Referees are the victims of foul play

Who’d be a referee? This is a family newspaper, so I daren’t repeat the fruity chants of outrage when referee Phil Dowd awarded Manchester United a penalty in the 73rd minute of our game on Saturday.

But little imagination is needed to join up the dots.

There were loud claims about Mr Dowd’s paternity, his eyesight, and, more importantly, whether he was succumbing to the long-held conviction of supporters of the other 19 Premier League clubs that ‘Manchester United always play with 12 men.’ In such circumstances I just sit there, tight-lipped, saying absolutely nothing.

I have done so ever since (years ago) a CCTV picture captured me in a high state of excitement at the old Maine Road ground of Manchester City, and was then pinned up in the Police Control Room.

Nor was I in any position to make a judgement, watching from the Blackburn End, 130 yards from where Paul Robinson and Javier Hernandez collided.

I just thought to myself, ‘Oh God – is this going to be the decision which costs us our place in the Premiership?’ I also have some idea of what it must have felt like to be Mr Dowd and the assistant referee, surrounded by at least eight tough young men – United players – trying to intimidate these officials into a decision in their favour.

I am sure that Mr Dowd, and his colleagues, were doing their best to be fair. They certainly took time to come a decision.

But allowing players (of any team) to mob the referee in such circumstances adds credence to claims of bowing to pressure, especially in Manchester United’s case where the manager has run a relentless campaign against the officials.

The Football Association needs to get a grip.

Surrounding or jostling referees should be banned, with yellow cards.

The FA should follow other sports – notably rugby – by permitting only the team's captain to make representations to the referee.

We have to ensure that these high-wire decisions by referees, on which so much can ride, are not only fair, but are seen by all to be fair.

Comments (8)

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11:20am Thu 19 May 11

goz says...

I couldn't agree more, having attended many matches down at Blackburn rugby union club it's also noticeable that the players of both teams refer to the referee as 'sir'. The referees in Rugby also have more 'clout' like moving play ten yards if they please. It's about time we had technology and instant replay or at least a spy in the sky fourth official. Mr Dowd stopped play for a couple of mins while he consulted the linesman, a fourth official could've made that decision within a minute using technology. The FA need to join the real world, then again would that have a negative effect for the big four/five if they didn't have the 'extra man'.
I couldn't agree more, having attended many matches down at Blackburn rugby union club it's also noticeable that the players of both teams refer to the referee as 'sir'. The referees in Rugby also have more 'clout' like moving play ten yards if they please. It's about time we had technology and instant replay or at least a spy in the sky fourth official. Mr Dowd stopped play for a couple of mins while he consulted the linesman, a fourth official could've made that decision within a minute using technology. The FA need to join the real world, then again would that have a negative effect for the big four/five if they didn't have the 'extra man'. goz

12:41pm Thu 19 May 11

Andrea2009 says...

Im so glad you can write about something as important as football Mr Straw maybe one day you will manage to answer the questions put to you about your recent comments on our brave troops .
Im so glad you can write about something as important as football Mr Straw maybe one day you will manage to answer the questions put to you about your recent comments on our brave troops . Andrea2009

7:12pm Thu 19 May 11

Wittoner says...

Been going dow to Ewood longer than i care to remember if i am honest, will say this,the first Rovers team i ever so play these were the players,Elvy,Suart,E
ckersley,Bell,Kelly,
Campbell,Mooney,Cros
sanHolmes,Quigley,La
ngton,i am pointing this out for one reason only,i have watched lots of football over the years and seen many referees doing there very difficult job,i have very muh noticed how ever that since the forming of the Premier leae Refrees DO in act favour the big 4 clbs with 50/50 decisions,discussing that penalty as in truth pure theatre by the officials,if it was such a difficult decision meaning to make not a clear cut one, then in football the defending team allways should get the decision there way,it is an unwritten law,like in cricket if the umpire has any doubt he gives the decision to the basman.
Back to referes though and yes since the aent of the re Refs have appeared to get more arrogant by the season,Phl Dowd though i in my oppinion a decent sort of ref but against Man U even he swayed under there pressremin a game thatwas not irty game by Half time two overs layes were in his book and many mor had been poken toby him,yet not one Man U player even got a telling off or a warning,then in the second half on comes Scholes he immediatly gives two fouls away and continues all the game bringing players down and ankle tapping,but NOT a word did MR Dowd have to say,so there is favouritism no doubton that score,oh and i wont mention a certain Howard Web...lol

but if we are being fair and i do believe we were hard done by on the penalty,or goal as a littl debatable as well going ovrer the bye line before being dragged back in befor making the cross,for me the game is now far too fast than in the days that i first went to Ewood Park in those day a pre m atch mealfor the players was beleve it or not ,Steak and Kidney pie and mash,,lol todays dieticions would curl up at the thought of that one,so refs need eyes everwhere in fact they need help,but help could come a a cost, as i believe even in slow motion Man U would have still got there pen,but in slow motion our goal would not have stood ,so be very carefull what you wish for.
Been going dow to Ewood longer than i care to remember if i am honest, will say this,the first Rovers team i ever so play these were the players,Elvy,Suart,E ckersley,Bell,Kelly, Campbell,Mooney,Cros sanHolmes,Quigley,La ngton,i am pointing this out for one reason only,i have watched lots of football over the years and seen many referees doing there very difficult job,i have very muh noticed how ever that since the forming of the Premier leae Refrees DO in act favour the big 4 clbs with 50/50 decisions,discussing that penalty as in truth pure theatre by the officials,if it was such a difficult decision meaning to make not a clear cut one, then in football the defending team allways should get the decision there way,it is an unwritten law,like in cricket if the umpire has any doubt he gives the decision to the basman. Back to referes though and yes since the aent of the re Refs have appeared to get more arrogant by the season,Phl Dowd though i in my oppinion a decent sort of ref but against Man U even he swayed under there pressremin a game thatwas not irty game by Half time two overs layes were in his book and many mor had been poken toby him,yet not one Man U player even got a telling off or a warning,then in the second half on comes Scholes he immediatly gives two fouls away and continues all the game bringing players down and ankle tapping,but NOT a word did MR Dowd have to say,so there is favouritism no doubton that score,oh and i wont mention a certain Howard Web...lol but if we are being fair and i do believe we were hard done by on the penalty,or goal as a littl debatable as well going ovrer the bye line before being dragged back in befor making the cross,for me the game is now far too fast than in the days that i first went to Ewood Park in those day a pre m atch mealfor the players was beleve it or not ,Steak and Kidney pie and mash,,lol todays dieticions would curl up at the thought of that one,so refs need eyes everwhere in fact they need help,but help could come a a cost, as i believe even in slow motion Man U would have still got there pen,but in slow motion our goal would not have stood ,so be very carefull what you wish for. Wittoner

11:54am Fri 20 May 11

mu58uk says...

come on jack what was the goal keeper doing coming out that far from his area. the ball was running away from goals.
a stupid mistake by a other wise good goalkeeper.

should have a 5 mtr rope tied to him next match keep him from running out like he did.
come on jack what was the goal keeper doing coming out that far from his area. the ball was running away from goals. a stupid mistake by a other wise good goalkeeper. should have a 5 mtr rope tied to him next match keep him from running out like he did. mu58uk

11:49pm Fri 20 May 11

district01 says...

“Foul play!”
Question Time last Thursday has again shown how inept Jack’s deliveries have become. When you’ve been involved in dubious war decisions causing death and destruction yourself then asked to comment about other peoples trivial mistakes in comparison only now comprise of endless blundering facts and figures and “Foul play!”
.
Ed Milliband should be very wary about embarrassing elderly party figureheads?
.
Like the Nick Griffin blunder.
Unsuccessful once again!
“Foul play!” Question Time last Thursday has again shown how inept Jack’s deliveries have become. When you’ve been involved in dubious war decisions causing death and destruction yourself then asked to comment about other peoples trivial mistakes in comparison only now comprise of endless blundering facts and figures and “Foul play!” . Ed Milliband should be very wary about embarrassing elderly party figureheads? . Like the Nick Griffin blunder. Unsuccessful once again! district01

12:49am Sat 21 May 11

Cathan2 says...

Time for the football bubble to burst and allow other minority sports some TV air time.
Footballers appear to be only 'passionate' about endorsements and sponsorships and merchandising -ker-ching. Few have real respect for football and the fans.
It somehow seems ugly and mercenary.
Time for the football bubble to burst and allow other minority sports some TV air time. Footballers appear to be only 'passionate' about endorsements and sponsorships and merchandising -ker-ching. Few have real respect for football and the fans. It somehow seems ugly and mercenary. Cathan2

1:01am Sat 21 May 11

Cathan2 says...

What did we learn of International politics, crime, law and enforcement in our educational years.
International criminals are well ahead of ordinary people and Crimestoppers.
Trade, transport, communication and work is global and we need to catch up with a world view and think beyond the North Sea and Atlantic.
What did we learn of International politics, crime, law and enforcement in our educational years. International criminals are well ahead of ordinary people and Crimestoppers. Trade, transport, communication and work is global and we need to catch up with a world view and think beyond the North Sea and Atlantic. Cathan2

10:07pm Wed 1 Jun 11

mgh567 says...

"In such circumstances I just sit there, tight-lipped, saying absolutely nothing."

Well that approach seems to have served you well in politics so why change the habit of a life time.
"In such circumstances I just sit there, tight-lipped, saying absolutely nothing." Well that approach seems to have served you well in politics so why change the habit of a life time. mgh567

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