RESPECT! It is the watchword of the lawless urban ghetto as blinged up, brain dead wannabe alpha males with aggressive haircuts and body language impose their position in the status quo by primitive posturing, foul mouthed invective and surrounding isolated authority figures screaming gansta patois threats in their face.
If the FA's Soho Square Posse want respect they should respond in kind, take offence at their homies being dissed and ice the worst offenders in a drive-by. West Side!
It is no good blaming the referees getting decisions wrong for the game's collapse into anarchy. It is the players who systematically cheat, dive, foul and try to maim opponents and intimidate officials in a quest for victory at all costs that need bringing to heel; them and the dug-out despots who defend and encourage outrageous behaviour and who can barely contain their emotional Krakatoa within.
Referees don't kick, punch, pull, trip or elbow their rivals. They don't put the ball out of play then appeal furiously for a throw or corner. They don't cynically scythe players then down from behind then stand above the prostrate body pouring abuse on them and accusing them of feigning injury while the stretcher bearers scurry over. They don't stomp Scottishly along the touchline with faces spittle flecked in irrational fury, confronting the fourth official over a cast iron penalty they couldn't possibly have seen.
So why are the studio sheep and hysteria-mongers in the tabloids siding with the managers as they blame officials for the credit crunch, Laura White being voted out of the X-Factor and the moral decline of the Western world?
And supporters are no better. "You want respect? Yer having a laugh" was the Boro fans chant at hapless Lee Mason during a frantic few minutes in the Manchester City match in which both sets of players and the man in black had a string of comical howlers. It was very funny but not for the first time the mob had picked the wrong scapegoat.
Refs have always made mistakes and some real corkers, it must be said. Given the increasing speed of the game, the failure of evolution to make the genetic leap to eyes with 360 degree and x-ray vision and the systematic attempts by 22 miscreants to bend the rules, it is amazing they do not make more.
As Howard Webb said: "It hurts when that happens. I will go home after a game where I have made a mistake and I will not be very pleased with myself. I'd hate to think people feel we drive away from games happy with ourselves when we have made a mistake. We are only human. We want to be as accurate as we can be, as often as we can be."
Mistakes, however much they echo the pratfalls of Disney characters, are different from a deliberate policy of cheating and a direct refusal to accept the decisions and authority of both the referee on the pitch and the FA off it. That is where respect is being eroded and that is where football authorities are being 'dissed'.
It is no good bowing to the pressure of the poison pen pack or fear of a pitchfork wielding mob led by an unholy alliance of garrulous Glaswegian shop-stewards and visually challenging Gallic intellectuals and banning individual officials from taking charge of particular powerful clubs. That undermines respect for the FA far more than a ref giving a dodgy penna or an offside flag going up to early.
Personally I won't take the "respect" initiative seriously until referees start booking - then sending off - the sweary Mary spud faced scouse slaphead every time he has lip-readers spluttering tea all over the screen after one of his weekly televised tirades... and then ban his surly supremo too when the inevitable bitter and paranoid rant follows.
So long as the most high-profile players and bosses in the country are being allowed to scream in the faces of referees and laugh in the face of the rulebook it will be impossible to impose any form of discipline lower down the pecking order.
How can a ref who allows synchronised snarling to go unpunished in one game then be taken seriously as objective, fair-minded arbiters if they whip the yellow card out in another for a far less serious offence? Yet who can blame them when they are not backed in making the big decisions by spineless suits terrified of taking on the bums on seats political power of the Big Four in a turf war?
Refs know that if they upset Sir Alex or Arsene they will be vilified in the post match press conference, monstered in the media and left high and dry by the FA. The biggest blow to respect for officials so far this season came when the suppine FA crumbled and overturned a perfectly legitimate red card for John Terry on appeal.
Cards and bans are needed for infringements of the rules. If it takes Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea to have three players each sent off every week for a month so be it. Their squads are big enough to cope anyway. If it takes games to be abandoned, £1m fines and ultimately double digit points deductions, so be it. If the FA are serious about restoring respect them they most adopt a zero tolerance position and impose it ruthlessly on the recidivists and most visible offenders.
Players, especially players at the very top, need to know they are not exempt from the laws of the game and referees need to know their decisions will be respected first and foremost by the FA when they uphold them.
The Football Association will seek a meeting with the League Managers' Association (LMA) in an attempt to get its Respect campaign back on track.