Andy Gray and Richard Keys really must feel like the two biggest pillocks in sport. For me it is hard to say as I grew up with the pair and like a sufferer of Stockholm syndrome I had come to love them both. That was before I realised football pundits could actually know something about football like Gary Neville.
I once played against Keys’ son for Prospect College against Brackenhale and scored a goal that day which would have certainly been border-line offside. I like to think that he was thinking it at the time after the way he and Gray laid down some pretty misogynistic views toward Sian Massey back in 2011.
Their actual words on that fateful day were:
Keys stated, "Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her.’’ Before Gray quickly quipped "Women don't know the offside rule."
The pair were swiftly fired or asked to step down.
However it has become pretty evident ever since that not only do women know the off-side rule but Sian Massey knows it very well.
I have lost count of the amount of times I have sat watching Match of the Day over the course of the past two seasons and seen a hairline decision called perfectly by the Coventry official.
Why shouldn’t she. As a FIFA registered assistant referee it is her job to understand the offside rule to the most exemplary levels of knowledge and then apply it so when appropriate.
But plenty of the men certainly do not get it right half the time and genuinely I cannot remember a decision she has got wrong.
Is she just getting more attention because of the previous sexism scandal? I don’t think that is fair and in no way am I writing this piece as a sort of ‘yeah she is pretty good for a woman’ way. I am saying she is pretty good for an assistant referee regardless of gender to be getting so many decisions correct.
As Arsenal took on Fulham today there were several big decisions. Andre Marriner had to send off both Steve Sidwell and Olivier Giroud for nasty looking challenges; decisions that must have been correct because Arsene Wenger saw them both very clearly.
However the biggest decision may have been the disallowed goal scored by Fulham. After Stanislav Manolev tapped home it seemed Fulham had pulled level. Massey however raised her flag once more and as ever she was correct.
And I am not alone; plenty on Twitter have been singing her praises.
Silly to even bring it up but I've literally never seen Sian Massey get a major decision wrong. Surely one of the best assistant referees.— Ben D/R (@lordben) April 20, 2013
In my opinion Sian Massey is the best lineswomen. She's better then all the other male ones. All her decisions come out right you know!— Zakzz (@ZakzzMohamed) April 20, 2013
I have never seen Sian Massey get an offside call wrong. Never! She's always spot on.— Mike Njoroge (@Mikenjoro) April 20, 2013
I hear Sian Massey got an other tight offside spot on. She always seems to get it spot on she's class— chris latimer (@justbeinganicon) April 20, 2013
Well done Sian Massey...AGAIN!— Jules Wheeler (@TheRealGunner) April 20, 2013
77: Ball is in the net for Fulham but Sian Massey has the flag up. And she, as usual is right. Manolev is off by three yards.— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) April 20, 2013
image: © joncandy