Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In  |  Sign Up
The Mail Bag

Time, gentlemen, please

Comments (39)

Can you imagine the mixed emotions if Jags had thundered a 4-3 winner into the top corner only to turn round and see Martin Atkinson calling time and casting an eye towards Fergie for approval? Did Jags hear the whistle and give a "sod it" effort, or was it a genuine attempt? Perhaps we?ll never know.

However, the debate is around the added time: 2 goals scored in this part of the game, at the very least, 30 seconds to be added for each goal. This leaves 4 minutes to play yet he blows on 3:30 ? 30 seconds short. We complain about inconsistency between referees, but what about when one referee can have his own double standards?

When Michael Owen scored in the Manchester derby in the 6th minute of 4 added minutes to win the game for Utd, the ref added over a minute because Bellamy scored in added time. And the ref was...? Martin Atkinson.

Who can forget the Villa game at home in 2008. Lescott makes it 2-2 with 30 seconds left of the 3 added time. 90 seconds is added for the goal and Villa score in the 95th minute. And the ref was... ??? Martin Atkinson.

This probably explains Moyes?s temper at the end as he had the flashback of getting ripped off two years ago by the same guy ? the same guy, we all remember, who also stood back and let Liverpool kick us off the park last season at Anfield. How can the same idiot add 1-2 minutes in those games for a goal yet just 30 seconds for two on Saturday?

Maybe like Rugby, we should play on until the ball goes out of play, whilst the 4th official assists with accurate time keeping, taking the onus away from certain referee?s who are consistent with their inconsistencies.
David  Price, Stockport     Posted 13/09/2010 at 18:16:49

back Return to the Mail Bag


Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

John Roberts
1   Posted 14/09/2010 at 04:54:02

Report abuse

Down here in Oz, timekeeping in Aussie Rules is handled off the pitch by a separate referee. When the ball goes out of play or the game stops in any way the time clock is stopped. At the end of each quarter and the game the timekeper sounds a siren which ends play.

I believe this method has two beneficial components; firstly the game referee doesnt have to monitor the time, there's so much happening on the field I often wonder how they add extra time and the second, and most important, is that the game actually runs for the amount of time allocated. When a goal is scored the clock stops and restarts when the game recommences.

When you watch a game on TV the clock shows exactly how much playing time remains.

One of the things I've always wanted to do but never have is time an EPL game to see how long the actual game goes for and see how close to 90 minutes it actually is.
John Maxwell
2   Posted 14/09/2010 at 05:16:15

Report abuse

Jags was in full flow, it looked like he made a genuine attempt to score.

I doubt whether he heard the whistle.

So it was a miss for me.
James I'Anson
3   Posted 14/09/2010 at 08:14:38

Report abuse

If Utd had been on the counter attack there isn't a chance in hell the arse hole would have blown the whistle.
We play under different rules to the Sky darlings and always have.
Will he even be questioned about his inconsistencies?
There should be a timekeeper in the stands who only stops the clock for stoppages and not the final whistle. This would take away the human element where the actual clock sounds the whistle.
Paul Foster
4   Posted 14/09/2010 at 08:33:17

Report abuse

Nice piece from Henry Winter on David Moyes:
Gary Hegarty
5   Posted 14/09/2010 at 08:35:44

Report abuse

I agree that Jags had a genuine shot and the end result would have been no different. However, it's the principle of blowing up just as a player is about to shoot a la Clive Thomas in the World Cup.

Let's be honest, common sense usually dictates as 9 times out of 10 the whistle goes as a goal kick is taken or the keeper launches one ? it's almost accepted. So why decide to blow just as though it looks like one of the most dramatic comebacks in living memory unfolds??? Fear or Fergie??

Personally I'm hoping that Moyes can use this as the siege mentality opportunity it should be... the little bit of "no -one likes us" to turn the players and the season around.

One thing worth noting though... Atkinson has been dropped to 4th official this week, although I'm sure that will be low key!!!

Andrew Ellams
6   Posted 14/09/2010 at 09:23:35

Report abuse

Atkinson dropped to 4th official, woohoo. So this week he gets paid for sitting on his arse until he needs to hold up a board. That's him well and truly told.
Alan Kirwin
7   Posted 14/09/2010 at 09:24:50

Report abuse

I think it was the Guardian/Observer that reported Jags had indeed heard the whistle before he shot and that was why he didn't take the ball on and larrup it. A draw may have been a fair result, but the ref screwed up IMHO.
Nick Entwistle
8   Posted 14/09/2010 at 09:24:26

Report abuse

Surely he would have slipped it through to Osman? And the way he fell over his standing leg on the shot meant he just gave it a go after the whistle... or during it.

Don't see why we need to have time keeping taken away from the ref. Hardly difficult no? Stop his watch when there's injury, and then start again. Indicate at 3:44pm and 4:44pm to the 4th official how much injury time is to be played.

But does anyone know the rule for when you do blow the whistle? Surely when time is up regardless of play.
Shaun Brennan
9   Posted 14/09/2010 at 09:32:14

Report abuse

He has been dropped to 4th official this week, and Moyes and Round still have a case to answer?
David Thomas
10   Posted 14/09/2010 at 09:59:32

Report abuse

It has never been any different the so called bigger clubs get more of the decisions because the refs are scared of annoying the likes of Ferguson and thus running the risk of not getting to officiate the big games in the future. Everyone knows the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool will get the decision if it is a 50:50 decision.

It was interesting to listen to Richard Gough and Owen Coyle on goals on Sunday talking about officials. Coyle stated what i think most of us know that it is a complete myth that these bad decisions even themselves out over the course of the season, whilst Gough stated the bigger clubs get the rub of the green with the decisions as he recalled when he was at Rangers they influenced the refs and got decisions that if it had been any other club in Scotland except Celtic they would never have got.

It is also never going to change, as i can't see Mike Riley making massive changes to how the refs officiate.

The time it really struck home for me is when i went to watch Wales play Russia at the racecourse ground in the late 1970's and Bob Paisley walked past me to his seat and about 10 seconds later i saw this gentleman pushing past people shouting Mr Paisley, Mr Paisley as if this bloke had seen his master and to my horror it was the gobshite himself Clive Thomas.
Guy Hastings
11   Posted 14/09/2010 at 10:38:03

Report abuse

It's a' minimum of ?? minutes' so whatever the ref adds on is at his discretion. If time was added on for every stoppage/ball out of play, the average 'half' would be about 65mins. NFL - three days to play 60 minutes.
Norman Merrill
12   Posted 14/09/2010 at 12:31:35

Report abuse

It should not make any difference but?? according to a friend of mine who sits with his son by the away teams bench, Sir Alex was pointing to his Never right watch a good two or three minutes at the fourth official, who inturn would inform the referee, and having NO balls the rest is history.
Thomas Christensen
13   Posted 14/09/2010 at 12:38:27

Report abuse

Rather than have a go at the harsh reality of a mildly biased reference woh might have acted under duress from 'Big Fergie', why are we not asking questions of the players who waited until the 91st minute to start attacking ManU with any real conviction.
David Thomas
14   Posted 14/09/2010 at 13:40:00

Report abuse


I think people have been on about 4 or 5 different threads on this website.
James Marshall
15   Posted 14/09/2010 at 13:48:49

Report abuse

It was a genuine shot from Jags but he fell over as he hit it. He's also a centre half so not exactly the complete finisher.

The ref messed up, the FA have responded by demoting him to 4th official. Spilt milk & all that. Fair result and a great one for us given the circumstances. Best game I've seen in ages and I reckon it'll be exactly the spur we need for the rest of the season.
John Barnes
16   Posted 14/09/2010 at 13:44:44

Report abuse

Atkinson is the worst of a very bad bunch. A stupid decision to blow for time when he did. Even a Sunday league ref wouldn't do that. Moysey's right; they all love to be talked about. Name me a good present day ref? Bring back Jeff Winter
Tony J Williams
17   Posted 14/09/2010 at 13:48:35

Report abuse

I was actually cursing Atkinson for allowing the Man Ure corner, so it would be a bit hypocritical of me to have a go at him but I bet that if it had been Berbatov bearing down on goal he wouldn't have ble up.

The same when Joey barton scored for Citteh a few years ago, the time was well and truly up but teh ref allowed the attack to finish and it ended as a draw.

Most refs allow the passage of play to continue until there is a) an interception b) the ball starts getting passed sideways/backwards c) ball goes out or d) a goal is scored.

Disgusting refereeing and shows that the "sky" teams get preferential treatment and always will
Jamie Tulacz
18   Posted 14/09/2010 at 14:05:27

Report abuse

Why not just adopt a similar time-keeping system to rugby ? seems to work fine there.

Hold on, that would involve common sense though...
Guy Hastings
19   Posted 14/09/2010 at 14:24:02

Report abuse

When I got my ref's badge I was told that the best to blow for time is when the ball is 30ft above the centre circle, preferably from a goal kick. Or if you were worried about being paid, when the ball was close to your feet so you could grab it and hold it hostage against being out of pocket ? balls being more expensive than officials' match day fees.
Andy Fletcher
20   Posted 14/09/2010 at 14:52:39

Report abuse

When I played, I remember having a game timed, if you add throw ins, goal kicks corners etc, the ball is in play for something like 25 minutes on average, I know it doesnt sound right huh ?
Andy Fletcher
21   Posted 14/09/2010 at 14:53:41

Report abuse

LoL at Guy, brings back memories of playing Sunday league, we used to travel to the hell hole that is Corby, they could only get local refs as others were too scared. They inevitably won did the Corby sides.
Charles King
22   Posted 14/09/2010 at 15:55:35

Report abuse

The sight of Moyes theatrically emulating Ferguson's diversionary rant re timekeeping was unsavoury on so many levels.

Was it a homage to his mentor or a reflection of Graham Taylor and Phil Neal grasping at straws for England with Round reprising Phil Neal.

"doth protest too much, methinks"
Joey Brown
23   Posted 14/09/2010 at 16:00:21

Report abuse

I think Jags did exactly what I did when he heard the whistle. He probably went "Did I just hear the whistle?" And then kept playing anyway. Maybe Van der saar heard it and relaxed and just made the save for practice. Who knows.. but bringing up the other games Atkinson has blown on really reminds me what I hate about professional sports.
John Crook
24   Posted 14/09/2010 at 16:26:50

Report abuse

Excellent research and summary David. The above exact evidence that should be given at the hearing!
Tony J Williams
25   Posted 14/09/2010 at 17:26:18

Report abuse

Charles, I was made up he did it. Bring the unfair refeering to the fore, why not?
Gary Mortimer
26   Posted 14/09/2010 at 18:09:25

Report abuse

I want to know what Atkinson was doing taking his eye off the ball to look at his watch when there was an attack going on. Imagine if he'd decided "5 more seconds" then looked up to see that (for example) Jagielka was tumbling to the ground and the street baying for a penalty. Is he going to say "I didn't see it as I was checking my watch"?

Ref's normally blow up when the ball is in the air or in a relatively safe area of the pitch, but when you play the Sky 3 they'll blow if there's danger looming!

Last year when Utd beat City he played 6 minutes of injury time when 4 minutes had been put up by the 4th official - Bellamy scored in injury time, but Owen scored in the 6th extra minute - he added 90 seconds on for the goal. Strange he only added 30 seconds when we scored 2 goals on Saturday.
Ciarán McGlone
27   Posted 14/09/2010 at 19:32:50

Report abuse

And who can forget Gary McAllister's 94th minute 35 yarder to beat us 3-2... when there was only supposed to be 3 minutes extra..

As for Jags... I honestly don't think he'd have scored ? nose bleed time!
Jon Cox
28   Posted 14/09/2010 at 19:23:08

Report abuse

Davey, read this thread, m'lord I give you David Moyes's defence.

F A you are as fair as Iran loves christianity !

Keith Skidmore
29   Posted 14/09/2010 at 19:13:16

Report abuse

Sort of linked to the general ref's double standards topic... It pissed me off a little when Vidic was faining injury to waste a bit of time or get Tim a card in the second half. The trainer ran half way across the pitch to tend to the cripple... who suddenly he leapt up like a lame man touched by Jesus!

I was interested to see how long the referee would leave him on the touchline before he'd be reintroduced, the ref blew his whistle to restart and waved Vidic immediately back on!

I remember an incident involving a clash of heads between our centre backs a number of years ago when they were left on the touchline for a minute or so while the ref looked for a good time to reintroduce them!?!?

So here's a thought... every time a player leaves the pitch for an 'injury', he must serve a minimum of 5 mins off the pitch? If you?re injured you'll be off for longer than 5 anyway, if you?re cheating you'll look like a tit seeing your team mates struggling. Takes more of the time keeping issues off the ref, might be a bit of a leveller in terms of teams cheating to run down the clock and it gives the waste of space.. I mean 4th official something constructive to actually do.

Nick Entwistle
30   Posted 14/09/2010 at 20:22:12

Report abuse

Good idea Keith. Infact any time play is halted for an injury without need for the physio, that player should leave the pitch for the set amount of time.

However one up side and one down side.

Upside, massive reduction in stoppages and gamesmanship to break up the opposition's momentum.

Downside, introduction into the football vocabulary of Power Play... Eek!

It was a bit like that on Saturday when one of the Utd players (Nani?) went off to the changing rooms. I'm sure if Jonathan Pierce was commentating for MOTD he would have brought it in. Does like to say quarterback now and again.
Guy Hastings
31   Posted 14/09/2010 at 21:31:17

Report abuse

I can't remember who the ref was but legend when George Best once remarked on the ref's performance the ref replied,'You're not having a great game yourself, George'. About time refs had the right of reply. You'd soon hear the sound of silence from SAF, Bruce, Twatknapp etc.
Ciarán McGlone
32   Posted 14/09/2010 at 22:03:49

Report abuse

"The trainer ran half way across the pitch to tend to the cripple... who suddenly he leapt up like a lame man touched by Jesus!"

You could be talking about Cahill himself there... He was 'doing a Cahill' several times during that match... We can't realy have a go at the opposing players 'play acting' when our own employ it extensively.

No doubt you missed it.
Chad Schofield
33   Posted 14/09/2010 at 23:22:46

Report abuse

To be fair to the FA, they're Fucking useless. What's the difference from SAF marching onto the pitch at the end of last years Community Shield?! They bring in shite little focus points each year to justify their being (like the "respect" campaign), only to let the rules slide the minute it might affect their beloved top tier, or enough "examples" have been set.

Yes the ref can basically blow at anytime to the exclusion of if a penalty is in progress... But they surely have to stand by some sense of common sense - they are professionals.

Sometimes, no often, officials get a raw deal... But by acting like this ref (especially given his erratic time keeping in the past) how can the FA simply demoted him to fourth official without a more formal statement? It's sickening. Given Capello's off message declaration that he's going to quit England post-European Championships regardless of the outcome after the clowns gave him a contract extension, you'd have thought that they might want to show themselves in a more positive light... Instead they're just cowering about as usual. There are many ways in which football could be tweaked without ruining any of the fundamentals, it doesn't all have to be technology based but the FA have to ensure their "inicitves" are not only carried out in the first couple of games, consistency rewarded and supported by ensuring that they work with the officials to develop their current and future directives. I'm sure they do work with them a lot... But there should be more accountability - and mostly on the side of the FA, at least then they may gain back some respect.

Ciaran Duff
34   Posted 15/09/2010 at 01:17:03

Report abuse

I just cannot understand why Football refuses to learn from any other codes.
Independent timekeepers, officials behind the goals, video ref, hawkeye etc are all currently used in other codes but Football wants to stay in the dark ages. Move on FIFA.
Ernie Baywood
35   Posted 15/09/2010 at 01:15:45

Report abuse

I've been a fan of the idea of a power play for a while now (obviously won't call it the power play, though). In Aussie Rules they have a simple rule that if the game has to stop for you to be stretchered off then you can't come back on for 30 minutes. Admittedly, with AFL having unlimited interchanges and a longer gametime this rule wouldn't work in football but a version of it as suggested by Keith above would.

Nani could have walked off with a bloodied nose - why is it so accepted that a cut nose requires you to lie prone on the ground? Just jog off you tart! I remember commenting to a friend at that moment that in the World Cup we saw Paintsil stretchered off with a broken nose in the same week that an Aussie Rules player jogged off with a trainer needing a full knee reco.

Football is just so accepting of this tart mentality.
Keith Skidmore
36   Posted 15/09/2010 at 07:08:08

Report abuse

Fair comment Ciaran, although I think Cahill wore Vidic and Jonny Evans like a backpack for most of the game, he certainly met his physical match. 
But I think theirs a difference going down (desperate to think of another way of putting it) and moaning to the ref for a free kick , and going down like you've just been shot inorder to 'win' a card for your opponent. 

We all know video evidence won't be used anytime soon, so there's no real reason not to introduce measures like this, other than it might penilise teams with their own amateur dramatics societies. 

Let's face it, there should be no place in football for this sort of playacting.  Two players have recently had serious leg injuries and they made less of a meal of it than some of the pansies I've seen rolling around, head in hands. 
Martin Faulkner
37   Posted 15/09/2010 at 12:41:26

Report abuse

Keith, you're dead right mate.
I have despised the actions of professional footballers suffering piss weak injuries for a long time now. I gues it coincides with emigrating to oz and watching a lot more rugby union. what you see those guys put up with in the ruck is bordering on superhuman. Another thing I would like to see adopted from rugby is the professionalism shown by the players when even a blatantly wrong decision goes against them, you don't see half their team surrounding the ref swearing their head off at him do you. Quite a few years ago it was meant to have been trialled that mass bickering with the ref would cost you 10 yards at a free kick, another good idea fallen by the wayside.
David Price
38   Posted 15/09/2010 at 16:45:39

Report abuse

Martin, in awe of the rugby union guys and how they handle themselves, even cheating over here involves a medic coming on and slicing their top lip open, imagine Nani agreeing to that one !!
Martin Faulkner
39   Posted 16/09/2010 at 11:45:29

Report abuse

Yeah, it only took 1 min to stitch up Nani, the other 8 minutes were spent trying to convince him to stop sulking and go back out and play.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment to the MailBag, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.

© ToffeeWeb

Latest News

Subscribe to The Athletic, Get 40% off

Online Football Betting with Betway

Bet on Everton and get a deposit bonus with bet365 at

Recent Articles

Talking Points & General Forum

Pinned Links


We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.