Arsenal this past week: the ref’s perspective

As I sometimes get the remark that we only talk about the ref after a defeat, I will try to change this for once.  The reason is 3 games in a week and all three with some debatable decisions. Some went our way, others not.

So let’s  go to the game at Anfield. The first goal from Liverpool was offside.  And Liverpool should have had a penalty. The foul from Gallas was clear. The fact that Gerrard lost control over the ball doesn’t matter, the ball was in play and Gallas tripped Gerrard. With the penalty we were lucky, with the goal we were unlucky. One could say, this evens itself in this game.

Then we went to Burnley and when I saw the name Dean as the ref, I know we would be lucky not to have a penalty against us. Vermaelen committed a foul and Dean gave a penalty which was correct at that moment. No complaints on that decision.

But as we know our Mr. Dean.  We know he refuses to give Arsenal any  penalty how blatant it might be. This time again in the first minutes when Cesc got a clear push which made him scuffle his shot.

Cesc didn’t go down and this was surprisingly because after all he is a cheating foreigner. But of the player goes down or not: a push is a push and when you push an opponent in the back and he therefore loses his composure it is a foul and when it happens in the penalty box it is penalty. But then again Mr. Dean had a bit of dust on his contact lenses I think.

A bit later again he was blind sighted by the reflection of the floodlights when Nasri rushed clear past the last defender and got a tug  which made him lose the ball. Nothing given, no foul, no red card this time. Well, it was Mike Dean as a ref, what could we have expected otherwise.  The first time Mr. Dean gives us a penalty I will give a round in the Toppled Bollard. Not much of a chance I will have to give one in the near future.

Then came the game against Hull and Mr. Bennet.  The first incident involved some massive push and shuffle incident a few minutes before the interval. Yes Samir Nasri had to be sent off. What he did is inexcusable. He stood on the foot of the Hull player who made the most of it, but Nasri should never have done such a thing. He got a little push first from a Hull player but his reaction was over the top. In fact I think he is lucky because the ref gave him a yellow card and I believe he can get no extra punishment from the FA.

But maybe the FA will find an extra rule somewhere to give a punishment to Nasri. If so the FA should at least give a ban to Barmby who pushed Nasri in the face.  Pushing an opponent in the face is always a red card offence but it was not punished by the ref.

So it could end up that Barmby should be punished. If I had been the ref those 2 players would have gone of the field.

Another player who should have been off by then would be Hunt. He should have had a yellow card for the incident with the  clash with Almunia and when he kicked the ball away. After that he made several fouls, was complaining every decision from the ref and his assistants.

And after his involvement in the pushing around he was booked. It should have been his second yellow by then and he should have walked also. To the defense of Mr. Bennet one could say the main things happened behind his back and so he didn’t see what happened exactly.

Then came the lowest point in the game for the ref. He gave a penalty for Hull. Well I have seen the game live on my big TV screen, I have seen MOTD, I have seen replays over and over again and what Mr Bennet was showing (a pull of the shirt) was nowhere to be seen. The only thing one could see was two players holding each other off with their hands but the both did it and if there was a shirt pulled it was Silvestre’s shirt that seemed to be a little bit bigger than normal.

This was in fact a laughable decision from the ref. If Mr Bennet is going to give a penalty every time a defender is holding his arm out to feel where the attacker is moving to, he is going to beat the world record in penalty’s giving every game.

In fact the fourth official was so upset by this totally wrong decision he prepared himself shortly after the penalty decision to come on the field and to replace the ref. I think that most of you in the stadium haven’t seen this, but he put on this buzzer around his arm and had his track suit already off.  It was shown on TV.

I think Mr Bennet wasn’t feeling too well after he realized his penalty decision was so wrong and he was so embarrassed that he wanted to leave the field. But when Eduardo scored the 2-0 (and first the Almunia save) he was so relieved and he did stay on the field.

So a bit lucky with Nasri not being sent off, and a bit unlucky with Barmby and Hunt not being sent off. And very unlucky with the penalty decision which will have M. Bennet thinking before he makes such ridiculous decision again.

So these are my thoughts on the refs for this week. Just shoot the ref if you don’t agree. After all, I’m used to this.

Further Reading:

Making the Arsenal – the book

Making the Arsenal – the blog

Making the Arsenal – review of the book by A Cultured Left Foot

25 Replies to “Arsenal this past week: the ref’s perspective”

  1. And a final addition on the penalty: if Hunt would have headed the rebound in the goal should have been disallowed because he was already in the penalty area before the penalty was kicked. But would the ref had seen it ?

  2. I think its hard on refs. to catch each and every player movement, with the game becoming so fast, unless technology help is sought, controversial decisions will be a part of the game. But I like the game as it is, what ever the out come.
    Fista Football

  3. Thanks Walter. I found the Burnley incidents particularly upsetting.

    Please give us your insight on the Chelsea penalty against West Ham. Referees seem to blow that if the defender gets the ball, he ignores the follow through foul. In this case he didn’t. Surely when these decisions become inconsistent, it detracts from Football.

  4. Technology (videos etc.) is the only logical solution. As AW has pointed out, it is absurd that millions know what really happened but the ref doesn’t.

  5. Mr Dean, in my view, is a very bad referee; even Andy Gray commented on his inconsistent consistency. Besides this, he bought bigtime into the general English xenophobia. He hates Arsenal with a passion.

    What is sad is that the FA are in no position to ‘bell the cat’.

  6. Looking at the bigger picture for the sport; what is the state of officiating standards?
    Why would any intelligent person want to submit their character to weekly 2nd guessing, criticisms, and film replay.
    I’ll bet if you check with those in charge of referee’s in the UK, they are losing many of their better officials and development and replacement of new “talent” is waning.

    The play of the game is too fast, players are too polished in deception, and home crowd influence is a reality.

    If you want to attract a better quality of official, you need to give him the tools to get it right. It will not slow the game down, but it will offer immediate justice for the fans, managers, and players.

  7. About the Chelsea penalty: If I remember it right as I haven’t seen the game and only just with half an eye on my tv when they showed higlights. So must be carefull.
    I think Upson went in with his left leg and played the ball away with that leg. I think he was sliding with his right leg under his own body. Can anyone confirm this because it is the difference between foul or no foul. If it happened like I said then he had no intention to make a foul as he played the ball with the leg that he was attacking the ball with and succesfully.
    If he went out with als his right leg towards the Chelsea player and stuck it out to be sure he hit the player then there is a foul and is the penalty correct.
    Should have payed a little bit more attention yesterday evening….

  8. Arsesession, I agree with you and Finngun. Give in those games the refs the tools to review critical decisions at once. The time lost will be a fraction on the time lost these days when players surround refs and assistants if they think a decision is wrong. It also will stop those surroundings from the ref as the decision can be reviewed by other officials outside the field.

  9. Shame poor inept refs who cannnot see blatant dives in the box or shirt pulling ,kicking from behind ,managers/coaches out of their technical areas ,or managers influencing the time keepers ,after all they,re only human ,so where are the two assistant refs ,who can,t judge offsides or onsides so blind are they ?

  10. The refs get paid in two years what the top stars get in one month ,yet they (refs)persist with lecturing highly paid brats ,get on with the action and show more cards if necessary ,not incessant lecturing and holding up of play .

  11. In last night,s game at Upton park Carvalho blatantly clatters into the West Ham player who hasn,t yet received the ball from the cross,a clear penalty to the home team ,but where,s the ref as it,s in the penalty area?

  12. @ Walter 1:33pm. “I think Upson went in with his left leg and played the ball away with that leg. I think he was sliding with his right leg under his own body. Can anyone confirm this because it is the difference between foul or no foul. If it happened like I said then he had no intention to make a foul as he played the ball with the leg that he was attacking the ball with and succesfully.”

    What you describe here is exactly what happened to RvP. The Italian took the ball with his extended left leg, while his right leg was under his body. His right foot was protruding from under his left thigh and his studs thudded into Rvp’s ankle. I thought that despite the fact that he had no intention of fouling RvP, it was a classic “second leg” tackle, dangerous and illegal.

  13. The officiatin is bad this day.every ref commit one or two mistake in everygame dat is too bad.there must be improvement if d technology video wil be d solution let embrace it.

  14. “The refs get paid in two years what the top stars get in one month”
    That’s interesting, what do premier league refs actually get paid?

    A quick scan of the internet says £1200 a game, or up to 70k a year.

    LOL, now we can see the problem!

    Why is the money in professional football not being properly distributed? If the players are making 7 figure annual salaries, then why aren’t the referees salaries comparable with that?
    A complete failure on the part of the FA to run the sport properly seems the straightforward answer.

    I had imagined these guys were on around 200,000 – 250,000K a year.
    I had no idea that the real figure was about a fifth of that.

    Now I’m not saying good salaries will cure corruption, a certain Chelsea defender and our politicians show that isn’t always the case.

    But I think if the refs were properly paid, they would become less corruptible.


  15. Off topic Tony but,

    Stan Kroenke has bought 25 more shares in Arsenal and is within 17 shares of the threshold that would force him to make a takeover bid.

    Make of that what you will,but regarding the salary ref’s get the maximum i believe is 60K a week, and I don’t see that even if they were on 250K a week, it would actually lead to more corruption.Greed is the main factor.Anyone can be bought at the right price.

  16. 3 million a year?

    No way. Referees earn up to about £60,000 a year.

    That sounds like a good salary, but its an absolute pittance.

    The skill levels required by a referee are extremely high. You could argue that he needs to be the most skilful man on the pitch. He also has to endure extreme stress and in some cases referees recieve death threats. His work is under the most intense public and media scrutiny.

    Who would want to be a referee?

    Now factor in that players and managers are earning huge salaries, sometimes up to 5/6 million a year. They earn these wages because its a high profile job, with extreme pressure, in the public arena……

    ………and in what way does a referee differ from them?

    Not much.

    So if I was a ref, 60k would frankly feel like a slap in the face with a wet kipper.

    Realisticaly I would have thought they need to be on 2-3 hundred thousand a year. That would reflect the very high profile nature of the job, and personally I think would cut out a lot of the corruption we suspect in the game.

  17. Mark, nice point about ref pay. It’s amazing if it’s true, especially if after almost single match day, a new ref controversy seems to splash across our screens.

    Raising their pay might also help players respect refs more. It’s a joke when you realize how the “incorruptible lion” John Terry is paid 2-3 times more in one week, than a ref makes in one year.

    It seems so easy to do, at not much of a cost compared to the scale of the business…

  18. Let’s just say that paying a ref 5 times the money he gets from the FA to do a match by a club in a brown envelop is big money for the ref and a small amount of money for the club.

    Even I have been offered more money then the set price and when you say you only want the money you are entitled to they said: “oh it was a misunderstanding, whe thought this was the right amount we had to pay you, sorry.”
    And then to know that a club knows in advance how much they have to pay me to do my match….

    But in the highest division there normally is no payment in cash for the ref as all payments go trough the bank directly from the FA. In my country it is like that.

  19. On the Nasri incident fact is that Mr. Bennet forgot one important rule and that is to always try to have the players involved in front of you. By not doing this he missed the whole situation and he could have prevented it.
    Certainly with the way the Hull players protesting every decision and keeping the ball to waste time and to prevent a flowing game he should have anticipated that the Hull players once again would hold on to the ball and that this could mean trouble.

  20. They are called sub-editors Wonderinggoon and their job is to write headlines.

    At their best they are magic (SuperCallyGoBalistic CelticAreAtrocious) at their worst they change the whole essence of the story leaving the writer wondering what the hell happened between his computer and the paper.

    One of the great advantages of blogs is one gets to write ones own headlines.


  21. Nothing wrong with “fret”, it saves precious headline space, but i imagine “worried” would have been plainer to Southerners!
    And i agree Tony, you can have the greatest blog in the world, but if you don’t write eye-catching headlines, you don’t get anyone reading…

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