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What a way to relax!

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I was quite relaxed about yesterday's game. While I'd rather we finished 7th than 8th, there really was very little on the game, so I was not my usual anxious, agitated self in the pub before the game or when I eventually took my seat. I was looking forward to, hopefully, a decent end-of-season game and a relaxed atmosphere and hopefully an end-of-season win.

However, after the first 15 minutes or so all that changed. Steam was blowing out of my ears and I could feel my pulse rising with my frustration. I am very accustomed to being frustrated with Everton, that comes with the territory these days unfortunately, but it wasn't us this time. I was frustrated and angered by a totally biased referee and a Chelsea gang of girls who quickly learned how to take advantage of it.

What was going on was frustrating enough, with a referee who was giving us nothing, giving Chelsea everything he could, ably assisted by Chelsea players throwing themselves to the ground every time they were challenged and getting free kicks for nothing. But what was most frustrating of all was knowing that fuck all would be done about it by the authorities afterwards.

Now, I have some sympathy with the 'Respect' agenda but my old dad once told me that respect should not be a result of who you are (in this case a referee) but rather as a result of what you do (ie, how you perform). When managers can be sent to the stands for kicking a plastic bottle and players booked for taking their shirt off, it rankles that there is no comeback in the public domain with respect to incompetent or biased referees.

I would have more respect for 'Respect' if referees were made to answer for their decisions and if necessary explain them. Referees should have to take part in post-match interviews with managers and the team captains and we could all imagine what Moyes and Neville would have asked Clattenberg for instance.

As for Walton I would like him to explain why he allowed that pansy Lampard to change his mind for him over the seriousness of Coleman's foul. Why he never gave Alex a second yellow for a blatant professional foul on Beckford and why he believed every time a Chelsea player threw himself to the ground it was a foul.

Until referees have to run the same gauntlet as do managers, players and (in some respects) supporters, I am afraid that I for one cannot lend my unconditional respect. At the end of each 90 minutes, I will know whether a referee deserves it. The worrying thing though is that players and managers are expected to provide this unconditional respect and at pains of punishment if they fail to do so while at the same time a referee can get away with murder. This is totally unbalanced and is putting the game at risk because referees are being indirectly rewarded for being incompetent, biased or both.

It simply isn't fair.

Dave  Roberts, Runcorn     Posted 23/05/2011 at 12:34:42

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Sam Hoare
1   Posted 23/05/2011 at 14:28:17

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Think your old man had a good point.

Referees do have a very tough job but I think there should be closer objective analysis of their performances and especially this continuing trend some have of favouring the richer, more influential teams.
Danny Broderick
2   Posted 23/05/2011 at 14:42:42

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I wasn't at the game yesterday, so I can't comment on the ref. But I am not in favour of refs having to come out and justify their decisions to the public. For managers and players, it's different ? they have supporters who are hanging on their every word. They work for clubs who receive money from TV, and their job is to provide soundbites after and between games.

Refs are simply doing their jobs, and we have to accept their decisions. They have to answer to their superiors. If they have a bad game, they can be put on gardening leave the following week, or dropped down a division for example.

Making them explain their decisions in front of the cameras will only serve to turn them into celebrities. You might as well call it a public hanging, as there will always be one set of fans who will never accept the ref's decision anyway.

Mike Bates
3   Posted 23/05/2011 at 14:54:44

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I say hang them!!!!
Norman Merrill
4   Posted 23/05/2011 at 15:06:27

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There is one consolation, that may be the last we see of Peter Walton, yesterdays referee.
He is 51, and was given a extra season, at the start of this campaign, so he may join all the rest of the poor officials we have had to endure over the years.
Good riddance,
I still remember last season at Fulham, when Phil Neville was put out of the game for some months.
And Walton did not even book the offender.
Mike Allison
5   Posted 23/05/2011 at 15:34:18

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The Respect campaign is a pathetic joke in many different ways.

Referees need to respect players, rather than acting as if they are above them. Until this happens why will a player respect a referee? Your Dad's point is the key one here.

The other problem at the top level is the lack of enforcement. Players who surround a referee, or dive and feign injury to con a referee, should be severely punished, but the authorities seem to think it's all fine, because they seem to think that everything the referee does is by definition correct, an absolutely absurd standpoint that encourages and rewards cheating from players, thereby in turn making a referee's job more difficult.

One very clear and obvious example of this is the Barcelona team. As wonderful as they may be, they should be playing the final next week without Dani Alves, Pedro, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano (all for feigning injury) and Carlos Puyol (for charging over to the referee every time he made a decision). Get tough on this sort of thing and the referee's job will become easier almost overnight. The spinelessness in dealing with this kind of outright cheating is what causes so many of the problems.
Andy Riley
6   Posted 23/05/2011 at 15:52:45

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I think referees have got worse in the near 40 odd years I have been watching Everton. The problem is that they don't apply common sense. In isolation you couldn't argue that the second yellow for Coleman was worthy of a yellow card but the first one wasn't. I think the referee probably felt this himself and wasn't going to issue one until Lampard, Terry and Co. pressured him to do so. A short time later Alex was due a second yellow (both his first yellow and the incident deserving of a second missed from MOTD) but because our players don't pressurise referees in the same way he stayed on and was sensibly substituted almost immediately after. I remember a few years ago Dave Watson got two yellows in the first ten minutes in a game against Leeds for two clumsy tackles. You couldn't really argue with it and if every referee followed that approach in every game then fine but we know they don't and favour the current top six in every respect.
Tom Bowers
7   Posted 23/05/2011 at 16:23:52

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Dave, Walton is one of several poor referees ''officiating this season''. The football league is really scraping the barrel when people like this can get paid for bumbling inefficiency. Some of them are not worthy of Sunday League status.

Even the linesmen and so-called fourth officials are an embarrassment with incidents that are so plain to see by everyone. Sadly this will not change.

Nick Entwistle
8   Posted 23/05/2011 at 16:27:45

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Coleman's tackle was awesome. What's the appeal process?
Chris Bannantyne
9   Posted 23/05/2011 at 15:59:52

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In reagards to referees I believe the rugby union has it right. Only the team captain should be allowed to approach the ref, the players should call him/her sir/ma'am and any player that mouths off should be warned or career depending on severity. Referees should refer to players by their number only. This set up helps ensure the appropriate respect is given to the officials.

I love football, but one of the most annoying things about the game is seeing the players surrounding the officials, yelling and pointing everytime a free kick or a penalty is blown. If you have seen something, or feel the decision is wrong tell your captain and he may approach the referee. Refs never change their ruling once they have issued it (unless their assistant intervenes with something noteworthy) so I don't see the point in these antics anyway.

In regards to poor decisions and bias, I believe Refs SHOULD be held accountable. Referees are always going to make mistakes, especially in football where they are not aided by technology in any way. Video technology really should be employed in the case of the ball crossing the goal line, and if the ref is unsure about a major decision, i.e. awarding a penalty or whether a certain foul is worthy of a red card or not. Things happen so fast, and depending on the Refs positioning at the time of an incident, it is unfair on the ref, the players and the fans if we have to rely alley on the refs first instinct.

Now, when a referee does make a howler (which even with technology will happen from time to time) a panel from the FA should assess what happened and decide if any action should be taken against the ref. For example, there have been occassions in the NRL (Australian rugby league) when refs have been dropped to lower grade officiating for a period of time (and subsequently paid as such) due to unacceptable decisions they have made during a game.

In regards to refs having to sit in on media conferences, I don't think that is right either. Club managers should be allowed to say a decision was 'poor' but should never puplicly accuse an official of cheating. A club should be allowed to submit written complaints to a panel that oversees the refs, if the panel think the complaint is justifiable they can then proceed to investigate the complaint and take action against the referee if necessary. If a complaint from a club is deemed to be completely unfounded and inflammatory, then a fine can be issued against that club.

This form of process I believe is the best way to try and ensure fair and impartial officiating, and at the same time stop players and managers giving kids the wrong idea about respect by publicly slamming officials.

Even with this level of process there are always going to be better and poorer referees, and even the best will make mistakes, but my hope is the level of accountability will stop us fans from ever thinking a game is rigged, or an official purposely biased.
Stuart O'Malley
10   Posted 23/05/2011 at 19:39:33

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Chris (#9), everything you just said makes perfect sense, but when a few billion fans of the game world wide can see that video technology is needed for the calling of a tight goaline decision, and the world governing bodies have to be dragged kicking and screaming to introduce that particular technology, I would not hold my breath waiting for them to get around to sorting out the refs.
Stuart O'Malley
11   Posted 23/05/2011 at 19:57:17

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Or player cheating for that matter, which has become the biggest stain on our game. It is embarrasing at times. And not one thing done to stamp it out... Not ONE thing.
Stuart O'Malley
12   Posted 23/05/2011 at 19:59:50

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That should have read not TWO things done. Only thing so far, booking for diving. What I am trying to say is, cheating should be retrospectively acted on, and then diving and so on to gain an advantage would no longer be ruining our game.

Alas no, they can't even get it together to look at a bleeding video after a game. Fifa is destroying football with inaction (and corruption).
Sean McCarthy
13   Posted 23/05/2011 at 20:06:32

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Let's not lose sight of the fact that Coleman's tackle was dangerous and deserved a card. It could easily have been straight red. If anyone had done it to one of our players, we'd all have been out of our seats screaming at the Ref to get his cards out.

That said, Walton was still poor throughout and bottled it when it came to dealing with Alex, letting him off a 2nd yellow.
Dick Fearon
14   Posted 23/05/2011 at 22:13:51

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Until media pundits and commentators bang the drum about simulation, nothing will be done. Expecting to see a "man's" games, I watched Championship and League One play-offs. Sadly, the pretenders were worse than in the Premier League.
How long will it be before players wear skirts? No offence is intended or directed at women's football. I have yet to see a female player play-act or scream at the referee.
David Price
15   Posted 23/05/2011 at 23:43:02

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Dave, great piece mate, 100% correct.

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