Monday, October 20, 2014

Sorry Henry, but referees really don't want to face a one-sided grilling from ratings hungry broadcasters

Henry Winter is one of the football writers I turn to first after a weekend's football. Knowledgeable and witty, he's a pleasure to read and is also a very nice chap, if the couple of times I've met him are anything to go by. But I'm saddened that he's been persuaded to adopt the view that referees should be paraded post-match, to justify - or "provide clarification" as he so quantly puts it -- their decisions.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sod's law - first time in 12 years I didn't check the nets

As I arrived in Gravesend, the rain started. And it didn't stop until five minutes from the end. The torrential rain upset the usual match routine. The two teams took one look at the rain and retreated to the changing rooms, only venturing out a few minutes before the game. I took shelter in a dug out and  greeted the players as they took the field.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The midfielder who's always in your ear

The summer break must have lulled me into a false sense of security but I've been snapped back to reality and a reminder that most teams have one player, usually a midfielder, who is the dedicated whinger, the player who is always in the referee's ear, telling him his decisions were wrong, that he's favouring the opposition, all said quietly enough to keep him below the threshold of a tellow card for dissent.

Monday, September 08, 2014

It's tricky to tell how bad a foul is - an early season lesson

First match of the season went well on a stunning, sunny afternoon on the banks of the River Medway just a couple of miles from home (unlike this coming Saturday when I'll be reffing within sight of the Channel Tunnel entrance). The match was a cracker between two new teams to the league who slugged it out goal for goal until it ended 3-2 to the home team: and I didn't get my cards out once.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Nothing to do with reffing, but I have to tell you about this wine

Fronton, a name I'd never heard until this week when I visited a cute little bistro in Paris called L'Ebauchoir, a five minute walk from the Place de la Bastille, part of Paris that has been cheap and trendy for a while now but is fast losing the "cheap" part. The restaurant ( ) is highly recommended, especially for its wine list, lovingly put together by a couple of blokes who seriously share a love of travelling around France (and elsewhere) finding wines that are uncommon and not too expensive.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Brazil vs. Colombia and Señor Carlos Velasco Carballo

Well the South Americans certainly give no quarter when it comes to referees. Señor Carballo is being pilloried in the media here in Brazil this morning and on Twitter as a corrupt and incompetent match official responsible for the fractured vertebra suffered by their hero Neymar.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Referees fail in challenge to stay in the background

(This is my take for The Associated Press so far in the World Cup on the refereeing here in Brazil)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — World Cup refereeing boss Massimo Busacca had a simple wish before this World Cup.
"Our goal is for the referee to remain in the background during a match and