July 19th, 2011

You Or The Ref: Thierry Henry

Ah, the bitchface. Letting the official know who’s in charge at an early stage is a vital part of a player’s modus operandi. Note the referee’s soothing body language. He knows this is going to be a rough game. Images: Getty Images/Zimbio.

Generally we tend to skip over the boring bits in match reports in favour of skin exposure, so our knowledge of the pressure that match officials are under during elite games is limited. We know that players exploit the rules to their own advantage and frequently go unpunished on the field, resulting in embarrassment and criticism of decisions made in the heat of the moment. It’s disappointing.

As you know, we at Kickette feel compelled to do whatever we can to preserve the purity of our wonderful game. Therefore, we have compiled this handy crib sheet to help you identify the most popular distraction techniques and offences that players use to confound match officials. This will not only enhance your game time experience, but enable you to quickly assess decisions and impress your friends with your observation skills. Thierry Henry from the New York Red Bulls has agreed to assist.

Just remember though. It might look like a tough life, but before you start feeling too sorry for the refs, think of the potential of that much ‘access’ to players. And then apply to ref school.


The mind games begin at the moment of kick-off. A player will want to know how observant you are and test your eyesight to assess how much off-the-ball misbehaviour he can get away with in a game. Thierry is particularly talented in this field; his delicious French accent providing an additional distraction technique for the referee to overcome. ‘But can you not see, Monsieur Referee? I am Thierry. Of the va-va voom? No?


Players are a passionate bunch and dramatic game play can often lead to the occasional expletive emission. Here we see Thierry in the split second prior to such an emission. A referee must watch very closly for this, as the use of foul and abusive language is a sending-off offence. But one must be careful. Thierry ‘may’ be about to congratulate his marker on an excellently timed, ball-winning challenge. He probably isn’t, but you wouldn’t want to make a fool of yourself, would you?


Some players’ reputations precede them. Thierry is famous for a rather controversial handball situation in what could be described in an important fixture, and is therefore conscious that referees will be looking out for that offence. We see him here making doubly sure that all officials can see he is not currently handling the ball in any way whatsoever. Do not be fooled though. He could be at it again at any moment.

Are you shocked at the devious techniques players will use to gain advantage? Or are mindgames and sneaky string pulling part of your every day life anyway and you see no reason to deviate in football?

Oh, and a big thank you to Thierry for taking the time out of his side’s busy MLS game vs. Chivas USA last weekend to help us with this project. You’re a gentleman.

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12 Responses to “You Or The Ref: Thierry Henry”

  1. linvinnaar says:

    Actually, the only referee everyone (should) hate(s) anyway is Howard Webb.

  2. viva chivas says:

    You two! Out! Out of my happy place!
    If you don't understand what goes on here, puh-lease either 1) spend time in the archives to get it or 2) leave Kickette Island, asap.

    • NatashaS says:

      your "happy place"? Poor viva chivas. Either you are close to being brain dead or simply a depressed and sad sight to look at. What kind of low life does one have to lead to call this site one's happy place? By the way, do you and kickette have the same writer for your jokes? If you don't understand what goes on here…tststs. I fully understand. Just you seem to be too blind and/or ignorant to see that. So why don't you take your fan girl love and actually start living a life?
      "1) spend time in the archives to get it". Were you actually trying to be funny??? Oh Gosh, I feel sorry for you.

      • MsLiverpoolLady says:

        Hey, hey, hey break it up! It is cool if you are not into the players and are more interested in the game. It is a great sport and brings a lot of people a lot of joy but don't come around hating on people because they happen to find the players interesting/attractive…it is just for fun! to blow off some steam and relax with the game we all love so chill out ladies! If you don't like the content then why are you here? Just to be mean to people? 'What kind of low life does one have to lead' to do that??

        • NatashaS says:

          isn't this a blog where one can state his/her opinion? Last time I checked it was. If you don't like disagreeable comments then don't read them. It is that easy. You wouldn't have thought, he? That is part of a democratic culture, in case you missed out on education. Or is this "fan site" reserved for dreamy girls only who secretly wish they would be married to one of the world cup winners? I think not. Time that this is made clear here.

          • MsLiverpoolLady says:

            you are one angry little person, huh? well, don't hurt yourself kiddo.

            • NatashaS says:

              you didn't answer my question. Immature answers don't make you look good. Actually, it does, given the fact that the majority of comments come from prawn sandwich eating 15 year-olds. You PERFECTLY fit in, I have to say.
              Why don't you learn how to articulate yourself before you come even close to a computer? That would be a beginning.

              • MsLiverpoolLady says:

                Are you ok? Seriously, I am asking. You know sometimes what we find to mock others about is actually a reflection of our own insecurities. Are you upset about your lack of knowledge regarding governmental systems? Do you have a problem with too many prawn sandwiches? 15 year olds? Fitting in? I know you will write back all twisted up like a rubber band about how immature I am and don't forget inarticulate! Nevertheless, I am totally serious.

  3. schneckchen says:

    as usual, the kickette staff tries to be funny but miserably fails in being so. The only joke you actually pulled was to make the girls on this side believe you are trying to keep the beautiful game pure. Yeah, right, especially with your random comments on one or the other prominent body part of an "especially hot" player. What do you get if you combine bad taste in football players, lousy "journalism" and cluelessness on the beautiful game? I give you a hint: it starts with "k" and ends in "ickette".
    While TH was especially bitchy last weekend, no reason to reduce him to this behavior. That man showed phenomenal football at a time when the fan girls and boys from kickette still thought cannavaro was a sausage from Italy. He will be remembered as one of the greatest that graced the game of football despite handball and all while your little side will be sooner forgotten than the Jonas brothers. Who??? Exactly!!!

    • canada says:

      Clap, clap, clap! Well said. Thierry Henry will always be one of the greatest players of the game in part because he also happens to have a personality – which is more than can be said for the majority of the players these days. It's a game, ladies. Henry knows that. He's talented and he brings the entertainment. Fans are there to see Henry and nobody else when the Red Bulls are playing. Let's not kid ourselves. He's the biggest deal in that league by a long shot. So if the ref isn't up to his game, Henry will have something to say.

      I've seen him play for his country at the Stade de France and heard 80,000 people chanting his name over and over. It was unreal. I'll never forget that sound for as long as I live.

      This is a gossip site but please don't confuse your mandate with lame-assed football commentary.

  4. Ash Menon says:

    Kickette, that link to the vavavoom ad has brought new joy into my life. I'm naming the next child after you. Or The Ramos.

  5. MsLiverpoolLady says:

    mmmm…that accent!