Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Bad Day at the Office, and a Bad Decision to Match

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

A Bad Day at the Office, and a Bad Decision to Match

Article excerpt

DESPITE retiring as a referee 10 years ago, I still seem fair game when it comes to copping stick when present day officials make mistakes!

A decade down the line, it seems that I'm guilty by association.

That state of affairs shows no sign of letting up thanks to high profile and much discussed decisions that continue to grab the headlines. Referees often get a bad deal as too many people connected with the football often choose to put bias and self interest before honesty and understanding of the laws of the game.

I will always try and defend and explain when I feel that my former colleagues are being given an unfair time after making honest decisions.

However there are times when they do not deserve support and any criticism is fully justified.

Goodness knows what referees past and present must have thought of the performance of Lee Mason at the Stadium of Light recently when Everton played Sunderland.

A referee can have bad day just like a player. It's actually worse for a match official because he can have a very good game for 89 minutes then get one big decision wrong.

Conversely a player can have a poor game then become a hero with a last gasp winner.

Mason, however, made a series of bad decisions that, very worryingly for me, weren't about getting things wrong, they were about taking the easy way out.

Gomez was fortunate not to see red for an over-the-top challenge, I will give the ref the benefit of doubt there, as it's all about angles and a couple of yards in the wrong direction, and he might not have seen the incident as clearly as we did on TV.

No excuses, though, when the ref saw Gomez dive, raise his whistle to his mouth, then like a rabbit in the headlights, he froze and realising he would have to send him off if he blew, withdrew his whistle and let the game go on.

Shortly after that, Connor Whickham felled an Everton player to concede an obvious penalty as the player was about to shoot at goal. No card - unbelievable.

Don't get me wrong, no official should take pleasure in issuing cards, it is frustrating for them when they are forced by the laws to issue cards for innocuous offences such as excessive goal celebrations, but they are duty bound to get the big decisions right. …

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