Louth skipper Sam Mulroy and Meath captain Shane McEntee both took to the local airwaves this week to voice their annoyance at the new rules that have come into play in football this season.
Top referee David Gough has also voiced his opinion, saying that at least one, the awarding of a black card and a penalty for a foul of the black card variety inside the D area but outside the large square will lead to more violent fouls being committed.
And in his column in last Sunday’s Mail On Sunday, former Kerry defender Marc O’Sé pleads with the GAA to stop meddling with the rules and give us our game back.
Venture into any pub in Ireland, maintaining social distancing of course, and you will hear supporters roundly condemning the changes.
So do those in authority seem to think that all facets of the game, players, referees and fans are wrong and they are right?
It certainly seems that way and as one well placed source told Nelson this week, ‘It appears the GAA are very good at creating new rules but less so at admitting they mightn’t be working’.
O’ Sé’s big bugbear was the advanced mark which he argued has ruined the art of defending, in case you haven’t noticed if an attacker inside the 45 metre line catches a kick from outside the 45 metre line that has travelled over 20 metres he gets a mark if he opts to take it and has fifteen seconds to have a free shot at goal.
What not too many know is the defender can also opt for a mark if he manages to catch it.
The former Kerry defenders argument, and it is one with which Nelson concurs, is that if the ball is delivered in with the degree of accuracy that county level players can manage then if the forward is out in front he wins the ball and consequently a free shot at goal.
O’Sé contends that from a young age defenders are taught to stay goal side of attackers and that is now almost rendered obsolete by the new rule which ensures defenders now nearly have to be in front of their man.
Playing from the front, as Robbie O’Malley used to do, is a high risk strategy, but the new rule leaves defenders damned if they don’t and likely to be damned if they do.
The other problem which will inevitably come back to haunt some poor unfortunate referee in abig match is the fact he has to establish the ball travelled 20 metres to the recipient.
Imagine the fate of a ref who calls a mark and the winning score follows in a provincial final, or a vital All Ireland game, only for the Sky analysts to establish categorically the ball travelled just 19.5 metres.
There will be hell on when that happens, and even more so if Sky can prove it while the match is still in progress and the managers become aware of it.
Change is good, change for changes sake rarely works and overall Nelson would suggest GAA bosses should reacquaint themselves with the old saying, ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’
And so to the Euros which are upon us this week.
There will of course be a large membership of the ABES in Ireland, the anyone but England society, and while Nelson is often baffled why the group was founded, given the volume of support here for the same players throughout the regular season, he is proud to accept a paid up membership.
There are after all 800 long years of reasons to be a member!
France are many people’s favourites and Manchester United fans will undoubtedly tune in hoping to see the Paul Pogba they thought they signed playing rather than his twin brother that turned up at Old Trafford and proved to be not so good at the game.
Fortunately for that same sector they can, due to the fact he is injured, avoid Harry Maguire’s limitations being further exposed, that can wait until next season.
Maguire remember cost United £80m, and Nelson clearly recalls a conversation in which a friend suggested, ‘Eighty million wouldn’t buy Maguire now’, to which Nelson could only respond, ‘Yes and I am one of them’.
Portugal will have their suitors and it will be interesting to see how well they play without Ronaldo, even if he is on the pitch at the time.
The same can be said for Wales and Gareth Bale, while Nelson hopes Scotland go far into the competition if only because they have the best national anthem in the world ever!
As for winners the hunch is the Belgians can be Postman Pat and deliver big time.
That may be coloured by Nelson’s club loyalty, Tielemans, Castagne and Praet wear the colours of the FA Cup winners, add in De Bryne, Courtois and Lukaku and there is some cause for optimism.
Occasionally the competition throws up winners that nobody suspected could do it, Greece being the perfect example and for a long shot a few Euros on Denmark might reap a reward, one thing is for sure they’ll have the best goalkeeper in the tournament.