Find out what it means to me....
Well what it means to me maybe a little different from what it means to Alan Pardew. It is true that respect needs to be earned in some circumstances, but in others it should just be given irrespective.
The crucial point here is how are we going to make our children respect themselves and others when those people with a much greater access to the press continue to question competence and ability.
What would Pardew think if Matt Holland came out and said that the manager was useless; he still has no idea of his best side; he has spent more money than most of the teams he seems unable to beat; and he talks rubbish just about all of the time?
I'm guessing that it would be an unpopular move by the man that is arguably our most respected (and probably most respectable) player. If we are going to have an open forum on slagging off professionals (referees are professional) when they make "the wrong decisions" maybe Pardew should be forced surrender his job and waive any compensation for bringing in a load of loan players last season and destroying our promotion challenge; or for any of the other tinkering changes that have been made that were unpopular before, during and after the event.
If we are going to show respect to millionaire football managers that are trying to do their best and are making mistakes along the way then maybe we should offer the same to referees.
I know a referee personally. He doesn't have anything to do with league games, and doesn't earn anything like the money that league refs do. However, he is a good man, and he does his best to facilitate the huge demand for local football to be refereed. The respect campaign is designed to provide a framework that ensures referees are respected on local parks and in schools. All that Pardew is doing by questioning that campaign is adding fuel to the fire that provides the kind of incidents that drives the 'amateur' referees into giving up.
If there is any question of the referees cheating for personal reasons or for financial gain then I have no problem with throwing the book at them. Frankly, due to my love of the game, I would lock them up and throw away the key. Until, however, that is proved we are let's show these guys some respect.
We have a lot less press coverage now that we have been relegated, and by definition so does Pardew. For me I would prefer to keep it that way if the only alternative is to come out and make us targets for criticism. I can't help thinking that the more we (Pardew) publicly blames others for our failings the less respect we as a club (and the manager in particular) will have from the football world.
I have no doubt that the linesman (I will never call them assistant referees) at Vicarage Road on Saturday did what he though was best. I actually find that kind of thing to be part of the wonder of football. A mistake, an error, a human failing can have an impact in a sporting event that ensures the unpredictability. In a world where we are constantly complaining about the top four being guaranteed blah blah blah it is nice to think that there are still variables that cannot be anticipated that can change results.
Even if these things go against your team you can be sure that at some point you will have a decision go in your favour. Watford, for example, benefited from Kelly Youga being sent off when we played there. My own personal view was that Kelly was a little unlucky to be sent off, but that's football. That is one of the reasons why we go to football and Charlton in particular.
I don't have a problem with managers pointing out that they believe their result could have been better if the referee had made different decisions. However that old saying about greenhouses and stones comes to mind. I am more than a little fed up with Pardew blaming everything else for our (his) failings.
I haven't even mentioned the fact that Forrest were on a terrible run of form, must have been very low on confidence and have serious weaknesses at the back so Pardew plays 4-5-1 and invites them to attack us!
As for suggesting a personal witch hunt and following this particular referee's career? Come on Pardew show us all a little respect and start focusing on your job rather than that of a referee who didn't save your blushes when you picked the wrong team.
R E S P E C T
That's what it means to me!