The ultimate worst refereeing performance, England and more

Date published: Wednesday 18th March 2020 10:03

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Suspension of belief
Just wanted to add my two-penneth worth to the league suspension debate.

I am a Liverpool fan to the core, standing on the Kop 30 years ago when we last lifted our ‘bread and butter’, but would like to state that I don’t feel we can be awarded the title if the season isn’t completed – it would not be right for the league to award one team a title, yet say to current leaders of other divisions that they won’t benefit from promotion. Just feels slightly wrong / imbalanced.

However, I don’t believe the most appropriate solution is to void the season … that would be plain wrong from a promotion / regulation perspective across the league structure. The fixtures need to be completed before we head into ‘next season’, whenever that may be. This is mainly based on the fact that we are 75% the way through the season – if we were only half the way through then the argument for voiding the season would hold more merit, but we aren’t … the boat has sailed far further.

The fact that the Euro’s have been postponed has freed up some potential time in the summer where games could be played without impinging too greatly on a start date for the following season.

If the start of next season is delayed by a month or two, then priority should be given to league fixtures with domestic cup competitions postponed for the season (lower league teams receiving a level of compensation for this call).

The headache would be around European fixtures – it’s going to be really challenging to agree entrants into any competition if the various leagues are not harmonised on the league completion point in some way.

…but football is not the most important thing, despite what Shankly said to the contrary.

Wishing everyone a safe and as smooth a passage as possible through these troubling waters.
Sparky, LFC


England 2021
An England Euro 2021 squad? Gwan then:

Henderson – whether he stays at Man Utd, goes to Chelsea, back to sheff utd or anywhere else, as long as he plays he will be number 1. Southgate won’t be complaining about the extra year to bed him in.
Pickford – lose his spot but still in squad. Still in top 3 goalkeepers.
Nick Pope – not too bad for a 3rd choice really!

Trippier – Southgate loves him, he will keep his spot
Wan Bissaka – another good season and you can’t say no
Chilwell – surely as starting left back
Brandon Williams – I can just see him sneaking in ahead of Shaw, Rose as long as he continues to develop at his current rate. Shaw gets in if shaw plays more than Williams
Maguire – starting centre back
Gomez – starting centre back
Stones – will move to slightly smaller club, do ok and sneak in with lots of question marks.

Henderson – everyone loves him now. Good.
TAA – we have more really good right backs than really good midfielders. So I can just see TAA starting in midfield. I think this would have been the case for Euro 2020.
Chamberlain – Liverpool / England starting midfield trio?
Declan Rice – moves to a bigger club, keeps on doing well. Can also cover as 4th choice centre back thus getting rid of the need for Eric Dier
Winks – as long as he starts for Tottenham
Phil Foden – oof. Soz Barkley, Lingard etc etc. As it looks like he may well be playing some right wing for City, he can also cover winger, allowing space for…
Dele Alli – troubled, inconsistent times but he is very good at football

Harry Kane – please be fit
Raheem Sterling – please be on form
Marcus Rashford – good lad him
Jadon Sancho – him or Rashford to start? Could be worse
Mason Greenwood.- oof number 2. Abraham won’t capture his form, ings, Wilson etc will remain good but not great while Greenwood will keep on scoring.

Everyone will be in complete agreement with this I’m sure.
Rob, Manchester


Yeah, really couldn’t argue with much of that at all EXCEPT that on current form (the operative word being “current,”) I’d have Dominic Calvert-Lewin over Hudson-Odoi and certainly over Ings.
TX Bill (at the rate this is going, we’ll have England 2032 lined up next week) EFC


Dear F365

Following Jack’s attempt at predicting England’s 23-man squad for Euro 2021, here’s my effort:


Jack Butland – after Daniel Levy invents a time machine to go back in time and find ‘the Special One’-era Mourinho in place of ‘the Toxic One’ he’s been lumbered with, he accidentally stumbles into a parallel universe where Jack Butland actually achieved his potential. Before you can say ‘Merci but au revoir Hugo’, he’s signed him up to be Spurs’ new number 1, and after Jordan Pickford’s relegation with Everton and Dean Henderson spending a year on the bench behind David De Gea at Man United, Butland is England’s first choice keeper for the Euros.

Kyle Walker – Man City give FFP the big middle finger by signing Trent Alexander-Arnold for a new world record fee. UEFA announce City will definitely be banned from European competitions, but this is later overturned by CAS. Kyle Walker decides he has a better chance of getting into the team as a goalkeeper, and becomes the back-up keeper of choice for both club and country.

Nick Pope – Burnley shock the world by winning the Premier League in 2020-21, with Nick Pope setting a new clean sheet record. He’s still third choice for England though.

Right backs

Trent Alexander-Arnold – he’s the world’s most expensive player, Southgate cannot ignore him.

Kieran Trippier – he’s won back-to-back Champions Leagues with Atletico Madrid, Southgate cannot ignore him.

Left backs

Danny Rose – after Ben Chilwell’s unfortunate injury on the eve of the Euros, Danny Rose heads into the tournament as England’s first choice left back, despite his controversial decision to step back from footballing duties and divide his time between the UK and Canada.

Phil Neville – in desperate need of a reserve left back, Gareth Southgate turns to the F365 England ladder for inspiration.

Centre backs

James Tarkowski – those of you who have been paying attention will be aware that Burnley won the league in 2020-21. Tarkowski is named PFA player of the year and is the first name on the team sheet for England.

Ben Mee – a late call up. Despite Burnley’s outstanding form, Southgate continued to overlook Tarkowski’s defensive partner, causing thousands to take to Twitter to demand his inclusion. Eventually, the #MeeToo campaign was successful.

Joe Gomez – lost his place for Liverpool and England after Klopp decided this Premier League lark was a bit too easy, and started the 20-21 season with Dejan Lovren partnering new signing Jean-Alain Boumsong in defence. After 10 defeats from their first 10 games, Klopp admitted defeat on that experiment, Gomez and VVD were restored to the team, and Gomez reclaimed his place in the England squad as Liverpool recovered to finish in mid table.

Phil Jones – offers something a bit different from the bench. Mainly amusing faces.


Declan Rice – Gareth Southgate is feeling nostalgic for those heady days of March 2020 when he took a panic-buying spree around his local Tesco. As England have no players named Loo Roll or Pasta, he’ll have to settle for Rice.

Mason Mount – wasn’t really supposed to be there, but Declan was playing and he fancied a kickabout, and he thought he could get away with it.

Jordan Henderson – lost his place for Liverpool and England after Klopp decided this Premier League lark was a bit too easy, and started the 20-21 season with Naby Keita partnering new signing Carlton Palmer in midfield. After 10 defeats from their first 10 games, Klopp admitted defeat on that experiment, Henderson was restored to the team, and reclaimed his place in the England squad as Liverpool recovered to finish in mid table.

Wayne Rooney – after Red32 are announced as England’s official gambling partner for Euro 2021, Rooney mysteriously appears in the squad. The FA denies any sponsorship rules have been broken.

Harry Winks – Gareth Southgate makes a bet with Winks that he won’t change his squad number for the 20-21 season to 40. After Winks changes his squad number, Southgate has to honour his side of the bargain, and names Winks in his squad for the Euros.

Phil Foden – Man City give FFP the big middle finger by signing five of the best midfielders from across Europe to replace David Silva. UEFA announce City will be sent to their room with no pudding, but this is later overturned by CAS. In the meantime, Foden struggles to get anywhere near the first team, but does make it into the England squad after some impressive performances for City’s Under-23’s in the EFL Trophy.


Harry Kane – obviously.

David Nugent – has a better goals per game record for England than Kane. He’s in

Ashley Barnes – the hills are alive with the sound of Ashley Barnes, after an impressive goal scoring season (16, going on 17) leads to an international tug-of-war between England and Austria. After the Austrian FA invite Barnes for a complimentary holiday in Vienna, Southgate suspects it’s a (von) Trapp and quickly calls him up to the next England squad. Barnes scores on his debut, and he’s off to the Euros.

Jamie Vardy – after Smirnoff are announced as England’s official vodka partner for Euro 2021, Vardy mysteriously appears in the squad. The FA denies any Russian interference.

Raheem Sterling – Sterling to Euros? Approx 1.098 according to But hilarious exchange rate gags aside, yes, Raheem is in the squad for the tournament.

Jesse Lingard – some concerns about his lack of attacking returns in the Premier League (0 goals in 2 seasons by the start of the tournament) but he’s one for the future.
Phil (England make it through to the quarter finals before losing on penalties) Grech, Oxfordshire


Interest rates
Forgive me if someone has already brought this up; I haven’t seen it anywhere else but worries over the financial state of the lower league clubs in the UK got me thinking:

According to Google, FIFA has 3 billion in cash reserves (as of 2018 it was reported as 2.7 billion and I’m rounding up). So, here’s FIFA’s chance to generate some actual goodwill with football fans around the world.

What if FIFA pledged to make all interest payments on debt for every professional level football club in the next 6 months? It could even be pro-rated by level so the richest clubs in the premier league would only get a portion of interest paid for them but lower level sides get closer to 100%. Make things more complex if you want (payments only to cover wages of staff and players, certified accounting verification, etc.) but maybe this proposal (if there’s enough money, I don’t know!) would help make sure clubs don’t go to administration due to lack of matchday revenue.

Others with more sophisticated knowledge of football finances may scoff (perhaps 3 billion isn’t enough?) but FIFA has ‘earned’ the money off the backs of fans.
Andrew, Somewhere near Oz (EFC)


Ref’s ache
I see your poor one-off decisions and raise you an entire 120 minutes from a certain Byron Moreno, the man in charge of Italy vs South Korea at World Cup 2002.

3rd minute – gives a penalty against Christian Panucci for the crime of being too close to Seoul Ki-Hyeon. Saved by Buffon, justice was done.

49th minute – doesn’t give a penalty to Alessandro Del Piero for receiving a shocking elbow to the face from Kim Tae-Young.

85th minute – doesn’t award a free kick to Paolo Maldini for getting kicked in the back of the head by Lee Chun-Soo. Later, Chun-Soo would admit in his autobiography that the kick was deliberate.

102nd minute – gives Francesco Totti a second yellow card for diving in the box. Replays suggest it should have been a penalty as Song Chong-Gug wiped out Totti’s standing leg.

120th minute – Damiano Tommasi has a golden goal disallowed for offside, despite appearing level with the last defender.

Moreno was arrested in 2010 for trying to smuggle thirteen pounds of heroin through JFK airport (for which he would later spend two and a half years in prison).

Upon hearing the news, Buffon told reporters “I belive Moreno had this already in 2002, not in his underwear, but in his body.”
Dario (imagine the mailbox each week if all refs were this crazy)


Dear Football 365,

Many Wolves fans of, shall we say, an older vintage will remember this one, and as we’ve found out in the last couple of years, the anger still burns.

Championship play off final, 1995, Wolves against Bolton. Wolves had won the first leg at Molineux 2-1, although 5-1 or more would not have been an unfair result. If there’s such a thing as a 2-1 thrashing, this was it. Second leg at the Burnden Park, and in the first few minutes, John McGinlay, the rotund Bolton forward, punched Wolves’ David Kelly to the floor, right in front of the referee, one Steve Dunn.

I have no idea what passed through the referee’s mind at that moment, fear, disbelief, who knows. Suffice to say McGinlay stayed on the pitch, proceeded to score twice, including the winner in extra time, and Bolton won promotion in the final against Reading. McGinlay, obviously, revelled in his ‘villain’ role every time he came up against Wolves in the rest of his career.

It took another eight years for Wolves to finally win promotion, but now, twenty odd years later, that match in Bolton still raises hackles, enough that, judging by the message boards, when Bolton were going through their recent troubles, a lot of Wolves fans found it difficult to sympathise.

We’ve all seen some horrible refereeing over the years, a big hello to Mike Jones and Stuart Atwell at this point, but that is the one that always comes to mind.



In response to Howard, this was obviously the offside given against Paul Scholes in the ECL, during the match against Porto in 2004. This is purely because is started a chain of events that brought Mourinho to these shores.

Paul, Man Utd


Mark Clattenburg and linesman Rob Lewis failing to see Roy Carroll scrambling the ball out from the back of his net after being lobbed by Pedro Mendes.

This is the reason I will never really hate VAR, because I wish it had been around back then. I’m still fuming.
Nathan THFC


I’ve just finished watching a review of the 01/02 (Barclaycard FA premier league) season review. Some personal highlights that I’d completely forgotten about or didn’t quite appreciate in my teenage years.

Jean Tiganas style – There were numerous clips of Jean Tigana patrolling the sidelines clad in poorly sized black suit black shirt combos completing the look with a toothpick between his pursed lips. Michael Jacksonesque. Marvellous.

David Seamans tash – A thing of beauty, Ron Burgundy could only dream of aspiring to that level.

A young David Moyes – Moyes has looked so haunted over the past five years or so that it’s easy to forget he looked equally ghoulish in his younger days.

Villa’s kits – Something about the green and purple lettering on the ntl sponsor. It shouldn’t have worked but it really did.

Bunsy Unsy – The size of David Unsworths arse.

Well worth a watch if anyone gets the chance.


Fowl language
Chris from Bristol had a very similar experience to me in his postscript about Robbie Fowler.

In June or July of 1997, for some reason I was asked to be one of the 4 kids from my school to take part in the montage for Sky Sports Super Sunday the following season. It was to be filmed in Anfield, and we were asked to wear our football kits. Obviously, I wore my Everton kit, and the three other lads all wore Liverpool strips.

We get to Anfield and as this is 97 and pre-season tours to East Asia or the States aren’t de rigeur, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman are at Anfield during the summer. We go to ask for autographs. Now I think both Robbie and Steve had ties to or initially played youth football with Everton, and like a lot of people in the city there’s often dual loyalties, so wearing an Everton kit and asking for an autograph as an 11 year old from professional footballers and internationals didn’t seem outlandish. McManaman said nothing and just signed, but using remarkably similar phrasing to what Chris heard, Fowler said to me “F**k off, you cheeky tw*t, coming here in your Everton kit”.

Matt, EFC, London


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