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All Things Footie | Monday, March 27 | Jordan

Just end it now / Refs

For football’s sake, just finish the season now. Apart from the fact that Chelsea are the most classless and distasteful team in modern memory, it’s just getting boring. As well as being one of the lowest quality seasons in the last decade playing wise, I’m convinced this is the worst season of refereeing I’ve seen too. This is not a comment motivated by any one particular action over the weeked, just a general thought I’ve been mulling over for a while.

I recall earlier this season that Clive Thomas (ex head of Refereeing, former World Cup Referee and High Sheriff of Mid Glamorgan) said that the current crop of referees were awful, and that our ‘best’ (Graham Poll) wouldn’t have been good enough to ref in the top flight—let alone a World Cup—in his day. Strong words, but accurate nonetheless in this author’s opinion. Maybe it’s because there have been a lot of new referees promoted to the Premiership in the last couple of years, or maybe it’s because football’s getting more difficult to referee, but I can’t remember a season more inconsistently refereed.

If you cast your mind back to the opening weeks of the 05/06 season, you’ll remember a number of red cards for challenges considered ‘dangerous’—not necessitating contact, but simply challenges that are stupid and dangerous. Given that most of the refereeing ‘initiatives’ over the past few seasons have centered around pointless legislation against dissent and shirt-pulling, I was most happy to see the true thugs finally having action taken against them. Only problem was that it just lasted a fortnight. Come December you have Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Michael Essien attempting to break kneecaps every week without so much as a booking half of the time.

It’s long been my belief that a well refereed game requires only that the players be happy with the ref’s performance—not outrageous feats of incident spotting, not being cool and calm, and not even getting the ‘big’ decisions right all the time—but it’s still an impossible task, surely? Players are never happy with referees … well, I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as that. I think if the players respect the referee, if the official is consistent in his application of the laws and is (above all) honest about his decisions, he will be fairly treated by the players. The two major problems with refs at the moment is that they’re both inconsisent, defensive, and whiney little powermongers who deserve all the respect they’re not given. How is a working class lad from a rough area of a rough city supposed to respect a schoolmaster from Harrow? Half the time he’s playnig football to get away from that kind of snotty superiority.

Don’t get me wrong; I respect unconditionally what referees do, and I actually think that at grass roots level it’s close to being spot on. In sunday and local Saturday leagues up and down the country, ex players (who’ve fallen foul of injury or a ‘real’ job) and local enthusiasts take control of games with little or no real problem. Players usually appreciate that some guy has taken time out of his day off to allow them to do something they love doing. At the highest level though, it’s all wrong. Too much politics and too much backslapping; too many referees chosen because they’re good in press conferences. There needs to be more of the kind of ref that could punch Wayne Rooney’s lights out, and give him a mouthful at the same time, someone who’s from the same kind of background as the players they’re supposed to be controlling.

Fewer white, middle-class referees would be a start, it’s hardly reflective of the men on the pitch that I can only think of one black ref in the history of the Premiership, and—dare I say it—the introduction of some continental European refs.

Referees are not the root of all 05/06’s ills, not by a long shot, but the standard this year has been particularly poor, and it’s something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later by the powers that be.

(36) Comment(s) | Permanent link to this article

# Posted by Anonymous Yorkie at 5:13 PM
I suspect I'll regret this, but why did you pick out Stephen Gerrard and Jamie Carragher to illustrate your point (undeniably Essien has form)?

Although Gerrard was sent off yesterday for two yellows (one for dissent and a second well-deserved for a taking out Kevin Kilbane's legs on the edge of the area) his boots weren't high and although Kilbane was brought down in a heap, he wasn't hurt at all. I read yesterday that Gerrard has only picked up 9 yellow cards since 2003, so the two footed lunges of his younger days would seem to be well behind him, and I can vouch for this having seen him play 90% of his games this season.

As for Jamie Carragher, as a centre half he picks up his fair share of bookings for bits and pieces, but he isn't a dirty player at all. Uncompromising, yes, but not an old-fashioned knee-capper.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 5:23 PM
So Lee Dixon thinks Drogba saying he dives sometimes was a language problem.

But for that to work, we have to have an idea what he might have understood by the question. Do you fall????? It doesn't make sense.

It's hard to see how it was just a misunderstanding / mistranslation.

Here's another interpretation: one might argue he was showing a peculiar supercilious disdain for the whole massive cash-cow that's turned him into a rich superstar.

Perhaps he's been reading too much Camus.

Boycott Football!
# Posted by Blogger The Brooklyn Gooner at 4:58 AM

Do you honestly believe that all is well at the park-league level? You should really read Whistling in the Wind or Refblog at some point.

I mean, I'm a rec league player myself here in NYC, and I'm not particularly proud of some of the shit I've pulled with referees (in my defense, the team in front of me is horrid and we usually lose by double digits, so there's a frustration factor). It's not just me, either...and it's not just NYC.

There are referee shortages all over the place for a reason.

Beyond that though, I could think of worse seasons for officiating than this one. I mean, Paul Durkin isn't around, so there's an improvement right there. Mike Riley is the only consistently awful one that I can point to.
# Posted by Blogger Jordan at 9:21 AM
brooklyn -- with no disrespect, I'm absolutely certain that the quality of refereeing in British Sunday League is a million miles from a rec league in the US.

In my experience of Sunday league and in the experience of everyone I know who plays it, the refs are generally respected and treated properly. Sure they get an earful every now and then, but they give it back too.

There's always a couple of weird refs in every league -- I remember one who looked and sounded so much like Chris Eubank it was uncanny, and who refused point blank to let anyone on the pitch swear, even when cursing themselves (I got booked for calling myself a fucking idiot after putting in a particularly wayward cross once).

I think the fact is that at park level, the refs are generally from the same background as the players, so there's more of a connection between them; at the highest level it's not the same, and it shows in the contemptuous attitude shown to most referees.
# Posted by Anonymous Pat in Brooklyn at 4:17 PM
A little off subject, but where do you play, Brooklyn? Which leagues? I am in NYC and looking for a game or two.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11:57 AM
"There's always a couple of weird refs in every league -- I remember one who looked and sounded so much like Chris Eubank it was uncanny, and who refused point blank to let anyone on the pitch swear"

Me mummy taught me never to swear. He's just brought up well.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 12:02 PM
Forgot to sign my last post above. I would contend most prem refs are middle class dentists. Overall the refs in this country are good with a spot of commonsense. In the worldcup we get refs from everywhere I think based on a quota system to keep it representative of the continents. But u get some really dodgy ones that defy belief. Remember Korea's march to the semis, the refs were either comical or were promised loads of samsung goodies if they kept the hosts in.

# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 12:02 PM
woops meant to say "I would contend most prem refs are *not* middle class dentists."

# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 12:25 PM
The fact that some players like John Terry (handballed many times to save his goal in early season) and now Drogba (handballs to score goals), and I remember a few other team-mates who clearly would take any opportunity to take advantage of poor refereeing, often getting away with it, surely says something about the attitude of the team and the referees. And, Drogba has no regrets, nor Terry, or Del Horno I am sure. Finally, remember what the coach said? "The ref could not have seen it!". Means what? That if you can get away with it, cheat! How desperate can millionaires get???
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7:03 PM
Don't blame the refs for this godawful season!

Don't forget you can keep up with how many British/Irish players were in the Premiership starting lineups at the weekend, and every weekend, at
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 9:55 PM
sorry to hijack your thread Jord, but boycott-football, you are a cunt.

it's all well and good you come up with your little niche site which claims:

"We are fed up with British Professional Football and resolve not to spend any money supporting it until some changes happen."

but then you use Google Adsense and offer football merchandise and tickets, with much of those sales profits going to the very clubs you want to boycott.

do us all a favour and just fuck off!
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3:05 AM
"do us all a favour and just fuck off!"

Steady on mate! There's no need to boycott the footie just come down to The Valley and support the club of the proleriat. You don't want to go to the Den where Millwall play, they're a bunch of savages and will eat you alive like a pack of wolves.

# Posted by Anonymous Kitch at 7:41 AM
Less flirting and more footy talk please.

In a week that saw Steve Mc produce one hell of a game for the cameras.

Don't know about anyone else, but this is a man who helped ManU to the Euro Cup after 1 season, won Mboro their first cup and has now took them to a euro semi. Not a bad CV - a bit better than Alan, Sam and Stuart on home and Euro fronts.

Is there any debate? If, and hopefully England do well this summer a certain Steve Mc will be laying a rather large part in the squad.

More football please!
# Posted by Anonymous pete_afc at 8:44 AM
Arsenal Villarreal!


i have a sneaky feeling Arsenal could come undone. Villa have put forward their match with Barca so they'll be fully rested, plus they won't play a midweek game either. it'll be tougher than people expect. i think the next 6 games will make or break Arsenal's season.
# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 3:40 PM
"In a week that saw Steve Mc produce one hell of a game for the cameras."

Just a few weeks ago he was the anti-christ after his team was hammered 7-0 and 4-0 respectively. All of a sudden he's the best thing since slice bread. He did'nt win that euro cup he was part of the staff. He simply has no hands on top class experience. I would say Gus for the job and yes, as much as I hate this Jose Morinho seems like a good choice. Oh yeah he was bloody lucky against Basel, Stuttgart and Roma. Luck will take you only a certain distance.

# Posted by Blogger Jordan at 9:28 AM
Steve McLaren is a terrible manager. Just the kind of choice the morons at the FA will make, to follow in a long line of awful managers, from Hoddle to Keegan to Wilkinson to Sven.

# Posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 5:35 PM
Jordan don't forget the monumentally inept Graham Taylor. England under him reached its lowest point. And he was hired after he lead Aston Villa to second place in the old first division. History does repeat itself. I can predict that Steve Mclaren will probably land the job.

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luogo interessante, soddisfare interessante, buon!
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Lo trovo piuttosto impressionante. Lavoro grande fatto..)
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