the match report a message flashed up on my phone to say that Thomas Tuchel had been sacked. Surely not! What football club would hand their manager the world-leading transfer kitty in the summer – how much was it £250 million or close to £300 million – and then sack him so early in the season just after losing his 100th game in charge less than one week after the transfer window had been slammed shut? Only Chelsea could do that! They have lost their Russian benefactor who was famous for sacking managers but the new regime still seems to have unlimited funds to spend. By the way, does Financial Fair Play still exist?

I was fuming on Saturday about the closing stages of our game at Chelsea. Not only by Cornet’s header against the post which might have secured three points, but the events following Chelsea’s goal to give them a 2-1 lead. It seemed incredible to me that the well-taken finish (by Cornet, making up for his glaring miss) could possibly be disallowed but the referee, after consulting the pitchside monitor, decided to do so. It’s a decision which has been condemned by virtually all football fans and pundits and even the referee’s body (PGMOL or whatever they are).

The only people who seemed to suggest it was a foul are Mendy (for his writhing around on the floor), Tuchel (who said so in his post-match interview on Saturday), and Graham Souness (that successful ex-football manager writing in his weekly Sunday newspaper column). Perhaps there are one or two others but the vast majority, including a couple of Chelsea fans I know could not believe the injustice of how West Ham had been robbed of a point. Apparently Tuchel was also reported as saying (after the Zagreb game) “I just didn’t see it coming.” He was referring to the poor Chelsea showing and the defeat, but I guess it could just as easily have referred to the actions of the Chelsea board on Wednesday morning! I don’t feel sorry for him. No doubt he will be well compensated for the early release from his contract.

Anyway back to the music. I was listening to a number of John Lennon tracks whilst preparing my twice-weekly music show that I present on local community radio. Just as I was reading the Chelsea stuff, about their poor result in Zagreb and the sacking of Tuchel, the next John Lennon track came on. It was a song that reached number 5 in the UK charts in 1970, and it became the first single by a solo member of the Beatles to sell a million copies. The lyrics of the song focus on a concept in which the consequences of one’s actions are immediate rather than borne out over a lifetime. They mean that your actions influence your future, perhaps sooner rather than later. I now had an even wider smile on my face. The title of the song – Instant Karma.

11 v 11

Should the red card receive its marching orders?

Red Card

So, Sofiane Feghouli’s red card was rescinded and he can now play, if selected, (and I hope he is) against Manchester City in the FA Cup third round game. I was horrified to read some so-called West Ham fans writing on twitter that as it was only Feghouli it wouldn’t have made much difference anyway! So many are quick to judge new signings based upon limited evidence. Unlike some I have high hopes in respect of Feghouli. He had a superb game in one of our early European matches this season, and even in the first 15 minutes of the United game showed some great touches. He has been injured, but now that he has recovered I think that he will prove some doubters wrong in the games to come.

Although it was possibly one of the most ridiculous sending off decisions I have witnessed in over 58 years of watching football, I did wonder about the outcome of the appeal, as we are in the hands of an FA three-person commission, and it is hard to predict what will happen sometimes. However on this occasion, if the appeal had been rejected, then it would have been against the views of around 99% of people who witnessed the incident and those who reported upon it in the media.

But many of you may remember the Swansea Chico Flores incident, when Andy Carroll was dismissed by Howard Webb after Flores gave an amazing display of acting, even worse than that of Jones the other evening. West Ham appealed but the red card stood. The three-man commission had voted 2-1 so it was obviously a close decision, and the fact that it was Howard Webb, reputedly the top referee in the country at the time (debatable in my opinion), may have swung it against Carroll. That same weekend Danny Rose had his red card rescinded.

It’s terrible that a footballer would try to get a fellow professional sent off, and even worse that referees fall for it. But Jones succeeded by the manner of his twisting, arching his back, and rolling over, and Manchester United went on to claim the three points, however unjustly. I’m afraid that I don’t agree with the “these things even themselves out over the season” lobby, as I’m afraid they don’t. It’s quite a co-incidence how the big clubs always seem to be the winners in these situations.

Unlike many people who sit in the stands to watch West Ham, I hate to see it when any player is sent off, whether it is one of ours or one of our opponents. Many fans seem to love it when an opposition player is dismissed, but I don’t. It totally spoils the entertainment and generally makes for a very unbalanced game, usually attack v defence. The team with 11 usually win, though not always, and West Ham have in the past showed that we are not the best team around to exploit a man advantage.

We’ve had a few players sent off in recent seasons and a surprising number have been rescinded, and perhaps even more should have been. A good referee should only dismiss players when he is absolutely certain that it is the correct decision to do so. The entertainment of thousands (and sometimes millions for TV games) can be spoiled by an incorrect action.

But I would like to see a change in the laws, and no players to be sent off. Instead, if a player commits what is considered to be a red card offence, then the referee can hold up a red card but the player stays on the field. The team he plays for will have one point deducted for every red card issued. A player could even receive more than one red card in a match. You could even have a similar deduction if say, three yellow cards are issued against one team in a single match.

If the punishment affects the team’s points then managers will soon instil in their players the need to avoid these situations. I can foresee a big improvement in dissent from players, too. The player can still be punished after the game by fines, and or bans, and appeals can still be heard, although these should be by a bigger committee, and should be openly witnessed, and not held secretly. Anybody who has seen televised stewards’ objections in horse racing disputes will agree that open viewing is an excellent way to show justice being done.

By implementing this change where no player is sent off, but points deducted instead, the teams and players will still be punished where the decision is proved to be a correct one, they will avoid punishment if it is judged to be incorrect on appeal, but the main beneficiaries will be the spectators who will not have their entertainment ruined by inept referees.

Palace Review – Shocking Decision

The Match of The Day pundit has a very different view of the sending off to the commentator.


Having just watched a re-run of yesterday’s Match of the Day, and still angry over the performance of the officials, I was equally appalled by the match commentary from Jonathan Pearce. In my opinion he had a very poor grasp of the “mad minute”.

Firstly he reckoned that Cresswell was barely touched and went down too easily. Wrong I reckon. Next he was virtually suggesting that you could tell how easily he went down by Cabaye’s reaction. Surely with all his years of commentating he might have realised that the clever players react in this way to try to get away with it when they know they have done wrong. And then if he was of the opinion that Cresswell went down too easily, how comes he believed that the slight brush on Zaha was worthy of a second booking.

 I like to think I can remain unbiased when watching football. Yes I am a West Ham fan and that must influence me, but I can clearly recall instances where I have been disappointed by poor officiating when opposing players have been sent off in the past too.

At least Alan Shearer, an excellent pundit in my view with a good understanding of the game, got it spot on. It was a penalty and the second booking wasn’t even a foul. But I was very unimpressed with Mr. Pearce.

Offside: Changes Needed? – Part Two

Time to interfere with the offside rule and introduce video technology?

OffsideFollowing on from my previous article where I discussed a radical change to the offside law and why it is necessary, I’ll add further to my reasoning today. The optical problems for the officials that I referred to is not the end of the story. Assistant referees have to remember that it is not an offence in itself for a player to be in an offside position. A player is in an offside position if any part of his head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half, and any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent, but at the same time he has to disregard the hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers.

The linesman should only then penalise the player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate when he becomes involved in active play. This could mean interfering with play by playing the ball itself, or interfering with an opponent by preventing the opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by obstructing his line of vision, or challenging the opponent for the ball, or clearly attempting to play a ball which is close to him when this action impacts on his opponent, or making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of the opponent to play the ball.

Are you still with me because there is more to consider yet! This player in the offside position should also be penalised if he is gaining an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent when it has rebounded, or been deflected off the woodwork, or an opponent. Offside should also be penalised when the ball has been deliberately saved by an opponent. A save is when a player stops a ball which is going into or very close to the goal with any part of the body except the hands (unless the goalkeeper within the penalty area). But, a player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save by any opponent) is not considered to have gained an advantage.

You probably think I am making all this up, but I am doing my best to interpret the rules and governance as provided in the IFAB Laws of the Game relating to offside for 2016-17. And I haven’t even finished yet! There are other considerations relating to both defending and attacking players leaving the field of play deliberately without permission. I won’t go into this in too much detail as I find it extremely hard to follow.

My proposal is simple, though. Firstly, I’d like to see the offside rule confined to the eighteen yards at each end of the pitch. I’m afraid I just cannot see the point of half of the pitch being involved. You cannot be considered to be goal hanging just inside your opponents’ half. I wonder if anybody anywhere has asked the question as to why we have persisted with offside in this great expanse for so many years?

Yes, they continue to tinker with the concept of interference, and active involvement, but it only serves to confuse the issue in a game that is generally very simple to understand. The introduction of this change would also have the benefit of stretching the game over a wider area rather than the players bunching up as they do as a result of the current offside law.

The assistant referees would still have to make the decisions that they do now, but surely it will be far simpler for them to do so if they only have the eighteen yard line to the goal line to worry about. But I then propose to take it further. To improve the accuracy of offside decisions at the higher levels of the game, then we must begin to use video technology.

Perhaps it needs to be introduced a little at a time, with extensive trials to ensure it is helping to improve the accuracy of key decision making in the game. So, for example, as a first step, when a goal is scored and there is a suspicion of offside the technology could be used to check the validity of the goal. Assistant referees must be encouraged not to raise their flag unless they are fairly certain of offside. The benefit of the doubt should always be given to the attacker. Video replays would only be necessary if a goal is subsequently scored.

It won’t be perfect but we will have greater accuracy and consistency than currently exists. Hazard was only slightly offside when he headed the ball in from Ramires cross in the Chelsea game at Upton Park in March 2015, but the replay showed within seconds that he was offside. In this example, at the moment the ball hit the net from Hazard’s header the referee would be asking the video referee “is there any reason to disallow the goal, for example for offside?” As we saw within seconds on Sky, the reply would be “yes he was offside, disallow the goal”. It wouldn’t hold up the game, the Chelsea players would still have been in the celebration process. Even if the referee had not asked the question, the video referee could have told him that the goal was offside.

If you haven’t read enough of my arguments and want to know more, then there are a number of frequently asked questions on the FA website to baffle you even further. But I’d like to think that the change suggested would improve the game. At the very least I’d like to see it tried out. It makes sense to me.  What are the arguments against trying it? But will it be tried? Of course not, because the change is too radical. But should it? Of course it should.

The complexity of the other supplementary situations that I describe in this article must also be addressed. I remember once that it used to be a straightforward question “is the player in an offside position interfering with play?” If you added this to the 18 yard offside rule change, then surely it would be simpler for us all to understand.

Offside: Changes Needed? – Part One

Raising the flag on problems and shortcomings of the current offside rule.

OffsideI recently wrote an article where I posed the question, “what is the point of the penalty area?” In this I suggested the removal of the penalty area as it stands to be replaced by a line, which would stretch right across the pitch. The line would have nothing to do with the issuing of penalty kicks, but would be an instrumental line for a change in the ridiculous offside law (as it stands), which I will outline further starting with this article.

I’ve got a lot of views about offside and I’ve been reading about the law, FIFA guidance, referee guidance etc. One problem I have is that it has been proven in scientific research that human beings (including linesmen!) physically cannot move their eyes fast enough to take in all the necessary action. To make a correct decision they have to assess the positions of the player passing the ball, the player receiving the ball, and the second from last defender at the exact moment a pass is made, bearing in mind that they could be some distance apart, and possibly moving at speed in opposite directions.

I believe we need to look back in history to ascertain why the offside law was introduced in the first place. If you study the development of football in the 1860s, the offside law was probably the biggest bone of contention between the clubs in existence at the time who all had their own version of it.

A compromise was eventually agreed and written into the Laws of the Game in 1866, and was eventually adopted throughout. It was similar to the rule that exists today with the difference being that at a player was offside if he was in the opponents’ half, and he was nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and at least three opponents when receiving a pass from his team-mate.

The rule changed in 1925 with three opponents becoming two opponents. In 1990 the law was amended so that a player was onside if he was level with the second to last opponent. This change was considered to be part of a movement by the authorities to make the rules more conducive to attacking football and help the game to flow more freely.

But why was it introduced in the very first place? In the very early games of football, players would stand close to the opponents goal, a term known as goal-hanging (as happened a lot in the playground games of football in my day), and the ball could be played to them, where they would be in a good position to score, and obstruct the goalkeeper too. Quite clearly as the game developed it was realised that this was an unsatisfactory state of affairs.

But why do we have the situation where you can be offside in half of the area of the pitch? Can you really be goal-hanging more than fifty yards from goal? Once we’ve dispensed with the nonsensical penalty area that I previously referred to, I believe we should draw a line across the pitch, say 18 yards from the goal line. It doesn’t have to be necessarily 18 yards; it could be 20. Some experimentation would be needed of course. We would then change the rule so that you can only be offside in this final 18 yards of the pitch. This would prevent the current condensing of play in the centre of the field and stretch it out further.

In my view it would also help the assistant referee, whose task with regard to offside can be difficult, as they need to keep up with the flow of the game, consider if players are in an offside position when the ball is played, and then decide if any players that are in an offside position become involved in active play.

As I mentioned before, officiating errors in respect of offside are inevitable from an optical viewpoint, with the eyes and brain of a human being unable to process all of the necessary action to accurately call an offside decision accurately. The risk of errors increases by the foreshortening effect, which can happen when the distances between the attacking player, the defending players, and the assistant referee vary significantly. This is exacerbated if the assistant referee is not directly in line with the defender, and with the speed of the game today, this is virtually impossible.

The assistant referee has to judge if a player is level with an opponent at the moment the ball is kicked. The ball may be kicked from a short distance away or 40 yards away, and the linesman has to be able to see all of this with one set of eyes. It becomes even more difficult if an attacker and a defender are running in opposite directions. Sometimes it is just not possible to keep all necessary players in the field of vision at once.

This article will be continued with further details of the complexity of the offside rule that most of us don’t know about, and ideas for solutions to simplify the law for players and spectators alike, together with a call for video replays that could easily be introduced without any hold up to the game.

Spotlight on the Officials

A quick look at some of the decisions made by the referees this weekend.

RefereeingTraditionally it has always been said that if you don’t notice a referee in a game of football then he’s had a good game. To some extent this is true. Referees and their assistants do have assessors in the stands at every game feeding back on their performance so in theory their decisions (or non-decisions) are scrutinised carefully. But if a referee doesn’t get a mention in a newspaper or media report on a game then he should normally be pleased. Although some do court the attention and believe they are on a par with the players in providing the entertainment.

All officials will continue to make mistakes (as we all do in life), and until some form of video technology is introduced then these errors will continue to be highlighted, and can have a significant outcome on the results of games. The concept of using video referees in the stands is something that is gaining momentum, and something I am wholly in favour of. The technology is there, although we have to be careful how it is used. I will expand upon how it can be introduced at a later date, but I believe it is urgently needed to minimise the errors made by the officials. I have heard that generally they are in favour themselves and would welcome the help it would give them. In the meantime I have noted a few issues that have come up even at this early stage of the season.

Last weekend Jon Moss took charge of the Watford v Chelsea game. Apart from missing one of the most blatant handballs you will ever see when Cathcart handled from a corner, Moss also failed to send off Costa for simulation (diving to most of us) after he had booked him for dissent earlier in the game. This meant he was still on the field when he shouldn’t have been to score the winning goal late in the game. Ring any bells? Oh yes Anthony Taylor failed to send him off for his disgraceful challenge on Adrian, after he had previously booked him for dissent just a few days earlier. The result of all this? Chelsea have got six points this season after two games when some might argue they should only have two. Those points might be very important in the final analysis. I remember Mr. Moss well for what I believe were important decisions against us at Leicester last season and at Tottenham the season before. 95th minute penalties if I recall correctly?

“Perhaps the first on Drinkwater was debatable, but the second was cast-iron, stonewall, nailed-on, or whatever you would like to call it.”

Tony Pulis’ teams have I believe, got away with American Football style blocking in the penalty area at set pieces for some years. Perhaps they aren’t the only ones, but Stoke always stood out for me in this respect, and latterly West Brom are the same. Last weekend from a corner, Berahinho was detailed to “look after” the Everton keeper (Stekelenburg?) and backed him into the net as a corner came across allowing McAuley a free header to score. Not the first time the Albion have used this ploy. It was so obvious to see on TV but did Mr. Swarbrick see it? Apparently not.

I’ve always thought that Mark Clattenburg reminded me of somebody but I didn’t realise who until I saw him shake hands with Koscielny of Arsenal at the end of the game at Leicester. Last season Leicester were awarded a scandalous number of penalties and followed this up with one in their first game of the season at Hull. But I wonder if Mr. Clattenburg has cottoned on to this, as he denied them two fairly clear-cut spot kick awards in the game against the Gunners. Perhaps the first on Drinkwater was debatable, but the second was cast-iron, stonewall, nailed-on, or whatever you would like to call it. He was possibly the only person who saw it who didn’t think so. Perhaps he is single-handedly giving Leicester their comeuppance for some “dubious” penalty awards in the past year.

Well done to Mike Dean who appears to have started a one-man crusade against holding in the penalty area at corners. He awarded two penalties for this infringement in the Stoke v Man. City game and is to be congratulated in his stance to try to eradicate this nonsense from the game. But he doesn’t appear to have been backed up by referees elsewhere even though it was an issue they were going to tackle this season. Unless this is applied consistently then it will continue to spoil games. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Dean keeps it up, or if he gets criticised by the assessors for this.

My award for referee of the week goes to Craig Pawson who refereed our game v Bournemouth. I have been critical of him in the past (Arsenal last season) but felt he was spot on throughout the game and got most decisions right. He tried to let the game flow, but stopped it when he had to. He certainly made fewer mistakes than many of the players on view.