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RefWatch – Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal (10/11/2010 – 20:00)

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RefWatch – Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal (10/11/2010 – 20:00)

By DogFace

  • Referee:          Mark Halsey
  • Assistant 1:     Dean Mohareb
  • Assistant 2:     Ceri Richards
  • 4th Official:      Kevin Friend

On Wednesday we travel up to the West Midlands to face Mick McCarthy’s Wolverhampton Wanderers in what, baring an early goal from the Arsenal, promises to be a fest unattractive football, rule bending, time wasting and bruised ankles.  I hear, from my sources in Amsterdam, that Karl Henry has ordered a special golden pair of Nike clogs especially for this fixture and he’s right keen on exposing our ‘soft underbelly’ (as the apologists and exponents of the ‘English game’ like to call it).

But stop – will the referee let this bad behaviour slide and ignore the rough and tumble?  Maybe – maybe not – either way I think he will attempt to be consistent in his interpretation of the rules be it benefit Wolves [physical game] or Arsenal [technical game].  Let’s check him out:

  • Full name:                   Mark R Halsey
  • Date of birth:               8 July 1961 (age 49)
  • Place of birth:              Welwyn Garden City, England
  • Favourite Colour:        Reebok Blue

So he likes Bolton does he!?  Scurrilous allegations from the DogFace there… but wait – this conflict of interest is on the table and Mark, consequently, does not officiate in games involving Bolton either as a referee or fourth official – the only involvement he currently has with the team is when he trains with them on a regular basis.

In fact I’ve got no real bombs to drop or bile to vent this match as, on the whole, Mark Halsey seems to be something of a journeyman referee, trying to do his job and not make too much of a name for himself.

The main controversy surrounding Mark was when he sent off the shimmering deity (in the eyes of the FA) John Terry for a rugby tackle on Jo in the Chelsea V Manchester City fixture (2008-09-13).

I’ll learn these bloody foreigners for ruining our game!

Even though this seemed perfectly fair to me the FA, in their wisdom, decided to make an example (of Halsey) and remind the PGMOB that there are certain players, laws of the game or no, that should be allowed to do what they jolly well like… as, QED, an environment where English players have no comprehension of the laws of the game and can just cheat a bit when they make a mistake or need a result will definitely improve our chances of winning a world cup… or not as the case may be.

John Terry’s red card was unsurprisingly overturned and Halsey was subsequently demoted to league 2 for a feisty encounter between Chester and Shrewsbury… so take note all ye who wear black and blow whistles – stick to the script or you will find yourself booting up in a room with an buzzing electric heater and mildew up the walls!

Despite this admirable episode, Halsey of course is no angel himself and has made the odd cock-up and done his bit of ‘sticking to the script’ in terms of the interpretation of the rules – this is par for the course with the PGMOB and the FA – but in his defence he has never, as far as I know, mugged a team blind by degenerating the game into a ‘surreal farce’ in the way that, say, Mike ‘Coupon Buster’ Dean can… so this is good – although, as I mentioned above, it will be ‘advantage Wolves’ if the script demands that the line is set at a place where the tackles start flying in.

In his personal life Mark Halsey has recently had a battle with an extremely aggressive form of throat cancer; he is now in remission although, in a cruel twist of fate, his wife is battling with Leukaemia.  So this speaks something of the determination of Mark to return to his duties as a referee in the EPL.  Arséne Wenger has spoken publicly about this and his ‘delight’ to see him back and running around considering the seriousness of his disease and his battle to return to fitness.

We at ‘Untold Towers’ wish Mark and his family all the best through these difficult times – we should remind ourselves every now and then that some things transcend football.

OK – for all you number crunchers out there, onto the data:

Arsenal at Home with Halsey as the whistle

Season Competition Home Win Draw Away Win
2001/2002 English Premier 2 0 1
2002/2003 English Premier 0 1 0
2003/2004 English Premier 2 0 0
2005/2006 English Premier 0 0 1
2006/2007 English Premier 1 0 0
2007/2008 English Premier 1 1 0
2008/2009 English FA Cup 1 0 0

Arsenal away with Halsey at the whistle:

Season Competition Home Win Draw Away Win
2001/2002 English FA Cup 0 1 0
2001/2002 English Premier 0 1 0
2002/2003 English Premier 0 1 0
2003/2004 English Premier 0 1 1
2004/2005 English League Cup 1 0 0
2004/2005 English Premier 0 0 2
2008/2009 English Premier 0 0 1
2009/2010 English Premier 0 0 1

So, of late, it seems that we do ok – and I think this is reflective of the degree of consistency that Mark Halsey provides on the pitch as a professional referee.  I just hope that the script demands that we can see a game where Mark can interpret the laws to encourage technical ability and creativity rather than, what is becoming pejoratively known as, ‘the English game’.

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11 comments to RefWatch – Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal (10/11/2010 – 20:00)

  • Doncsec

    hey will dis ref help us really.

  • Gooner Gal

    Firstly can I say Dogface I really like ref watch and I thought your assessment of Mike Dean was spot on.

    .
    I am sure Wolves will be a physical game and we need a confident and assertive ref.

  • DogFace

    @Doncsec – All I ask is a fair game and a competative match… win or loose I’ll be happy if we do our best.

    @Gooner Gal – I thankyew, I thrive on praise! The trend this season seems to be about clamping down a bit on dangerous challenges, so I can only assume – post world cup embarrassment and a rumble of a paradigm shift in media perception of such things – that the EPL is trying to encourage technicality in a bid to improve its overall brand – this message will no doubt have been pressured onto the PGMOB – so we shall see how things shift now all the “it’s a man’s game” bollocks has been exposed for what it is.

  • DogFace

    @Doncsec – All I ask is a fair game and a competative match… win or loose I’ll be happy if we do our best.

    @Gooner Gal – I thankyew, I thrive on praise! The trend this season seems to be about clamping down a bit on dangerous challenges, so I can only assume – post world cup embarrassment and a rumble of a paradigm shift in media perception of such things – that the EPL is trying to encourage technicality in a bid to improve its overall brand – this message will no doubt have been pressured onto the PGMOB – so we shall see how things shift now all the “it’s a man’s game” bollocks has been exposed for what it is.

  • rusty

    I have to admit, I’m quite confused — I thought that DogFace and Billy the Dog were one and the same?

  • Gooner Gal

    Dogface, unfortunately judging by the number of players with serious injury already (Ben Arfa, Zamora and Diaby to name a few), the ref’s have not been able to convey their message to all teams this season. The refereeing in this country is just not up to standard and the EPL brand is definately suffering because of it.

  • Gooner Gal

    Rusty – maybe they are related.

  • A Casual Observer

    @Gooner Gal

    This is true – but there have been more in the way of red cards for these challenges – the rising wave of violent play will hopefully start to crash because of this. I have noticed the pundits starting to change their stance on this as the media spotlight is turned to focus on them – what was once ‘a good hard challenge’ of shit-kicking teams vs the ‘tippy tappy play’ of technical teams, has now become something that the game has ‘no room for’.

    Alas these trends cannot be stopped overnight and as long as the old dinosaurs keep brainwashing the masses that violence is something inherently ‘English’ in terms of football then there will always be a sleeping majority who will default to this view. The recent world cup did wake them up a bit mind you as it became painfully obvious, to even the most die-hard shit-kicker, that the beautiful game left these shores some time around the early 70’s and didn’t send so much as a postcard home.

    @rusty

    Billy ‘The Dog’ is an estranged uncle (48 times removed) – he sometimes turns up at weddings and funerals for the food and free drink.

  • DogFace

    LOL

    *makes mental note*

  • Micheal

    I really hope Wolves will play against Arsenal just like the way they played against Man Utd… They really dont deserve to lose that game… They played fair and square except for few dumb moments from Karl Henry… Offensive, high tempo pressuring and strong determination just like the way Newcastle played against Arsenal in the last match… Will be a good spectate to see how Arsenal will learn and improve… Good luck, guyz… Dont let us down…

  • DogFace

    ‘kin ‘ell – Halsey should have gone to specsavers – that was more physical than I expected.

    0-2 = good win!