Now an outspoken pundit who offers comment on the Premier League each week, Paul Merson knows all about what it takes to ensure the English top-flight remains entertaining for the paying public and those watching on at home.
A player who graced the league for a number of clubs, Merson’s affinity with the league is obvious, but that occasionally spills over into increasingly passionate rants about where the powers that be are going wrong in terms of diluting various aspects of the game.
Earlier this week, it was suggested that ‘sin bins’ might be trialled in the Premier league and, writing to Sky Sports, Merson hasn’t held back.
‘So they want to bring in sin bins. Sin bins? Pathetic,’ he wrote in his column for the broadcaster.
‘You put someone in the sin bin in football for 10 minutes, you’re killing the game. You’d get 10 players sitting behind the ball the whole time, it’d be the most boring football ever. It’s an absolute waste of time, a waste of time.
‘Everybody loves the Premier League, you have a shot at one end and there’s a corner up the other end 30 seconds later. That just goes out the window for this 10 minutes, the team with the man down have got no choice but to sit behind the ball.’
Whilst there are surely likely to be a fair number of people to support his point of view, particularly with relation to VAR and how this concept would dovetail, the constant surrounding of referees has to stop.
Sin binning players for 10 minutes, whilst seemingly controversial at present, has worked brilliantly well in rugby, who also only allow their captains to approach the match official.
Will it spoil the enjoyment of the game for those who spent their hard-earned? Undoubtedly. No more so than any other development across the years that punters soon get used to however.