Referee's Job Made Difficult By One-Eyed Managers

After Steve Clarke revealed Mike Riley's apology for Andre Marriner's decision to award Chelsea a dodgy penalty, Jose Mourinho should do the same. Don't hold your breath...

Last Updated: 21/11/13 at 10:51 Post Comment

Latest Articles

A New Low In A Season Of Troughs For Moyes


Defeat at Goodison to demonstrate just how far United have slumped, and an opponent crowing about their new man in town. The loss to Everton may be Moyes' worst yet...

Fast Start Again The Basis Of Liverpool's Success


Liverpool have now scored 15 goals in the first 15 minutes of matches in the Premier League. Quick starts have been the backbone of a title bid that looks likely to succeed.

All Articles

The appeal of the Mike Riley fan club has always been highly selective after the wrongs for which he was responsible in his own whistling career, but we should at least acknowledge that being head of Professional Game Match Officials Ltd is a testing occupation. Referees and their assistants will always make mistakes, for which they must bear a burden during and around games, but once time has lent a little perspective the cry goes up: "What I want to know is what Mike Riley is going to do about it."

Though it is a staple of Chris Kamara's Sunday brunch, nowhere has that cry been more plaintive of late than the Hawthorns, culminating in Steve Clarke's bewilderment at the award of a penalty by Andre Marriner in the dying seconds at Stamford Bridge. West Brom were denied victory because Ramires fell over into Steven Reid, and it followed a number of penalty incidents about which the Albion feel aggrieved. While some of the others may have been contestable, the view on Reid's misfortune was all but universal.

Clarke said yesterday: "I've had an apology from Riley. It doesn't get us any more points but it's nice of Mike to call." Nice for Clarke, perhaps, but not so for Riley, the man now responsible for every officiating error in the Premier League (it used to only seem that way, now it's true).

It will not be Riley's intention - he has to want every decision to be correct, not for future errors to balance out previous ones - but West Brom will no doubt hope to get the rub of the green a little in future. Referees are human, whatever gets said in the heat of the moment, and though they will try not to let this apology affect them at all there will surely be some subconscious influence. If this happens and officials err in West Brom's favour, then poor old Riley will be on the phone to another manager. And then another.

There is at least one call I hope Riley never makes, though.

Whatever debates we have about refereeing, we must always bear in mind that not everyone will be happy about each decision because there are genuine controversies. But there are also those that are created purely by partisan myopia: remarkably, more than one manager felt hard done by at Stamford Bridge two Saturdays ago.

Jose Mourinho said afterwards: "I have watched it two or three times and it was a clear penalty. The referee made many mistakes during the game but that was not a mistake.

"It is always a difficult situation to accept for the team that is winning, but when they go home they will see on their screens that it was a situation where the referee did not make a mistake."

So if Marriner had not made his mistake, he would have come off the pitch to have his name trashed for having missed a clear penalty. Now that Riley has officially acknowledged that Marriner did make a mistake, the phone call waiting to be made is the one from Mourinho to Clarke, perhaps apologising for whatever went on in the Stamford Bridge tunnel, too.

Why did Marriner make that mistake? We cannot know. But if managers could just possibly act a little less like the most one-eared phone-in caller then maybe referees would feel less pressure in the first place, and would make fewer errors, and Riley's phone bill would be just that little bit lower.

Philip Cornwall

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments


may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Please Stop Telling Us What To Think


ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

Wenger hails important win


s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

De Gea's Europa League target

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Premier League: Roberto Martinez hails Everton players after win over Manchester United

Roberto Martinez saluted the focus and adaptability of his Everton squad after a 2-0 victory over Manchester United.

Transfer news: Atletico Mineiro to take Nicolas Anelka to FIFA

Atletico Mineiro president Alexandre Kalil has said that he is considering taking Nicolas Anelka to FIFA.

Premier League: David Moyes admits defensive errors cost Manchester United at Everton

David Moyes feels Man Utd conceded 'terrible goals' on his return to Everton and says missing out on the top four hurts.

Mail Box

That's Why We Didn't Want Jose At United

There is plenty of reaction to Mourinho's antics (Isn't that exactly what he wanted?) plus thoughts on Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini, beach balls and Tim Sherwood...

Kieran's Not The Only One Keeping Notes

Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property