Hill blasts plan for shootouts

March 15, 2007

Jimmy Hill, who oversaw the introduction of three points for a win in 1981, has attacked the proposed scrapping of draws as an 'idea from the devil'.

Football League chiefs today met to discuss the idea of introducing penalty shoot-outs to decide matches, while one of the proposals is to have drawn games settled by an ice hockey-style shoot-out.

The plans have been met with widespread derision and anger by many league managers and Hill is equally furious.

'This idea has come from the devil and not from God,' he said. 'Football in its present form is proving such an attraction that it doesn't need to be changed.

'It's extraordinarily popular and for someone to even think of changing the basics needs to be taken away and have their head examined.

'Have any of these people involved in the running of the game actually played football at a professional level?

'The professional game is now run by people who've never played it, so it doesn't really surprise me when they come up with these ridiculous ideas.'

As chairman of the Professional Footballers Association in 1961, Hill led a successful crusade to abolish the £20 maximum wage and was hugely instrumental in introducing three points for a win in the 1981-82 season.

Hill added: 'We introduced three points for a win and the whole world has since followed suit.

'That's great because it means no teams play for a draw now because if you do draw then it's two points lost.

'But I would think there's enough experience within the clubs for them not to fall for what appears to be an idiotic idea.'

Northampton manager Stuart Gray believes the introduction of a shoot-out would have 'a negative effect' on football.

He said: 'I may be a bit old-fashioned but I'm a great believer in the fact that you win, lose or draw games and that's the way it should stay.

'If this proposal came in teams might become very negative away from home. They would set out to nick a draw and then try and sneak an extra point in the penalty shoot-out.'

Meanwhile, Grimsby boss Alan Buckley has come up with his own idea to enhance the game's entertainment and ensure teams do not adopt a negative approach.

Buckley said: 'The best thing they could do to make the game more entertaining is to introduce four points for an away win. I came up with the idea while I was sat on a beach a couple of years ago.

'That would encourage teams going away from home trying to merely stifle the opposition.

'I'd keep one point for a draw, three for a home win and four for an away win, but what do I know?'

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes has warned Football League chiefs they risk 'ridicule' if they decide to adopt the practice of settling drawn games via penalty shoot-outs.

Hughes said: 'I think it is something thought up by somebody who has never played the game or understands the thinking behind it.

'I just hope it is a non-starter. I think they open themselves up to a little bit of ridicule if they go down that route.

'It is not razzmatazz - it is about getting points on the board, and a score draw or a draw away from home is at times, given the circumstances, a fantastic result.

'Okay, they are trying to improve their product, but I think think they should just appreciate what they have got.

'The Football League is a great competition at the moment and why they feel they have got to trick it up is beyond me.'