This is a pet peeve for me…. the referee is in control of the game. It is the referee that determines if play should be stopped whilst the ball is active on the pitch and it should be left to them to do so; if players wish to bring to the referee’s attention that a player is injured then please do so. Indeed, if a player wants to kick the ball out of play to stop the active play and allow the referee to bring on some attention for a player then please do so as well.

Even this unwritten rule that the ball should be returned to the opposition team is ok by me as long as it is within reason.

While this cannot be enforced by the referee or rules of the game, I am perfectly happy for an opposition team to retain the ball should they deem that the player who has received treatment has feigned injury, is trying to waste time or was not suitably injured to merit the action taken – i.e. kicking ball out. This is often used to break the momentum of an attacking team and is a sly method that has crept into the game.

So far, I haven’t really changed anything here other than try to change the mindset of players and fans to deal with these situations.

In fact, my main reason for focusing on this area of the game is actually in dealing with the ‘drop-ball’ scenario within a game.

I firmly believe that teams should fight for a drop ball – all this gentlemanly ‘I’ll kick it back to you and then you can kick it to our keeper’ nonsense is exactly that – nonsense!!

Please, please, please start fighting for drop-balls again! It shows a passion that transfers to the fans and gets the tempo and atmosphere of a game going.

To watch two men poised and ready to kick lumps out of each other when a referee drops that ball is a sight to behold that sadly is becoming less and less prevalent at every level of the game, from kids, to amateurs to the professional game.