A goal’s still a goal in non-League football without the risk of VAR delaying or muting celebrations, as Lynn show against Boston.Picture: IAN BURT.

Here’s a sentence that might shock some of you.

Football did exist before the creation of the Premier League in 1992. 

Sky Sports might not shout about it too much, but there was a world before our beautiful game became something most people only watch through a television screen.

So while a large part of the planet is up in arms at the introduction of the video assistant referee (VAR) system, there’s thousands, if not millions, that realise it’s still the same old ball game at the lower levels of the pyramid. 

Because not a single thing has changed outside of the top-flight. 

You only need to drop into the old Division Two (which became Division One and then the Championship) to enjoy a game without technology affecting it. 

It’s exactly the same the further you go down a pyramid which is starting to widen at the bottom in terms of popularity as disillusioned fans go in search of the soul of football.

Now is exactly the right time for non-League clubs such as King’s Lynn Town to become more appealing than ever. 

Forget how amazingly well the Linnets are doing in National League North – for the record what they’re achieving by sitting top following promotion is remarkable – the real heart of the beautiful game is beating more than ever on the terraces of grounds like The Walks.

You can almost embrace the odd refereeing or assistant referee’s mistake like we all used to. 

Or debate an error over a pint at half-time. 

Or, imagine this, celebrate a goal wildly once it’s hit the back of the net because the chance of it being overturned is almost non-existent.

The Linnets need no further reason to watch them at the moment. 

But they and the area’s semi-pro or grassroots clubs have a great chance to tap into those who have started turning off thanks to the influence of VAR.

 They can get turned back on by the way the game used to be. Full of honest mistakes, raw passion and a feeling that things even themselves out across the course of a season. 

The game hasn’t gone for good, it just exists at a lower level than you’re perhaps used to. 

State of play in top flight

A Premier League shareholders’ meeting saw VAR discussed at length in November. 

The PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) – the body responsible for match officials – addressed attendees and clubs and admitted improvements were needed.

Their main findings from the first few months of the system’s use in English football’s top-flight were as follows:

Speed and consistency of decision making are priority areas of work

Increased information explaining what is being checked in more detail will be made available to fans

The Referee Review Area (pitch-side screens) are to be mainly reserved for unseen incidents

Last season match officials achieved 82% key match incident (KMI) accuracy. As of November 14, VAR had taken that total to 91%

Research is continuing with fans, among other parties, to help improve VAR


Reading v Blackpool: Reading (had the most corners),
15 corners in the game

Fleetwood v Portsmouth: Fleetwood, 13

Crewe v Barnsley: Barnsley, 8

Burton Albion v Northampton: Burton Albion, 11


Number of entrants: 27

24pts (out of 48): Robbie Palmer, Andy Prior, Joel Wille.

20: Amy Anderson, Aaron Beales, Dave Edgley, Luke Tordoff. 

16: Nancy Barnard, Nigel Chapman, Mike Griggs, Aaden Hayes, Peter Jermany, Jon Parish, Chris Milsom


(after 22 rounds)

1 Peter Jermany 312

2 David Lane 296

3 Amy Anderson, Danny Pooley, Andy Prior, Joel Wille 284

7 Jonny Cockerill 280

8 Aaden Hayes, Robbie Palmer 276

10 Karl Brown 272

11 Mike Griggs, Laura Shreeve 260

13 Gavin Caney, Jon Parish 256

15 Lewis Bush 252


1 Everton v Brighton

Premier League, tomorrow, 3pm

a) Who will get more corners? Everton, Brighton or draw?

b) Total number of corners 

2 Wolves v Newcastle

Premier League, tomorrow, 3pm

a) Who will get more corners? Wolves, Newcastle or draw?

b) Total number of corners 

3 Bournemouth v Watford

Premier League, Sunday, 2pm

a) Who will get more corners? Bournemouth, Watford or draw?

b) Total number of corners 

4 Aston Villa v Man City 

Premier League, Sunday, 4.30pm

a) Who will get more corners? Aston Villa, Man City or draw?

b) Total number of corners 

λ Email predictions to gavin@yourlocalpaper.co.uk, drop them into Your Local Paper’s office (before 5pm today) or Tweet @GavinCaney on Twitter. Submit via social media or email before 3pm tomorrow.

Safer Summer Staycation