FOOTBALL in its most basic form is wonderfully simplistic.

A patch of ground, something round for a ball, a set of goalposts (or jumpers if you like) and away you go.

The link between the top level of football and the young men and women who play on park fields or in the streets has, for the past 150 years, been one of football's great appeals.

But as time moves on and technology advances, the differences between how the game in the Premier League looks and how it is played at grassroots also grow.

The latest introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) is another example of that.

Imagine this Saturday at the Rush Green Bowl as FC Clacton v Godmanchester Rovers reaches a pivotal moment.

In the 89th minute, with the score at 1-1, a Clacton player bursts into the penalty area and goes down under a challenge.

All eyes turn to the referee, who has his finger pressed to his ear.

No-one is certain if he is asking for VAR or trying to block out the stream of abuse from the chirpy winger who has been on at him all game.

He makes his way over to the pitch-side camera to review the incident.

However, that proves inconclusive as the small camcorder had its view obscured as Bryan (Piero), our hospitality man, walked in front of the camera at just the wrong moment.

The second video – a ground-hopper filming the game on his mobile phone – proves equally useless as he was busy tweeting about an amusing pigeon-related incident at the time and so didn’t see the foul.

Eventually the referee consults Baz (Barry Leatherdale), who claims he had a clear view from his elevated position in the burger van and who says that it was a definite penalty.

On that basis, with darkness now fallen and many spectators having drifted home out of the cold, a penalty is awarded and Clacton score a now 99th-minute winner to take the three points.


I'm not sure it will catch on, not at Clacton’s level at least.

So good luck to the non-league referees this weekend, by golly you will probably need it!