How poor is the officiating in the Premier League?

Hardly a week goes by without us reading complaints about the standard of refereeing in the Premier League. The complaints are not isolated to just our team, unfortunately they have become common place. Hardly a week goes by without a manager being fined, sent to the stands or suspended.

13th jan

My ten questions are simple –

  1. Are we being fair to the officials?
  2. Has the standard really dropped?
  3. Were there as many complaints back in the day?
  4. Do the referees favour particular teams?
  5. Has technology altered our opinion of officiating?
  6. Should instant replays be allowed on the ground’s big screens?
  7. Should the number of game officials be increased?
  8. Should the officials be given more tools/help?
  9. Are the rules too complex?
  10. Should managers be able to challenge decisions?


In your opinion what needs to be done to correct the impression/reality of poor officiating.


185 Responses to How poor is the officiating in the Premier League?

  1. Rasp says:

    Thanks GN5, this is a topic guaranteed to generate an impassioned response.

    Before I give my answer’s to your points, I’d like just to say that it is ridiculous that FIFA has not introduced instant video replay technology to football. If they had, today’s post would not be necessary as 90% of the perceived errors referees make would be avoided.

    1.Yes, we’re being fair to officials but their governing bodies are not by depriving them of the technology that would enable them to do their job better.

    2. I think the standard is about the same as it has been for the last few years.

    3. I guess there have always been complaints about refs, but video replays/analysis after the event has focused criticism when a mistake is made and that encourages supporters to be more negative towards refs.

    4. Yes refs probably do favour particular teams although this may be at a subliminal level.

    5. Yes technology has lowered our opinion of refs because it is available to the armchair critics latterly rather than the officials at the time.

    6 Replays of contentious incidents should not be screened at grounds as this could cause unnecessary trouble amongst supporters.

    7. There are sufficient officials on and around the pitch, a dedicated team should also be on hand for instant video review.

    8. See previous answers.

    9. The rules are not too complex but require simpler definitions so that idiots no longer say things like ‘he got the ball’ when the trailing leg scythes through another player.

    10. Managers would not have to challenge decisions if the referee had the technology to get it right in the first place.

    …. Rant over …. 😀

  2. RC78 says:

    Overall, the officiating seems a bit below last season’s level. That said, one should hope that each team will equally benefit and be penalized by the officiating by the end of the season…so that there is no complaints possible…Dream over 😦

  3. RC78 says:

    Sanogo to Crystal Palace. Hope he will be among the regular starters. The boy has plenty of potential but he needs to become more clinical in front of the goal and he really needs to work on his first touch and link-up play

  4. Shard says:

    1. Yes. If anything we, as in the general public, are too easy on them and their superiors.

    2. Hard to say. It definitely hasn’t improved, and it was already very bad.

    3. No idea, but probably not.

    4. Absolutely.

    5. Yes. But this is no bad thing.

    6. Absolutely.

    7. Not game officials, no. But more qualified referees should be there so as to reduce the effect a single biased referee can have over the course of a season. (Germany a few years ago, had 42 refs in their 18 team league)

    8. Absotively, posilutely.

    9. No, but some rules need clarification (for the public, before each season) as to how they are/will be interpreted.

    10. Yes. Though the exact system for that will have to be worked out, probably even after a system is implemented.

    For example, offside. What if someone is incorrectly called offside and hence denied the opportunity to shoot? No appeal will change the effect of the call. So maybe we could stop the linesman from calling offside and appoint a video ref whose job is to watch for offside and inform the referee when it happens. He can also review other incidents when asked by the referee (under a manager’s challenge, or otherwise) This should also make the ‘assistant refs’ true assistants where they can watch for off the ball incidents rather than concentrate on on the ball and running with the last defender.

  5. ‘morning all, we do love a poll, well done GN5.

    As someone who only ever watches football on TV I can see the argument in favour of giving refs access to instant replays is superficially a strong one. But, how is it to be incorporated in a fast flowing game such as football? Who is going to decide to stop the game to look at the video?

    Watch a game of Rugby, the TMO (TV Match Official) can be asked, by the referee, to look at various aspects of the game. But play is stopped while he does so, thirty hot sweaty blokes stand around in the pouring rain, the clock is stopped, the crowd don’t know what’s happening and the TMO studies video from half a dozen different angles. It’s getting to the stage where games instead of lasting eighty minutes will soon stretch into excess of ninety or even more.

    Having said that, my answers to GN5’s questions are as follows:-

    1) Yes
    2) Yes
    3) No
    4) No
    5) Yes
    6) No
    7) No
    8) No
    9) No
    10) No

    The solution is to have better referees, bring in the best from other European Leagues. The Premiership can afford to do it and the game deserves the best.

  6. RC78 says:

    I am in favour of “official video challenges” but more like in tennis than in Rugby and only on specific plays…

    1. Penalty or no penalty
    2. Red card or no red card
    3. Goal or no goal (was the goal disallowed wrongly or rightly? usually has to deal with an offside call or not seeing a foul in the build-up of a goal esp. on freekicks and corners where some players totally abuse others without being punished)

    That’s all. There can only be 1 challenge per half for each team and they can only contest decisions on the above-mentioned points. The 4th referee should have access to this screen and to the replay. During this challenge, the time should be counted and added in the extra-time…

  7. Shard says:


    There’ll be a need to define what constitutes an offense/decision worthy of appeal. Offsides are clear yes or no decisions that should take seconds to clear up. I think red card decisions (whether given or not), penalties (given or not), and goals (for fouls in the immediate buildup) should be allowed to be reviewed. There is typically a stop in play for such decisions/incidents anyway. And it might even save time with players/managers using their video challenge rather than arguing with the referee.

    Also, the referees should have their mics on like in rugby, so we can hear him explain his decision to the players, or hear what the officials say among themselves. If they are worried about ‘colourful’ language, they can stream that live online, or simply stop players from abusing (it can be done) No player except the captain of a team should be allowed to talk to the referee, and that too with his express permission. A straight yellow card if anyone breaks that rule. That should save some time too.

    Football games last 90 mins, but the ball is typically in play only about 60 mins. The idea that video will slow the game down is fear mongering without any evidence to see if this is the case. How about trial runs in friendlies?


    Nice one GN5

    I like to abuse Referees. Not because they do a bad job, I just like abusing them.

    Putting my selfishness aside, I feel really sorry for them. As far as ime concerned they do a great job

    The problem they have is parasites like me who enjoy watching them suffer and mostly the people that are involved in football themselves.

    Players are ungrateful cheats who make good referring impossible, managers are loathsome bung merchants who deflect there failings on to refs, and the media is full of ex players who regard refs as inferior.

    I once got roped into reffing a Sunday league game down Hackney Marshes. It was a real eye opener.

    in the space of 90 minutes I was accused of been related to Forest Gump, a very hairy drag queen, a man with limited sexual experience, and worst of all, an Italian.

    Now, seeing that one of the teams was full of geezers that had been friends of mine for years, this came as a real shock.

    I kid you not. At the end of the game I went straight home to bed and didnt talk to any one for weeks. I believe this also triggered my ringing strangers were I would plead to be verbally abused and told my wife was sleeping with a linesman.

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  9. Big Raddy says:

    GN5. Thanks for an interesting post

    This is not a new subject.

    One of the first times I heard the word “wanker” it was associated with the word referee or “in the black”.

    Without TV assistance it is an impossible job.

    NG. I disagree and think the game is for the viewer not the players, as such anything which improves the viewing experience is to the benefit of the game

  10. Shard, the mics are on in Rugby, but only the TV audience can hear the feed, Not the crowd in the ground! so they don’t know what’s going on.

  11. Rasp says:

    I doubt video review of contentious incidents (not every time the ref blows his whistle) would slow the game down at all. It would stop players crowding round the ref and the time that takes = the right decision is made and the ref doesn’t suffer the abuse – what’s not to like?

  12. I can imagine fans have complained about refs since the start of time. I wasn’t around in those days like GN5 but when 200 blokes tried to kill each other chasing an inflated pigs bladder on an English field in the 16th century, I bet GN5 was shouting for Ordeal by Water for the ref.


    Lets forget video evidence. Football is a fast flowing game were most decisions fall into the grey area. the whole thing is to subjective and will only compound the situation not alleviate it.

    Brian Clough was the greatest manager of his generation, maybe the best manager this country has ever known.

    He had a simple rule with refs. Never criticise and punish his players who did. This never stopped his teams winning.

    In some ways football reflects society, so for me the answer is a return to basics were “respect” replaces the rubbish attitude that currently permeates the game.

    It will never happen of course. But I for one wish it would.

  14. Rasp says:

    Hi TMHT, do you think that the cops should be able to give you a speeding ticket just because they think you’ve been driving too fast (or they don’t like your face 🙂 )- or would you prefer the exact science of a speed camera??? 😆

  15. Rasp says:

    ….. not that any of us like a speed camera 😕


    Down my way the cops wait for me come outside my house and do me for breathing Rasp. Theres usually a chase between them as to who can do me first. hahaha.

    Another important virtue is trust that refs will perform there duty fairly and without bias. Maybe a more vigorous oversight panel for refs will assist in enhancing faith in the system.

    For me it boils down to people involved in the sport. Its very rare you see umpires in cricket get stick, why? Because there is a sense of gentlemanly conduct and healthy virtues, thats why.

    Football needs a cultural shift.

  17. ha ha ha ha Transplant talking about gentlemanly contact and healthy vitues 🙂

    I rckon the sooner video evidence is introduced into football the better, it wouldn’t take more time than the current system is stopped for opposing teams to remonstrate with the ref, the ref will be free of accusations of biais or poor decisions and football will be better off for it. The only downside, what would us fans have to complain about?

  18. Big Raddy says:

    Respect for referees would certainly take some of the pressure off them. If it is possible in a violent game like American football why not the PL?

    There should be an immediate yellow card for any questioning of a decision, after all, when have we ever seen a referee change his mind because a player shouts?

    All it does is make them fearful about making the next decision.

    It is up to the FA to stop this but non-action like there has been over the Debuchy incident questions their ability to do anything to improve the game.

  19. TwentyTwelve says:

    NB, “conduct” not “contact” 🙂

    And don’t worry, we’ll find thing to complain about.

    Great article, GN5. I’m for video review.


    No Twenty. In my case 69 definitely meant gentlemanly contact. hahaha

  21. ha ha 2012

    With Transplant that could go either way 🙂

  22. Big Raddy says:

    Terry. Clough the best manager? Better than Mee? Pull yourself together man.


    Come on Raddy, lets not be biased mate. Top five managers in my life time for enjoyment given

    1 Arsene
    2 George Graham
    3 Ossie Ardilas
    4 Christian Gross
    5 Brenda Hoddle

  24. The more technology you introduce into to the game, the worse the refs will get. They will simply abrogate all responsibility for making decisions. The players will have even less reason to respect the officials than they have now and we will end up with match results depending entirely on TV replays.

    It’s happening in Cricket, it’s happening in Rugby, umpires and referees are simply not trusting their own ability to get difficult decisions right. The only sport where it is almost one hundred succesful is tennis, where it is only used for line calls. Even so my wife, who is a great tennis lover, thinks it has taken some of the fun out of the game. No more McEnroe “You cannot be serious” type tantrums.

    One other problem is where the video evidence is unclear. It frequently happens that the “experts” in the TV studio often look at a penalty incident, one says “nailed on Penalty”, the second says “no, he went down too easily”, the third says “I’ve seen them given”. In the studio it doesn’t matter, but on the pitch? What does the poor old ref do?

  25. hundred percent succesful

  26. Shard says:


    The ref does what he thinks is right, but he will no longer have the excuse of ‘only sees it once and at such high speed’.


    Spot on Norfolk

    Technology has gone to far. I read some were recently that some of the worlds top scientists wrote an open letter to the U.N. warning that it wont be long before evil Robots with the artificial inteligence of Garth Crooks took over the world.

    Humanity could face extinction from Crooks for f*ucks sake

    Ok, maybe they never mentioned Crooks by name, but we all know what they meant.

  28. Rasp says:

    At that level Terry, you should be writing your comments with a quill on parchment and sending them in by carrier pigeon 😆

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi all,

    This is a subject that affects everybody in football.

    In my opinion referees are under more pressure today than at any other time and I don’t believe it’s due them being worse at their job than their predecessors or that they are making more incorrect decisions.

    The problem as I see it is that TV coverage and all of the associated electronic technology has improved at a far more rapid pace. TV screens are much bigger and the reception is so clear that you can see a blade of grass, There are more cameras at games covering every conceivable angle, instant slow motion replays are available instantaneously. More and more “experts” are giving their “considered” analysis on the replays which are shown repetitively.

    Those improvements in technology place the referee’s in instant jeopardy, they can be proven wrong at the touch of a replay button whereas they had to make the decision in the blink of an eye.

    I am a firm believer in technology being made available to the official’s. The cause of most of the arguments could be eliminated if the game was stopped after certain decisions are made and the decision is reviewed by a panel who can only overturn the decision if they see irrefutable evidence of an error.

    I agree with RC78’s ideas on reviews.

    1. Penalty or no penalty
    2. Red card or no red card
    3. Goal or no goal

  30. Rasp says:

    Its like dogs 🙂 …. there’s no such thing as bad technology – just bad use of technology.

    I don’t see that the quality of rugby officiating has declined – by my limited experience I would say it has improved.

  31. Rasp says:

    Well said GN5


    I once sent a girl a love letter by pigeon Rasp.

    I didnt receive a reply, but did notice a few days later she had switched from vegiterian to meat eater

  33. Rasp says:

    😆 that can have its advantages Terry

  34. Shard, “only sees it once and at such high speed” is not an excuse, it’s a reason and it’s part and parcel of the game.

    How boring football is going to be in your technological Utopia. No disputes, no disagreements, no excitement just twenty two overpaid prima-donnas finding ever more ways to outwit the TV monitors.

    If that’s the future, it’s not something I’d ever pay to see either live or on the box.


    You will all be sorry when Crooks makes bulging eyes and speaking in a fake accent compulsory


    hahaha, not in my case Rasp. These days our feathered friends get a lot more plucking than I do.

  37. GunnerN5 says:

    If the reviews were used only for Red Cards, Goals and Penalty’s then I can’t see the game being held up for too long. I would far sooner have a correct result than have an iffy (Man U type) decision determine the result.

  38. Rasp says:

    Hi NG, sorry to butt in on your discussion with Shard. I don’t think we need to use technology for everything – maybe just the incidences that GN5 has listed. I also don’t think that the level of technology introduced to rugby has spoiled the game as a spectacle.

    Football is a mutimillion pound business. It is possible that a team could be relegated on the strength of an incorrect decision that technology would have corrected.

  39. Shard says:


    “technological Utopia”

    You are mistaken if you think that’s what I am arguing for. There is not going to be a utopia. Referees will still make mistakes. Referees will also still be influenced by the media, the players, managers, or more sinister external influences. None of that will go away and there will still be disagreements.

    But I for one do not think the game experience is enhanced by ‘controversies’, which is code for rubbish decisions. I want to see games, and seasons, decided through the correct decision. Only in football do fans seem to think wrong decisions are not only acceptable, but almost desirable. I think efforts should be made (within reason) to arrive at the correct decision and today (for many years actually) it is possible to do something about many of the incorrect decisions that take place with regularity.

    Technology is not a dirty word. It will not kill the game, or take away excitement, as long as it is properly used.


    Ok, what about Edin Hazard? For me the geezer dives all the time by sticking his leg into his unwanted leg into an opponent.

    When I watch match of the day pundits analyse the incidents they always come to split opinions.

    Technology is not going to erase wrong decisions, its just going to end up with us wanting to beat up those who decide the review and make poor old Shard believe that Harrison Ford is the antichrist and plans to nick all his money.

  41. C’mon Rasp and Shard, do you really think that after introducing technology to sort out the Penalty or no penalty, Red card or no red card, Goal or no goal situation the powers that be, at the behest of the media etc, will be able to resist adding a few more categories to the list?

    As to Rugby not being spoilt for the fan attending the match, go and stand in the crowd where the ref’s deliberations with the TMO are not available to them, they are kept entirely in the dark as to what is being looked at and why.

  42. GunnerN5 says:

    Terry, But if the on pitch decision can only be overturned by an expert officiating panel who have irrefutable evidence of an incorrect decision then I see no problem.

  43. GunnerN5 says:

    Norfolk, If crowd saw the evidence or heard the deliberations then all hell would break loose if they still did not agree.


    I dont trust these “experts” GN5. All they will be doing is giving an opinion.

    OK, I see your point about nailed on mistakes which say 99% would agree with, such as Lehmans wrongful dismissal in the Champions League final, the geezer dived, but these nailed on incidents are a lot rarer than those that substantially split opinion.

  45. GunnerN5 says:


    It would be a huge step forward if we were able to eliminate just the obvious errors.

  46. Realistic Romantic says:

    Reblogged this on A Bucket Full of Arsenal.


    Come on GN5, look it from my point of view. For the last 10 years I have blamed bad luck and referees for the reason we havent won the league

    The gullible and easily influenced usually come round to my line of excuses, but if you remove the bad decisions element this will leave me in a very tricky position.

    The only option remaining would be to moan to thick Totnums fans and traffic wardens.

  48. Shard says:


    Firstly, if you can get technology to work for other decisions too without compromising the game too much, there would be nothing wrong with it.

    At this point (and for many more years), it’s about striking a balance. Other sports have been able to ‘resist’ and make technology work to improve the ref’s decision making. Hockey does it, basketball does it, rugby does it. They still have incorrect calls. Sometimes commentators don’t agree with the call made after review. sometimes they change the review rules to make them work better etc but on the whole there are obvious errors which are being cut out, and this is good for the game.

  49. Shard says:

    I have no money terry 😦

    But, Harrison Ford as antichrist? I’d watch that movie. As long as it’s nothing like the 4th Indiana Jones.

  50. GN5, where do we find sufficient expert panels to decide the disputes, how long are they allowed to discuss what they can see on the video and who decides on the cases where the evidence is not irrefutable?

  51. GunnerN5 says:

    Terry, You are just priceless………………..

  52. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thank you GN5

    Tricky subject for me as I despise referees so much. Anyone who has ever aspired to authority or to wear a black uniform is probably a paedophile, and if not, will certainly have a very unsavoury internet history.

  53. Shard says:

    No panels. The problem is of accountability. The ref should get to make the decision, and he should have to explain his reasoning for making the decision based on the evidence.

  54. Shard, technology doesn’t improve the on-field official’s decision making, it takes it away completely.

  55. Shard says:

    No. It’s a safety net. Not a crutch.

  56. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh sorry, and it’s a NO to more technology for me.

    It will happen in time I’m sure, as it’ll allow a faceless mob to control results or something, and anyway, I’ve watched it in Rugby and it’s pants. The hold up’s and so on.

  57. GunnerN5 says:


    1. It would require the training of a group in the use of technology, perhaps ex referees would be a good choice. It may take a year to introduce the process.
    2. It should only take a couple of minutes at most to make the decision – in the case of a clear cut decision it would be almost immediate.
    3. They should be allowed to see all camera angles.
    4. The on pitch decision prevails if the panel cannot find clear evidence to overturn it.


    Sorry to hear that Guru Shard

    I would just like to put on public record, I know my current estranged wife reads this site waiting for me to slip up, the following

    I have no money or tangible assets of any value what so ever. I have recently been forced to contact Bob Geldof about the possibility of “TMHT aid” (as long as Bono dosnt participate), and am currently in negotiations with debt collector ‘left fisted Fred’, on the most convenient way for me to receive a severe beating.

    Hope thats clear.

  59. Shard says:

    If a referee gets too many calls wrong he should be out of a job anyway. Will this mean he is unlikely to overturn his own bad calls on review? Possibly. But this is where technology is not to blame. It is humans and whoever is in charge has to ensure fairness. Like I said, that problem won’t go away completely. Other measures, including getting the best referees from Europe, increasing the number of referees, increasing transparency etc are important. Technology is not a panacea. It is simply a tool which if used correctly will help cut down on errors.

  60. MickyDidIt89 says:


    “It should only take a couple of minutes at most to make the decision”

    Very easy for teams to abuse the system and take a “time out”

    Can you imagine a Maureen side abusing it. 1-0 up. Five to go and the oppo are getting increasingly fluid and building a head of steam.

    No sorry, defo not for me.

  61. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok, back to my hard unearned day off.

  62. RockyLives says:

    Very interesting stuff GN5

    A couple of things come to mind: one, the officials get it wrong so often that I find myself thinking that it must be an impossible job: to make correct calls in an instant in a game with so many moving parts may just be beyond the wit of man. And it’s got worse over the years because the game is now so much faster.

    But, two, I thought for the most part the standard of the refereeing in the World Cup was exceptionally good and certainly much higher than what we are used to in the Prem. In particular they seemed to get all the offside calls right, which is certainly not the case in our domestic league (just look at our away game at Man City last season if you don’t believe me!).

    So what conclusions can we draw?

    That our home grown officials are not as good as international ones?

    Or maybe that the WC brought together the “best of the best” of officialdom from throughout the world?

    I honestly don’t know the answer.

    I would certainly favour post-facto video scrutiny to punish players who are seen to have deliberately attempted to fool the officials in any way, whether by diving, feigning injury etc.

  63. GunnerN5 says:

    It’s a very touchy subject Rocky that really divides opinions. I’ve long been an advocate of the use of technology and I’m confident that it will be used but maybe not in my life time.

    My understanding is that It’s currently used by the referee’s – but only in post game reviews.

  64. Retrospective video evidence would stop a lot of this malarky

  65. GunnerN5 says:

    Rocky – I agree with you on the World Cup officiating it was excellent. I also agree with using referee’s from other European nations. Using only a handful of British officials in the PL can and probably does create a situation where familiarity causes unintended bias.

  66. GunnerN5 says:

    NB. diving has only become prevalent in the last 20-ish years when I was a youngster it was unheard of – the players wanted to be thought of as men and not pansies. Retrospective punishment should be used to nail the perpetrators.

  67. jnyc says:

    GN5, I’d list these, which can be achieved:

    Since the refs job in real time is so difficult ( we see multiple replay angles, slow motion, and somegimes still disagree) — i say the fa should implement an agressive retroactive review board. On mondays, clubs can submit incidents like the push on debuchy, rooneys kick outs, things like that. Serious punishments and bans, huge fines for the clubs and players would slow down the mischief. This takes some pressure off refs. It shouldnt matter if refs saw or took action at the time. Thats why it’s called re view.. its to assist refs, or bill it as that.

    On rotational fouling, should be identified as a problem that slows the game and a creative way to deal with it. Not like simple fouls and yellows where refs like to show both teams to keep it even, but hitting the team that’s clearly slowing down and clog the flow of the match. Have ex forward players as a part of a committee that takes retro action against teams that employ it. Maybe adding a team yellow that goes toward all the teams accumulated ones that lead to bans. Just a thought.

    They need not fear technology, since the goal line tech has been brilliant so far. Offsides is much trickier to deal with, because its hard to fix mistakes in either direction. If you award a goal, one team will say they stopped playing. But a goal disallowed later is easier, but could be very important.

    Most of the retro action im suggesting gives added time, views, angles and consideration, all things that refs really dont have, which makes their job so difficult to do well, accurately, and fairly. Wont solve all problems, but will make bad behavior less prevalent.

  68. Big Raddy says:

    What about giving two reviews to a manager to use during the game like they do in cricket.

    Make a correct call and the reviews are carried over, incorrect and you lose your review.

    The television cameras are there and the decision can be made by the 4th official – without showing it on the big screens at the grounds.

  69. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy,

    I am not in favour of the ‘manager’s review’ system. Two reasons, 1. they really can’t see what’s going on further away by standing at pitch level; and 2. it would open the door for tactical reviews to slow the game or maybe to give an injured player time to recover etc.

    Far better the referee gives his decisions during the game but all the while, other officials are watching the action on screens. Say the ref blows his whistle for a penalty / goal / red card and halts play. He is miked up and linked to the video officials. It takes two seconds to say to the video officials “I am planning to give a penalty”, they either agree straight away and no time is lost or they ask him to wait a few seconds whilst they review the situation to ensure he is making the right decision.

    All the ref needs to do is to indicate that a decision is being reviewed. There would be no point in the players barracking him as he is awaiting confirmation. I don’t believe the time taken for such a process would be any longer than the circus that surrounds the ref when defenders are contesting a penalty decision. The difference is now, that on most occasions, the correct decision will be made.

  70. RC78 says:

    BR – this is what I said earlier. One challenge per half per coach and only on three matters:

    – PK or no PK
    – Red card or no Red Card
    – Goal or no Goal

    4th official is in charge of it through his own screen…

    These are game-changing decisions so it would be good for the game and yet, the coaches will have to challenge wisely…

  71. Big Raddy says:

    RC. Sorry – didn’t remember your fine proposal. I blame many years of alcohol abuse.

    Rasp. That would work.

  72. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp I agree completely with your 4:51 comment.

    RC78 I would prefer the reviews to be automatic with the managers not getting any challenge privileges.

  73. RA says:

    Well done, GN5, 🙂

    It is easy to forget that refs are just humans and inevitably will make mistakes. Some make fewer mistakes because of experience (?) or because they are smarter. I do not know.

    And that last sentence sums it up for me, I do not know what makes some people better at any given thing than other people.

    Of course there will be some who will tell you that they know everything that is wrong with refs, from conspiracy to enable Club A to win the Premiership, or prevent Club B from winning, to poor management of the officials, or lack if fitness etc, and I will leave them to tell us ‘don’t knows’.

    Technology seems a tempting solution to the refereeing malaise, but I listened with interest to some ex-players who discussing that subject insisted that they were the ones to for a ‘Tech Panel’ to make swift decisions on diving, the severity of a tackle etc, but one of them said he had watched a replay of an incident over and over again, and still did not know if it was a dive, and the others agreed,

    They then later discussed whether a foul warranted a sending off or not, and simply could not unanimously agree despite different camera angles and copious replays.

    So — they are ‘Don’t Knows’ either.

    I get mad at refs sometimes (usually when Arsenal are involved) but the rational part of my brain tells me we are too hard on refs, because a limited ref is just……and erring human being.

    Let me explain. I gave a lecture some years ago, and stood on a stage and told the audience that if I made an error they should shout ‘horse feathers’ [I think I have told this story before] 🙂 and the result was that we had some fun it what would otherwise have been a rather heavy couple of hours.

    At lunch, one of the attendees, said he had enjoyed the lecture, whereas he had been dreading having to sit thru’ it, and was kind enough to say I made it look so easy. Another guy said that with all due respect it was easy for me because I had the audience’s attention and they were just being polite.

    A month later he attended a training class for managers where they each had to speak, on a stage, in front of the other managers.
    Now this guy was actually very accomplished in his work, but once he got in front of a crowd he completely buggered up his presentation, and later apologised (unnecessarily) to me for his earlier comment.

    The point of the story? Well like this guy who really knew his stuff, refs can know all the relevant rules, but under pressure the brain can seize up in front of an audience and they can make catastrophic mistakes, and as they are instant and irrevocable, they can be calamitous.

    Why irrevocable? Well have you ever seen a ref change a major decision – for a penalty, or a sending off? Maybe, but that is as rare as hen’s teeth.

    Finally, an example. Do you remember Graham Poll, reputedly the best English referee at the time, fluffing his lines at a WC when he gave 3 yellow cards and still did not send a Croatian off.

    Was it because he was iffy with the rules? No, of course not.
    Was it because he was corruptly favouring one team over the other? Again, no, of course not.
    Why, to his personal embarrassment and shame in front of TV millions watching around the world did he do it?

    It’s the human thing — the brain can randomly cease up in front of an audience.

    Give refs a break. They have always got some things wrong, since time immemorial, but they have also got most things right, and football has gone on perfectly well despite that.

    Don’t listen to the smart asses who know everything and imply that if they were refs they would never make mistakes. Hogwash. 🙂

  74. RA says:

    The above was rushed as I am on my way out, and I apologise for the spelling and grammatical errors — fluffing my lines?

    Yep, I am only huming. 🙂

  75. RA says:

    Hi, jnyc, 🙂

    Sorry to have missed you yesterday.

    I think your 3:57 is an excellent call. Works for me. 🙂

  76. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening all, Nice topical post N5.
    The officiating in my mind is worse than it has ever been, and as you said yesterday conspiracy theories on corruption is usually only against your own club, or words to that effect, I pondered on what you said, and in the end i feel you may have a point, so i will lay off of that for the time being.

    I do however believe that what looks like bad refereeing decisions are often caused by changing rules, Offside used to be clear cut, a man in an offside position was classed offside. Changing the rule to what it is now, has left the decision solely to the officials a referee can either give it or not give it and that is where the problem is, No clear cut rule will always cause friction.

    Another of course is what constitutes a foul, wrestling a player to the ground inside the box for corners or free kicks are often allowed to happen with no penalties, but of course that is still up to a referee to say yey or ney I see that as a foul, but every week i see it happen and no foul, if referee’s are not prepared to give these decisions i feel they should explain to supporters why not, just to make the rule clear.

    Hand ball is also a good one, when is handball handball, Again the referee interprets whether a player has handled deliberately or intentional, why not clarify the rule by saying any ball that strikes the hand is handball, after all that is the only part of the body the rules state that you cannot use.

    Rules need to be clear Referee’s although i do believe are biased will never improve decisions when the rules are not clear,

  77. chas says:

    Cheers, GN5.
    As you said yesterday, your post ties in with the Stoke thug debate.

    A definite ‘no’ to more officials. The CL ones should be abolished forthwith.

    Also ‘no’ to the use of technology during a game. As has been said, it’s too subjective and would become tedious. The FA already do certain reviews after the event and still nobody understands the decisions they come up with.

    A definite ‘no’ to managers having challenges. They would be used for the wrong reasons.

    I voted for the refereeing standards being much the same as last season – a similar level of ineptitude.

    I blame the players and managers to a large extent. Players are encouraged to con the ref all the time. It must be almost impossible to referee spotlessly when no-one can make their mind up about fouls and diving even after watching umpteen different angled replays.

  78. GunnerN5 says:

    Just spoke with Kelsey, he`s still feeling a bit under the weather but I hope he can give us the wisdom of his comments very soon.

  79. stevepalmer1 says:

    Sorry to hear your still under the weather Kelsey, get well soon mate.

  80. RockyLives says:

    You make a good point about the fact that when an “offence” becomes more discretionary it can cause more problems (e.g. the changes to the offside rule).

    Before the offside rule change, Song’s volleyed effort against us in the West Ham game would have been a very non-controversial offside: a couple of Hammers were in offside positions – no brainer.

    However, because of the newly introduced discretionary element, Fat Sam could huff and puff about how the goal should have been given and all the pundits could give different interpretations.

    Not sure what we do about it though 🙂

    I like RC’s “review” idea if it’s limited to just those specific cases he mentioned.

  81. RockyLives says:

    Feel better soon my friend. Your perceptive prose is much missed.

  82. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi RA, great comments – as per usual.

    I really believe that the vilification of referee`s is over the top, they are just human beings like us and are prone to making human mistakes.

    I am not naive enough to think that they do not show bias towards certain players or teams – as it must be awfully tempting to make decisions in favour of your favourites – but one can only hope that it`s a very small percentage of the time.

  83. GunnerN5 says:

    The offside rule confuses everyone and that makes it a poor revision. If it ain`t broken ……………….

  84. RockyLives says:

    Incidentally, I voted the same as Chas – refereeing standards seem to be much of a muchness in the Premier League.

    I’m sure out perception that standards have worsened is partly because we can now see every single controversial incident from multiple camera angles.

    Back in the day, many would not even be televised and those that were were often from only one angle, so it was impossible to tell whether the ref’s call was right or wrong.

    As for goal line technology – good job they didn’t have it in 1966 🙂

  85. fatgingergooner says:

    Winston Reid not in West Ham squad tonight. I wonder if a club has put a bid in?

  86. GunnerN5 says:

    Jenkinson and a quid would be a good trade for Reid…………..

  87. GunnerN5 says:

    Rocky back in the dark ages it was close to impossible to determine if a player was offside – as you point out the only camera was typically at midfield and you only got a rear view. Plus the pitches were so muddy it was difficult to visualize a straight line across the ground.

    I favoured the old rule where any player was offside if you could see light between him and the last defender.

  88. stevepalmer1 says:

    When i hear the term not interfering with play but there are three players in offside positions, how can that be, when defenders are playing them offside

  89. Big Raddy says:

    Sorry to go against the flow but refs are not humans like us.

    The only friends they have are other refs and they have to buy wives from Russian mail order catalogues. They have no internal organs and thankfully can’t reproduce.

  90. GunnerN5 says:

    But Raddy from what I read they can always reproduce bad decisions against Arsenal.

  91. fatgingergooner says:

    Good shout GN5. If Jenks is on the market then a swap for someone like Reid would make sense.

  92. Gööner In Exile says:

    Always late to the party these days so don’t get a chance for a good debate.

    The inherent problem with video replays and the laws of the game is the line in the Laws which says “in the opinion of the referee”. So it is not a matter of fact or otherwise it is a matter of opinion, and the referees word is final.

    The goal line decision system has made that easier for officials to get right and it is a godsend, and the only real further enhancements would be from a similar system all round the pitch, how easy would that be to implement I have no idea, but a system as quick as the goalline decision system would be necessary. I don’t like the idea of challenges from managers, it could easily be used to disrupt the game.

    I don’t like the idea of fouls being judged by video evidence either. Three pundits can see a incident in multiple replays and still there is no unanimous verdict.

    For me there should be one major change in disciplinary system that would help the refs.

    3 game ban for diving. This can and should be used after the event, so video replays show clear dive three game ban whether it was spotted during the match or not. This should also include players initiating the contact.

    It seems the FA have rescinded a number of red cards this year so I assume they have finally read the law book and seen that they can overturn a decision where there has been a clear error whether the ref saw it or not.

    Like Raddy I’d like to see bookings for players showing dissent, waving imaginary cards, and for holding at set pieces, I think this could all be post game of the ref does not take action during the game.

  93. Gööner In Exile says:

    Actually one of the problems of today’s refs in my opinion is the attempt at being friendly with players.

    Look at most games refereed by Collina and look at the way the players very rarely got in his face, because 99 times out of 100 he was spot on, and the players showed him respect because of it.

    I do think players are as much to blame as refs for making the game hard to officiate. I also think too many laws have been revised to take away the doubt or confusion but we end up with the situation where every time the ball hits a players hand and his hands are away from his body it’s a penalty, which then results in defenders trying to defend with their hands behind their back.

  94. GunnerN5 says:


    I`ve always respected your opinion but I`m surprised that you would not be in favour of at least automatic reviews of Penalty`s and Red Cards.

  95. GunnerN5 says:

    10 man Everton 2-1 up on West Ham in extra time.

  96. chas says:

    Penalties at the Boleyn.

  97. chas says:

    Two Michael Owen classics.
    The second one with Pochettino’s face is priceless.

  98. chas says:

    Brilliant pens.
    Jenks blasted his and hit the inside of the roof of the net.
    The Everton goalie who was trying to wind every West Ham player up hit the bar. 🙂

  99. omgarsenal says:

    I am a retired professional referee and am astounded at the paucity of competence and poor officiating displayed so far this season:

    Are we being fair to the officials? Way too tolerant….we need a complete review of the PGMOL ANd its leadership, as well as officiating standards across the board.
    Has the standard really dropped? I cannot honestly speak to that before 2001 when I began following the Arsenal but since riley took over the PGMOL, things have definitely declined.
    Were there as many complaints back in the day? I don’t know but it seems there are increasing every year?
    Do the referees favour particular teams? Just ask SAF if Manu got preferential treatment at Old Trafford…ever hear of Fergie time?
    Has technology altered our opinion of officiating? It should have but the dinosaurs in the Fa and the press as well as the PGMOL refuse to acknowledge the reality of technology in sport…long live the 19th century!
    Should instant replays be allowed on the ground’s big screens? Not necessarily…but definitely video refereeing reviews and goal-line technology are essential.
    Should the number of game officials be increased? Absolutely, we need tonot only increase the numbers b y at least 25% but also allow foreign officials to officiate in the EPL. It would improve the game considerably. Some teams have had the same referee 6-7 times so far this season, including Arsenal!
    Should the officials be given more tools/help? there are kissues of fitness, application of the Laws, tolerance of serious foul play etc. that need to be addressed. As well they need better leadership and their morales boosted b y some positive assistance.
    Are the rules too complex? They could use a complete review and maybe a simplification here and there but more urgently they need to be interpreted uniformly and consistently and that is FIFA’s major failure as well as the PGMOL’s.
    Should managers be able to challenge decisions? Yes, like in many other sports where the teams can appeal a decision or decisions in each half…..would go a long way to correcting many injustices and possible bias.

  100. Gööner In Exile says:

    GN5 the problem with reviews of penalty decisions is a simple question of when do you stop play, ok this is worse case scenario but not impossible and the sole reason I would be against instant television replays.

    Forward goes down in box ref waves play on, keeper picks up ball rolls it to full back who sets centre forward on counter attack and he scores.

    If the opposition manager uses his challenge when do you stop game? There are times when the ball won’t go dead for some time. Rugby, American Football etc have far more natural breaks in play/dead ball.

    What if the ball doesn’t go out of play for two minutes, does that time get added on, and the clock reset to when the original decision was given?

  101. MickyDidIt89 says:


    I’m sorry for my juvenile contribution yesterday. Truth is, your post had me really thinking for the rest of the day.

    I remain dead against video technology during the game, but have been convinced by some comments that retrospective use should be more frequent.

    More than anything, I base most of these opinions on the fact that there is so much cheating in football (managers, fans as well as players all trying to con the ref) that you don’t get in say rugby, therefore if technology could be used to really deal with cheating, the game would be better off.

  102. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Eddie

    Bit tired, as I’ve been up all night thinking.

    Astrophysics is something of a passion for me, and the time lapse continuation variable that must exist between the constellations Camelopardalis and Canes Venatici is something that has fascinated me for quite some time now.

    Perhaps I could pop round sometime and discuss.

    Must hop off now, pet rabbits to feed.

  103. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh, and I could wear full arsenal kit if that helps

  104. chas says:


  105. chas says:

    Finally got to watch the Who vid from yesterday. It made me start looking for The Jam videos as Pete Townsend was one of Paul Weller’s guitar heroes.

    Micky, did you watch the Clash New Years day 1977 vid?

  106. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Soooo easy

    Like women 🙂

  107. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bugger, no forgot. I will later.

    Pete Townsend. Yip, that was some performance. Saw him join The Clash for four encores at a Brighton gig in ’79’ish.

  108. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Fan of The Jam, definitely, but no-one “did” the guitar thing like Townsend.

    Here’s another from the same gig I showed yesterday. Watch the master

  109. chas says:

  110. chas says:

  111. chas says:

  112. Gööner In Exile says:

    I am off to see The Who at Hyde Park this year, being supported by Paul Weller, Johnny Marr and Kaiser Cheifs.

  113. chas says:

  114. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ha ha ha

    There’s going to be an ‘effing queue of geezers round Eddie’s this morning all clutching bunnies. Real ones, dead ones, live ones, stuffed ones…who cares, they all count and you’re IN 🙂

  115. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok Chas, I think we’ve covered all angles. Space, Santi, Bunnies 🙂

    I’ll go get her


  116. MickyDidIt89 says:

    That is sooo not going to work NB 🙂

  117. Morning my furry friends 🙂
    What a bloody good debate on refs and technology, thanks GN5.

    Apparently the FA won’t be taking any action against rhe Stoke No 10 because the ref has said he saw nothing wrong with the push.

  118. MickyDidIt89 says:

    smooth, very very smooth 🙂

    Eddie is going to be so turned on when she gets here this morning

  119. Micky

    I like to make life as challenging as possible 🙂

  120. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Apologies for talking football, but the FA never take action do they? What about the pic of that Stoke player grabbing Sanchez in the last game

    The whole debate is very interesting, but while you have the FA run by wets, the game will remain as is.

  121. Nacked Rabbit porn

  122. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Maybe Rasp got round there with a Bunny pre motning session.
    Little snake 🙂

  123. OK enough of the football talk, it’s still not 9am 🙂

    If the FA should ever have taken action against violent play, then the Charlie Adam strangle hold was it………… but as you said, the FA is a load of tools.

  124. chas says:

    You can’t beat a bit of early morning Bunny.

  125. For the girlie DM wearer

  126. Rabbit Porn, Crack of the Day

  127. Eddie

    I’m really trying with the bunny thing….. have I melted your heart yet 🙂

  128. Gööner In Exile says:

    According to reports the club are offering Chuba Akpom a new deal.

  129. arnie says:

    Apols GN5, apols everyone, knot ear at all. 😦

    Anyway, great stuff GN5. 🙂 I voted “Worse than last season” and I really believe this to be the case. However, for me the bigger problem lies elsewhere.

    Refs in the EPL are too lenient on criminal violence, and by being so, is taking English football back to the dark ages of WWE. Sad. 😦

  130. Bring back the Rack 🙂

  131. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Love the Jam vids and the Who but those rabbit pics are enough to turn me back to vegetarianism. I was a veggie for 11years following a visit to an abattoir.


  132. Big Raddy says:

    BTW. The Who concert which has graced the blog over the past couple of days was Keith Moon’s last before his tragic death. The man was a shadow of the drummer he had been in his youth.

    And Mr Townshend is clearly under the influence of an extreme dose of amphetamines.

    Brilliant performance though

  133. Big Raddy says:

    Remember dancing to the Max Romeo track many, many years ago … Here is another to tap the feet to.

  134. Shard says:


    I was disturbed by the rabbit photos too. But not as disturbed as I was upon realising that I might be a closet hippy. 😛

    Good morning.

  135. Big Raddy says:

    Morning Shard.

    Nothing wrong with being a hippy apart from the smell and the awful clothes.

    Try a gong bath or a green tea massage followed by some chanting and then a leisurely horizontal romp in a teepee. One thing great about hippies is their open and enthusiastic attitude to sex.

  136. Shard says:

    Much transfer talk today. Micky will be pleased. Unusually, it’s gotten me hooked too since I can actually see some logic behind the rumours. Mostly that they are all midfielders, and we know how Arsene loves midfielders. 🙂

    Also of course that Arteta, Flamini, Diaby, Coquelin, and even Rosicky all have 6-18 months left on their contracts with us,

    There’s supposedly bids made for Ilkay Gundogan, and Marcelo Brozovic. Who would be virtually replacements/successors to Arteta and Rosicky. Then we’re supposedly in talks with Carvalho’s agent, and the Schneiderlin link hasn’t gone completely away. The last is the most likely, in that we’re about to sign 17 year old, 6 foot 2 DM from Poland called Krystian Bielik.

  137. Eddie says:

    cannot see photos 😦 Just a grey exclamation mark, are they that bad?

  138. Shard says:

    That’s true Raddy. But with the smell and lack of hair removal, you might as well do it with an alpaca 😀

  139. Morning all

    Just checking in briefly to say we have a fews days to fill before our next game so offers of posts will be gratefully received.

  140. Big Raddy says:

    Shard. Each to his own 😀

  141. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. Hope whatever is ailing you is improving.

  142. Eddie says:

    blimey, west ham won after 9:8 thriller, I am sorry I didn’t see the game

  143. Eddie says:

    Raddy re Peaches – do you think she is a hippy?

    oooh, the pugs 🙂 sweetest creatures on earth, thank you monster

    nb – no idea as to why you would want to charm me, seriously. I am definitely not what you need, trust me 🙂

    can anybody give me a clue for a post and I will try to write something?

  144. poigmothoin says:

    Eddie re NB, your female and a challenge? 🙂

  145. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. I seem to recall Peaches soaked in pachouli oil perfume!

    If I could think of a post I would write it

  146. Eddie says:

    poig 🙂 silly nb, what a complete waste of his time 🙂

  147. Yvonne,

    Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely 🙂

  148. Eddie says:

    nb – do you want to bet?

    Peaches – I have an idea for a post, but have no time. Will try for tomorrow.

  149. Here’s a possible post Peaches, trying to help out here: Just copy and paste if you think it’s a goer

    All the Kings horses and all the Kings men….

    Abou Diaby, the glass man who cannot be put back together again. Every time he seems to get fit to play, we hear that he is injured again. There are those who are romantics and think the club are doing the honourable thing by keeping him on the books, paying his wage and hoping that one day he will play again. Alternatively, there are those who believe he should be sold and a place will be made for a new player to come in.

    It is a tragic case I know, none of us want to be seen as heartless, but the reality is that he is taking up valuable space in the team. It has come to the point where questions have to be asked about the feasibility of his tenure at the club and the financial consequences. Should we keep him or should he be sold? What, in the best interests of the player and the club, is the answer?

  150. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Bloody hell Eddie

    Up all night wondering how best to play my cards and zero response.

    Might have another go in the morning anyway 🙂

  151. Despite my poor attempts Micky, at least I get a response… even if its a negative one… 🙂

  152. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Pathetic attempts, I thought, NB. Couldn’t even be bothered to play the Space Card 🙂

  153. MickyDidIt89 says:

    ps I think your post is a good one, so won’t comment in case it gets posted.

  154. Pathetic attempts they are indeed micky, I don’t generally have such a tough time charming the doc martens off a bird, and normally I have a great deal of success with the hairy armpit ones 🙂

  155. Here’s my SpaceCard

  156. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “The hairy armpit ones”

    Yikes. What I refer to as gentlemen.

  157. No micky, I meant the feminists 🙂

  158. Eddie says:

    oh micky, I am so sorry, I missed your fabulous comments 🙂 🙂
    You are in 🙂 I cannot resist a full kit 🙂

    I still remember when you proposed that we have an early morning , dressed in full kits in the square that used to be Highbury 🙂

  159. Well there you go micky, you’re in mate. Just goes to prove that being a creep works 🙂

  160. Just checking ………………..

  161. MickyDidIt89 says:


  162. The Cockie Monster says:

    How many ways can you cook a bunny ?.
    I`m betting Eddie is a specialist at boiling them !. . 😀

  163. …………… gonna nick nb’s comment, thank you kind sir 😉

  164. MickyDidIt89 says:


    I’ll book the Travelodge immediately. No expense spared 🙂

  165. I’m just wondering what Eddie means by a ‘full kit’ 🙂

  166. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hardly any concern of yours now, is it NB.

    Loser 🙂

  167. …………… New Post everyone ………………………..

  168. ha ha micky

    When Eddie gets her knuckle dusters on I pity you…. makes me glad to be a loser 🙂

  169. MickyDidIt89 says:


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