A rant at referees


Last month vs Stoke, Lee Mason was totally inept, one of the worst refereeing exhibitions I have seen this season. We cant use him as an excuse for not beating a boring Stoke side whose ‘timewasting’ from the 7th minute left a lot to be desired. But Stoke had a bad referee day last week against Everton, and we had the usual bad referee that we always seem to get. It seems we get poor refereeing decisions week in and week out.

Martin (Chelsea) Atkinson is also another terrible Ref who gives us ‘nothing’ (apart from bookings) and his inept performance in booking Bale (again) against Sunderland was not only unjust but incompetent.

The problem is that these ‘little jobsworths’ have never played the game. All they have done is learn from a book. They have absolutely no idea what a ‘real’ foul is, they book and send off players for wrong reasons, they have no idea what ‘obstruction’ is, and unless you actually play the game you will never know what Football is all about – and that is the problem with the referee’s of today.

What really annoys me with refs is when players feign injury. I played the game for over 40 years and never feigned an injury, If a player rolls and rolls, you know they are Not injured. If you get hurt, you simply do not move. Surely a Ref should know this – if not they should be taught. Players will take on the ref’s as much as they can, but because the Ref’s have never played the game they are simply just ignorant of the facts. I have also Referee’d, and of course never got everything right, but did know the difference between right and wrong challenges and certainly knew the rules better than the so-called professional Ref’s we have today.

Years ago, some players used to pack up playing and take up refereeing. The salaries players are on today means that will never happen again.

Since Referees went ‘professional’, the standard has dropped considerably. But what can we do. Is there any point banning them (as players are banned), probably not, because they will never get any better, and the Ref’s that come in for them are just as bad.

It is also ridiculous that they crawl out of the woodwork, referee a game and then can just walk away after a game and get on with things when players are being banned and unable to play. Ref’s should be called upon to say why they made their bad decisions. Yes we should applaud the good decisions they make, but most Ref’s make far more terrible decisions than they do good ones.

And yes, Refs are biased, and there is one rule for 3 or 4 teams and another for the rest. You only have to look at the decisions over many many years that have gone the way of Man U and the Woolwich Wanderers to see that Refs are biased.

I dont have the answer, all I know is that Referee’s are now spoiling our great game.

By CheekyCockney

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  1. I agree to some of that……The way Bale is being penalised being one example…If a defender trips a forward going in on goal, then that contact is a foul …….When did this change for Gareth Bale?!

  2. Agree entirely with this article. Referres are killing the game and simply satisfy the likes of Fergerson, etc.
    I get sick of hearing what a difficult job it is, but what other job allows you such incompetence without having to explain any of your decisions.

  3. part 1
    well the public humiliation will not make them better so we need two things. first much more emphasis on training so they are indeed taught to spot the simple things a former pro would know. second, technology. this should be during the game for big decisons and after the game for things such as diving, three match ban each time and it would stop. they could help themslves to getting respect by admitting mistakes without the need for the tv to have showed them up, eg webb against man city when a certain player with a brazilian on his head stamped on parker, would have had a draw and champions league.

  4. part 2
    finally I would put them on a reserve list for a few weeks for especially incompetent performances. so foy in the game we played at stoke last year. 14 mistakes and everyone against us. putting to one side the dreadful performace of 14 mistakes to have them all go against one team has odds of over 16,000 to 1; no I don't believe in those sorts of coincidences either, as 'arry said, he emnjoyed not giving us anything. 8 mistakes were game changing, and that would be champions league football with anyone of them. so the clown cost us 30 mill and he rocks up at anfield 4 days later without a care in the world. that should lead to a demotion for sure. but it is rare, indeed as rod liddle in the sunday times said, "in alifetime of watching footbali have never seen such a bad performance by a referee", so very rare.

  5. You claim to have 'played the game for over 40 years"……….well done! But at what level? I assume not at the senior level that you are pontificating over! Have you ever tried to ref?
    The ref and his/her assistants have to make instant decisions in real time. No play backs, no time to think things through, AND at an angle that is totally different from the armchair or stands.
    Refs have greatly improved since going professional, your memories are somewhat short term.
    I agree that for refs to be more open would generally be better but many managers and TV pundits would have yet further opportunity to express their lop-sided opinions, so this has to be very carefully managed.
    To state that refs are biased is totally preposterous, they are not. Its not refs that are spoiling football its cheating players (and EVERY team has them) and gready agents who making milions out of very average players.
    I am a Spurs supporter – Bale is in a no win situation. His speed makes it very difficult for the officials. And what about Defoe's dreadful dive in the 2nd half against Reading??? No caution – lucky boy!

    Oh and what level have I officiated at? At football very low level, but in a sport with great similarities to football – at the very highest level. I know the problems.

    • Dave. Just to answer you, i played at a fairly high level of football – Semi-Professional. Also if you had read my article clearly you would see i say that i have also referee'd. Stating referee's are biased is not preposterous, it's a fact. ou only have to look over the years at their performancies at Old Trafford and Annfield and Stamford Bridge. There is one law for the 'top' and one for the 'bottom'. That unfortunatley is not just in football, but in LIFE. By CheekyCockney

  6. Not 1 penalty this season, Gareth Bale getting penalized for diving and the Fergie bubble still cannot be burst ,nothing changes!

  7. I am not really sure what your point is, this is like a bad phone-in call. Every team thanks they are more hard done by than every other, but it is of course not true. Refereeing decisions are no worse than ever, they are just scrutinised interminably on TV. Of course they make mistakes but be pace of the game makes that inevitable.

  8. the thing thatis annoying is everybody has said bale got fouled so why cant the ref say hes made a mistake how many red cards have been rescinded in the past week but not one ref has the balls to say they got it wrong.

  9. What a load of rubbish! I don’t agree with one word of that article and whoever wrote it should be ashamed! I’d like to see you try to referee and get every decision right with 32 cameras around the pitch zooming in and playing every incident in slow motion to see if you got it right or not. If they got so many decisions wrong they would be kicked off the league. Last season one of the best Assistant referees hadn’t got one decision wrong all season apart from the last game when he got 2 offsides wrong and he was kicked off the league. This just shows you how strict it is up there. So I think if they were that bad they wouldn’t be there!

    • you prat anon. you are entitled to your opinion mr. anonymous even if you have no idea what you are talking about. you must be a gooner if you think the refs are ok. if you cant say anything sensible youd be best to keep your mouth shut and say nothing at all. The article cheeky wrote was admirable and of course all true. Melanie

      • Well said Melanie, why do such idiots who remain anonymous say such ridiculous things. Get a life Anon, and continue to support the red & white side of north London who you obviously support by saying that in your opinion there is nothing wrong with any of the Refs. You are a disgrace to this website. At least CheekyCockney has the courage of his convictions and in this article he is 100% right.

  10. Bang on. Who can forget Chris Foy last season? As bad a display as I have ever witnessed. And don't get me started on Howard Webb. Last season at the Etihad he missed Balotelli's stamp on Parker (punished later). If he'd sent him off, we'd have gone into Chanpions League and Man Utd would have won the tile. Fed up with these petty jobsworths who think the game is about them. They're the boys who were the last ones picked at schookl.

  11. Good point that refs should have played the game for a defined time at a defined level.
    The top level games should be reviewed after to reassess fouls missed and erroneously given.

  12. Fantastic article and absolutely right in everything said. Refs are spoiling the game, they are biased and there simply dont seem to be any good ones about. What this guy 'anonymous' is on about i just dont know. Perhaps he or she has had too much mulled wine over xmas. Obviously not genuine or they would'nt be anonymous. Great article Cheeky, keep up the good work.

  13. A really good blog by CheekyCockney who clearly seems to speak for most of us and who makes some very interesting and essential points. You can go through nearly every Ref of our matches who does'nt give us anything. Every match my heart sinks when i see the name of Webb, Foy, Mason, Atkinson, Clattenburg, Probert, Friend, Marriner etc each and every one of them who have 'lost' us matches in the past and will do in the future. It's hard enough playing 11 against 11 on the pitch, but when you are playing against 12 (11 + Ref) every week, it makes the task even harder. I totally agree with Cheeky that these jobsworth need teaching. Incompetence is no excuse for Bias.

  14. I see Clattenburgs red card he issued against Stoke was reversed, and then Spurs v Reading, how does Webb ever decide that Naughtons not made a good tackle, getting the ball, which led to Readings goal. We have all seen the 2 matches ( QPR, Norwich v WBA,) Where the goalkeeper is clearly fouled, both led to goals. All 3 of Bales bookings for diving ( Liverpool, Fulham, Sunderland ) Are unjust. Carazola for Arsenal dives against WBA, 3 points gained from penalty given, he did the same thing the week before with a home loss to Swansea, no bookings issued, in fact points gained. So please do not tell me these refs are any good.

  15. Option 1: Get rid of/suspend Premier League refs for incorrect decisions. Result: You have to get refs from lower leagues – not as fit/able – and the standard goes down, not up.

    Option 2: Play without refs. Result: Chaos and rule-breaking all over the shop.

    Option 3: Players to become more sporting and acknowledge fouls, handballs etc. Hahahahaha.

    Option 4: Enforce a minimum-playing limit which refs must reach before officiating. Result: Given that a ref who starts at 14 and progresses as quickly as possible would be 23 before reaching the Premier League, if you add a minimum playing time onto that you are going to end up with more of the older refs who will struggle to keep up with full-time professional twenty-something athletes. And having played does not necessarily increase your ability to see a decision or keep up with play.

    Option 5: Get on with life and realise that for every example you can bring of poor decisions or decisions against you, someone else can cite examples of decisions given for you and that in the end, most decisions given are actually correct and it is the Laws of the Game you have a problem with, not the refs who merely apply them.

    It's your choice. And as for the frankly verging-on-libellous claims that refs are biased, you do not provide and motive or reason why they should be so. Surely to be biased, one must have some sort of motive to prefer one team to another – what do you think this is? It seems that not only do you not have the answers, you don't have any real evidence to back up your purely opinionated and circumstantial claims.

    With specific reference to Martin Atkinson, whom you named in your piece, he was born in Bradford, lives in Leeds and supports his local team. Why on Earth should he care who wins between Tottenham and Sunderland? I would be genuinely interested to hear your reasoning.

    For the record and before I get slated: I played, I ref now and I am a Sheffield United fan with no particular interest in any Premier League club.

    • Being a Sheff Utd fan you would'nt have any interest in the premier league. Your piece was quite good until you disagreed with the writers piece on Biased. Referee's (like ordinary fans) have soft spots for other teams as well as dislike for other teams. I am sure you have a soft spot for some teams, but bet you would be biased against Sheff Wed if you were to ref them. It's a shame you spoiled a decent comment with the nonsence you finished with. Still it's great to know you look at TheSpursWeb – maybe you have a soft spot for our great club.

    • You ask for my reasoning. We are all biased to a second or third team and Ref's are no different. Being a Londoner, i have a little soft spot for Orient (as a lot of Londoners do) and also a soft spot for Torquay (i spent many a holiday there in my youth and went to watch them play), so maybe Martin Atkinson has a soft spot for Chelsea. I am sure you have a soft spot for another team other than The Blades.
      By CheekyCockney

  16. Great piece Cheeky, these litte jobsworths need to be brought down a peg. They are a disgrace to their profession and certainly do need to be brought to an account for all their terrible decisions – as well as the occasional good ones they make.


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