TWO weeks ago, I said older readers might recall George Best heading the ball out of a goalkeeper’s outstretched hand.

One older reader, David Downs the Reading FC historian, prompted by an article in the Daily Mail that weekend, says my own memory is faulty.

It was Gary Crosby of Nottingham Forest, who headed the ball out of the hand of Manchester City’s Andy Dibble, who is now Cardiff’s goalkeeping coach. George Best, in fact, kicked the ball out of the hand of Gordon Banks.

This illustrates how many changes come about because of players’ actions.

David and other older readers will perhaps remember that for many years goalkeepers were able to hold onto the ball in the penalty area, providing they bounced the ball every four steps they took.

The problem was when they wanted to waste time, goalkeepers just ran up and down bouncing the ball.

It was therefore decided to restrict the goalkeeper to four steps only. The FA omitted to inform referees, who learnt about it from newspapers.

I remember being linesman at a FA Cup qualifying round at Basingstoke, where the referee got it all wrong.

This change, however, meant goalkeepers could just stand with the ball in their hands, when what the law makers wanted, was to get the ball back into play, as soon as possible.

Next therefore, was the introduction of the six-second rule, which says, ‘an indirect free-kick should be awarded if the goalkeeper controls the ball with his hands, for more than six seconds, before releasing it’.

Opposing players then stood in front of the goalkeeper, trying to prevent him releasing the ball before the six seconds had expired, hoping to engender a free-kick.

To counteract this, the law makers introduced the Law that says ‘an indirect free-kick is awarded if a player prevents the goalkeeper releasing the ball from his hands, or kicks the ball when the goalkeeper is in the process of releasing it’.

Some players, even professionals, still try it on.