What if referees were allowed to be fans?

English football (soccer) referee Howard Webb

Image via Wikipedia

“Sure I saw him forearm the lad McCarthy. But what can I say I’ve always been a Manchester United fan so I was never going to send Rooney off.” So says Mark Clattenburg explaining his decision to turn a blind eye to a seemingly obvious red card offence.

Speaking later in the week Martin Atkinson explained his decision to send Nemanja Vidic off in the dying moments of the game: “Every time I have a game with him he’s always bitching and moaning about this or that decision. I’d been looking for a chance to send him off all game and teach him a lesson. He tugged the shirt, I thought, thank you very much and pulled out the red.”

Of course none of this happened. I made it all up. The referees in question said no such thing. Unfortunately, they abide by the rules of their employers and maintain a stoic silence as Alex Ferguson ignores the rules applying to him about questioning referees integrity. So much for the FA’s respect agenda.

The trouble is referees are an easy target for managers for the simple reason they can’t answer back. You can heap abuse and derision upon them, and if you’ve got a big enough reputation like the Govan gobshite Fergie then you’re probably not even worried about getting punished.

But what if referees could answer back? And what if referees could actually fire the opening salvos in a war of words with a manager?

Imagine if Howard Webb, ahead of Manchester derby, spoke about how Rio Ferdinand had harangued him in the tunnel after the last game. “I hope Rio doesn’t try tackling in the box. Any excuse to give a penalty and I’m pointing at the spot.”

If referees were allowed to mark the card of players and referees I think we’d find there’d be a sudden a new found respect for the match officials. I’m guessing managers would find themselves having a new found sympathy for that difficult offside decision. All for fear of antagonising the same referee at any future fixture. The FA could even start choosing referees on the basis of promoting their respect agenda. Courteous behaviour could be rewarded with a sympathetic referee.

And unapologetic recalcitrant’s like Ferguson? Well they could find themselves with Martin Atkinson every week.



6 Comments on “What if referees were allowed to be fans?

  1. What a ridiculous and unimaginative piece of writing. You’d fit right in with the idiots at the sun, star and daily mail… keep posting this shite and you may get a job.

  2. Thanks for the really constructive feedback Alberto. But not sure if you meant to put this comment on the Daily Mail comments section because it sounds very similar to much of their comments. If that is the mistake you have made, no problem. We’ll keep it here anwyay. Thanks, please do come again.

  3. Pretty sure Howard Webb is a man u fan, as Ryan Babbel pointed out on his twitter page.

    Only human for them to have certain prejudices and biases even if its just subconscious.

    Don’t see why they can’t go on TV more often and explain their decisions.

  4. The reason managers push their luck is think it will influence the referree next time he is on their patch. They all do it. Classic lines like

    “I don’t want to criticise the referree but that decision was a disgrace etc”

    Fergie acts like a 5 year old child. He has got “homer” decisions for years and the minute he doesn’t get his way he blasts off and then when he gets fined throws his towys out of the pram and stops doing interviews.

    Fergie’s mum has still got 3 months left on her embargo after she cooked him brussel sprouts at Xmas and he refused to talk to her.

  5. Mate the FA will be knocking on your door and banning you from watching footy for 5 weeks following this blog.

  6. Pingback: thomas belesis

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