Neville insists Clattenburg must quit Forest role in wake of ‘VAR is a Luton fan’ shambles

Dave Tickner
Nottm Forest's Clattenburg
Mark Clattenburg in the stands.

Gary Neville has called for Mark Clattenburg to resign from his position at Nottingham Forest in the wake of the club’s response to the officiating in their 2-0 defeat at Everton.

Forest had three penalty appeals waved away during a costly loss in their fight against relegation, and responded on X, formerly Twitter, by calling into question the impartiality of VAR official Stuart Attwell.

VAR is a Luton fan

The post – still up on the site several hours later, well after the ‘rogue admin/hacked/new phone, who this?’ deletion window had closed – reads:

Three extremely poor decisions – three penalties not given – which we simply cannot accept.

We warned the PGMOL that the VAR is a Luton fan before the game but they didn’t change him. Our patience has been tested multiple times.

NFFC will now consider its options.

Forest have employed former Premier League and current Gladiators referee Mark Clattenburg this season in a bizarre gamekeeper-turned-poacher role to plead the club’s case in such cases of perceived injustice at the hands of officials, which was already pretty embarrassing even before today’s bizarre escalation.

Clattenburg position untenable

But Neville now feels Clattenburg’s position at the club is untenable; the argument being that remaining in the club’s employ would be tantamount to endorsing the accusations of corruption inherent in the “VAR is a Luton fan” observation.

“Mark Clattenburg must resign tonight,” Neville said on Sky Sports. “He must resign from his job at Nottingham Forest.”

“If he sees those words go out that question the integrity, that effectively call a VAR official a cheat because he supports a certain club, then he’s supporting what’s being said. And he will lose all credibility with referees within the game.

“He should stand down tonight and distance himself from that statement, in my opinion.”

Neville had sympathy with Forest over the decisions in question, believing two of the three incidents merited a penalty, but had no truck with the way Forest responded.

“It’s like a mafia gang statement. What the hell are they playing at? I think anybody would have some empathy and sympathy for Nottingham Forest this season, and some of the decisions they’ve had, but they’ve grabbed defeat from victory in the way they’ve handled it.

“It’s like a petulant child, it’s embarrassing. Some of the things they’re saying in there, inferring suggestions of cheating because there’s an official in Stockley Park who is a Luton fan is a scandal and they will pay for that. They will regret that as a football club, with their history, and how they’ve presented themselves very well over a long period of history.

“This last line – explore all options… I was very critical of Liverpool earlier in the season after the Tottenham game. Clubs have got to stop saying that.

“They’ve got to stop saying they’ll explore all options. Sue? Replay the game? Take points back? What are your options? You can whinge a little bit if you want, you can be upset, but you haven’t got any options. This is a sporting situation. Unless we’re actually going to class referees and officials as cheats – which we’re not, we’re never going down that route because they’re not – then get rid of that ‘explore all options’.”

Fellow Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher agreed, and expects Forest to face punishment.

“I think the FA and Premier League have got to come down really hard on Nottingham Forest and stamp this out,” he said.

“There was something with Liverpool at the start of the season, there was something with Arsenal at Newcastle, and it just feels like it’s building.”