Taylor gets back to being tough with Williams injury

Steve Williams was left out of the squad for the game with Stevenage after breaking one of Peter Taylor’s club rules.

Taylor requires that players report injuries they have and Williams – following his excellent display against Nottingham Forest – did not. The manager’s rod of iron rule saw the defender excluded from the squad. Discipline in the squad – for Taylor – is everything.

Williams returns to the squad for the weekend game with Torquay United with the manager unequivocal in his punishment and the reasons for it. Williams had a day off when he should have been in having treatment on a sore hamstring – Taylor says – and that is unprofessional. Punishment done, Williams back in the squad.

For Taylor WilliamsHamstringGate gives the manager a chance to publicly re-flex his muscles as a disciplinarian following a summer in which it was hard for him to project that image. Gavin Grant might have reported every injury, never turned up late for training and always tracked back but being the manager of a player who is sent to prison for murder – especially the manager who had re-signed the player – painted the gaffer in a poor light.

Add to that Jake Speight’s jailing and – rightly or wrongly – City looked like a team ill disciplined and Taylor out of touch. Swinging the bat at Williams for his transgression in a public way reasserts Taylor as the hard task master – cross him and suffer.

While the public glare might be unfair on Williams once again the ends for Taylor justify his means. Taylor rates the discipline of his squad – which is to say their willingness to do as he tells them rather than to avoid yellow cards – above all. His comments on players reflect this working around the idea that if a player “works hard and does the right things” then he will do well. The right things are laid out by the manager.

Laid out by all managers up and down the leagues – one recalls the famed Ryan Giggs/Lee Sharpe party story – oft ignored by players. When manager Stuart McCall had Matthew Clarke and Barry Conlon out drinking and dealt with it half-heartedly, Taylor will not do the same.

The risk is that Taylor the Taskmaster – as Corporal Capello stands accused of – will squeeze the enjoyment from the squad with restrictions and rules but the manager would counter that enjoyment comes from winning and that is worth the sacrifices. The booing following a hard working victory undermines what Taylor is doing in that regard.

Williams moves on – probably in need of a break on Saturday following a superb display midweek – and Taylor reasserts for him, for the rest of the players and to Bradford City supporters that there is one man you should listen to at Valley Parade, and it is he.

Video replays are not the way

Bradford City vs Crystal Palace was the ironic fixture. We had lost to a goal that never was, they had been beaten by Leeds after scoring a good goal.

Video replays, that was the phrase of the day.

Pause the game and take a look at a screen to tell you if a goal is good or bad. There is much weight on goals and results these days, lots of money riding on it, so it’s important to get these decisions right. So the thinking goes.

The thinking is right of course but it goes against the one principal of football. That the game played between Brazil and Germany in the World Cup final is the same game that AFC Wimbledon play at the bottom of the football pyramid. Unless you can do it at Wimbledon, you cannot do it at the greatest games in the land.

It’s good guiding principal. It keeps the mobility, or at least the idea of the mobility, between the levels of the game alive. “Once they cross the white line…” and all that.

Besides. Where is the goal not scored? It’s fairly clear that Palace should have had a goal against Leeds but had Michael Duburry, who’s hands were hit by the ball over the line, been two feet forward then would that have been less of a goal?

Should you not use video replay for that? Why would you stop at just goal line decisions once a precedent is set? Why not use it for decisions like the red cards that City suffered against Burnley. Yes Mike Dean is a rubbish Ref but it’s better than playing until seven thirty on a Saturday night because we stop every two minutes.

Besides, if video replays we useful for anything that weekend then it would have been the massed ranks of officials and Gooners watching Ryan Giggs miss and open goal again and again and again…

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