Wednesday, October 29, 2014

So Who's got it in for Mark Clattenburg?

Mark Clattenburg, England's top referee now that Howard Webb has retired, has undoubtedly ruffled a few feathers in the course of a bumpy, if successful career. With Webb's retirement after the World Cup, the Geordie ref is widely seen as the country's senior referee, although Michael Oliver is a younger referee probably more suited to the bosses at PGMOL, the Premier League's referees' organisation run by Mike Riley.
But events of the last couple of days present a clear threat to Clattenburg's status and reveal that there are some senior people in the world of refereeing who do not like Clattenburg and will stop at little to prevent him from stepping into Webb's shoes.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Man Utd-Chelsea grappling brings unspoken controversy to the surface - where do refs stand for corners?

When I'm refereeing, I stand in the position where I have the best view of all the action taking place in the penalty area. That may not sound too controversial, but it is. Take a look at the Laws of the Game on There's a diagram there telling refs where to stand for a corner. The problem is that it makes life more difficult for an official, not easier.

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.