By Tony Attwood
Why did the ref not send Coquelin off in the match against Palace?
Of course there can be many reasons offered, ranging from the fact that he didn’t deserve to be sent off, through to the notion that the ref didn’t see the fouls as yellow card offences, and on to something completely different.
Unlike most of the aaa and the media, I can’t read people’s minds, and I’m not interested in straight assertion (“he should have been sent off and if you can’t see that you are an idiot” as one correspondent so lucidly put it after the ref review was put on line – I didn’t publish his comment because I rather prefer debate and logic to tedious statements) but I can do research, and that, I think, provides us with a fairly good stab at the answer.
And that answer is that that the actions of the Palace manager ensured that Coquelin was fairly certain NOT to be sent off.
To understand how this happened, there are two strands to the investigation.
First, Pardew has a long history of talking about referees in a negative light. He doesn’t do it after every defeat, and at least unless Arry the Red he doesn’t preface his comments with, “I never talk about referees as you know but…”, but Pardew does it enough to ensure that every single referee in PGMO knows all about Pardew and his accusations and moans. His approach is a given, even before the ref reaches the ground.
To see what I mean just take a look at this – a mere, tiny, miniscule extraction from the annals.
- Pardew demands action over RVP incident 8 Oct 2012
- Alan Pardew fumes as ref misses horror tackle on Massadio 17 March 2013
- Alan Pardew fumes with referee Mike Jones 12 Jan 2014
- Pardew criticises Dowd display at Anfield – 11 May 2014
- Ref justice! Pardew demands ‘protection’ for Newcastle’s Cabella 2 Oct 2014
- Alan Pardew criticises referee Mike Jones as Newcastle lose again.. 26 Dec 2014
- Alan Pardew doesn’t expect Crystal Palace skipper Mile Jedinak to face action for Diafra Sakho ‘elbow’ 2 Mar 2015
- Alan Pardew slams referee Clattenburg – 25 April 2015
So here is a man who loves to criticise, can’t take criticism, and sometimes can let his emotions run away with him.
But because our media are now fixated on focussing on individual issues, rather than cumulative issues, I don’t think any of the papers or blogettas have picked up on the constant, endless, ceaseless and ultimately incredibly tedious set of comments he makes about refs in terms first of his Newcastle team, and then his Palace team.
Of course Untold complains a lot about refs – but there is a difference, because we look behind the errors and analyse what it is in the structure and approach to refereeing within PGMO that is allowing and in some cases causing all these problems. Pardew just says the ref got it wrong, and that’s that.
So within the stalking halls of PGMO (whose registered address is now Wembley Stadium, I note) there are conversations about managers who blame refs, and top of the ref blaming list is one Pardew. As a referee might say, “If Pardew doesn’t criticise me wholeheartedly, I start to worry about my game”.
That sets the scene. But as Pardew admitted on Match of the Day he took things a step further after the Palace Arsenal game. (Incidentally that link will only work for a short while as it is from the BBC and they drop their programme re-runs after a short period – the bit I am going to talk about is around 34 minutes 40 seconds and thereafter if you want to check).
Having been alerted to this clip, I checked with Walter, himself a ref as will know, and he forwarded a copy of the rule book covering such matters. So what follows is not me saying what I think, but what is in the manual.
Managers and the like cannot enter a referee’s rooms within the ground at any time, but there is nothing in the rules to stop a manager exchanging a few words with a ref at half time or full time as he leaves the pitch.
The manager can say a few word back (in a very polite manner) about a decision and he might answer a request for an explanation but that is down to the ref. He can respond or ignore such a request as he wishes. The referee is never obliged to give any explanation to a manager. So the referee can ignore the words, or he can answer, or he can say, “The match is over, let’s leave it now”, and by and large anything else as long as it is polite.
So in that regard Pardew did nothing wrong. But there is more.
21 August 1954: Last of 57 league appearances for Arthur Shaw. He later captained Gravesend to win Southern League title in 1957/8 after being signed by manager and former gunner Lionel Smith. In 2015 an Arsenal fan living near Arthur, in California, found the Arsenal History Society page on Arthur’s life and passed it on to him, which seems to make all this research worthwhile