The Man in Black

World Cup 2018. The England team, despite playing some of the most boring football since Mourinho arrived at MU, did well.  Who were missing? PL referees, that’s who.

I love football, always have, and football is a game of rules, rules which have to be adhered to and judged by a referee. He has a very important role in the sport (as do his linesmen). A crap ref can ruin a game and frequently does, a good one is rarely noticed.

This season we have seen some of the worst refereeing performances I can recall.


It is not an easy job, they run huge distances making snap decisions without recourse to VAR (more later). This requires a skill level few of us can match. And it doesn’t help that players spend hours thinking about how to fool the ref to their advantage.

Players cheat. Almost all of them. How often do we see a player running with the ball into the penalty area with a defender chasing only to see the attacker slow down forcing the defender to touch him? Penalty. This is blatant cheating and almost impossible for the referee to identify. Salah is an expert, so is Sterling and so was Bobby Pires.

Some of the refs are pedants, perhaps it is a requirement for the job, after all they are Onanists in the Black :-D. Some are narcissists, some are wannabee bullies (if you haven’t seen the film Kes, I recommend, the football scene).


I can immediately think of two methods to improve the standard:

  1. The PL is International with players from all over the globe. There is enough money in the PL, even for teams in the relegation zone, to attract the world’s best players. Why do we only have UK refs? Surely it makes sense to bring in the highest rated referees, wherever they come from. Referees are professional and the PL can afford the best
  2. VAR.  Think of cricket. Is it improved by the use of technology? Of course it is. But it took time for the tech gremlins to be sorted out and the same will happen with football. There will be disputes, there will be mistakes but eventually it will work. Perhaps it will be to the detriment of the attending fans who do not have access to TV screens but I am sure this can be resolved, it has been in every other sport especially in American Football.

It is no good complaining about the standards, words will not change anything, only action helps and these poor sods need help. Investment is needed, technology is needed,  a change in punishment of cheating is needed, though this is more difficult as it requires the authorities to prove intention.

Or do we keep things as they are and enjoy the lambasting of the poor chap in the middle? There is a gratifying unity when the whole crowd sing “You don’t know what you’re doing” or “the referee’s an onanist”.  It wouldn’t work so well with VAR, would it?

written by Big Raddy


33 Responses to The Man in Black

  1. Maxwell says:

    Morning, BR. Thanks for a controversial topic to start the day. I particularly like the idea of employing referees from around the globe.

    However, it’s unlikely to happen while the current PGMO set-up is allowed to continue. It is run as a secretive organisation, which makes decisions and appointments without any checks and balances from outside. At the moment it is Mike Riley’s plaything, but when he retires, he’ll hand it on to whoever’s nose is brownest.

    Overseas refs? It would be good to have a few from outside the North-West monopoly for a start. And more refs, so they never have to adjudicate a team more than twice a season (once home, once away).

    And since they claim to be 99% accurate (without having to publish statistics to support their assertion), it’s going to be difficult to persuade anyone that they could do with assistance!

  2. LBG says:

    Thanks BR
    In order to want to be a referee you need to be a failed human, with no friends or family, and imbued with a one eyed, dictator complex.
    Such miscreants will always be the rule and only VAR will improve some of the injustices, together with public flogging!

  3. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy, thanks for highlighting the constant problem … refs have inherent bias whether knowingly or subliminally. I know all supporters think that the ref is biased against their team, but our continuing ridiculously low win stats under some referees compared to the average can only be a result of ‘attitude’ on the part of the referee. I don’t think foreign refs would be of that mind set … so I’m all for your suggestion.

    I have long been an advocate of technology in football precisely because it would negate some of that inherent bias. Refs are human. they are affected by the media like all of us. Vincent Company should have had a straight red card the other day… but as they observed in the studio …. they don’t think ‘he’s that kind of player’ … it’s that sort of perpetuated drivel tht the experts spout that perpetuates bad practice. It’s the same foul whether it is committed by Mother Theresa or Goebbels … and should always receive the same punishment.

    VAR can’t come soon enough for me. It will fundamentally change the way players conduct themselves and hopefully cut out the idea that the rules apply differently inside the penalty area. Here’s an example … if a defender wrestles with a player in the box, more often than not the ref won’t call a foul … anywhere else on the pitch and its a foul. Conversely if a striker has minimal contact (sometimes only the threat of contact) in the box it’s a penalty .. again elsewhere on the pitch a foul is less likely to be called.

    Lastly (apologies for the rant … I’ve got time on my hands) …. the idea that if the ref sees something and maybe gives a yellow it can’t be reviewed later. This means that if the ref sees it he must have got it right … WRONG!! … refs often appear to see something but replays will prove that the yellow should have been a red .. or even that he’s booked the wrong player … rant over 🙂

  4. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. I completely agree about retrospective punishment and would have added it to the post but was unsure of the law/rule.

  5. RC78 says:

    – Carrasco has been approached by Arsenal. He is a decent player although over-rated but he is fast and has a good dribbling and crossing ability. He could be our winger.

    – Miky’s days at Arsenal are counted. I don’t think he will leave before the summer.

    – Suarez may only be available this summer

    – Arsenal also looking at…Dembele and Wanyama…from Spurs

  6. Red Arnie says:

    Thank you Raddy. Thank you Chas and LBG for a few days of great blogging. 🙂

    Unfortunately knot ear, but great to see wonderful debate from old and fresh timers.

    Plenty to say about today’s post, as I suppose most of us have. But no oppertunity at the moment. Will just say one thing.

    The men in black is one of the prime reasons why England and English clubs have languished at the world stage. It is they that have transformed English football into nothing short of glorified war suited only for failed rugby players. I blame their poor culture, poor quality and partisanship. English football cannot improve (WC flash in the pan aside) without a complete overhaul of the MIB war gang.

    I welcome the one prominent woman-in-black Sian Louise Massey-Ellis, MBE.

  7. LBG says:

    £36.2m value for Mustafi! What!!
    Sell him.

  8. fred1266 says:

  9. RC78 says:

    Moussa Dembele off to China for 13M

  10. RA says:

    Well done daddy, a very good and apposite Post given VAR has been used in the FA Cup this season and will be in use again tonight in the Carabou Cup.

    Derision of the referee is something that anyone ‘in authority’ will suffer — and some as Rasper has suggested, seem to have a built in base that they cannot get away from.

    What I find harder to accept, is the mainly ex-Liverpool players who are making a living as co-commentators on TV who are abysmally ignorant of the Laws of the game — and not just the offside Laws.

    How many times have I heard “that’s definitely a foul” (especially where Pool would be the beneficiaries) when The supposed foul has no relationship to the guidelines in the respective Law.

    And the so called professional TV commentator never corrects the ‘guest’, so that leaves the impression the ex-player knows what he is talking about (and often he doesn’t) so it must be the refs fault for not giving the (non-existent) foul.

    Players should be required, as part of their licence to play professional football, to learn and memorise the Laws of the Game, so they do not keep making fools of themselves, either on the pitch, or on TV when they retire.

  11. RA says:

    daddy = Raddy
    base = biase

    (It seems to be a game the spell checker plays with me.)

    How do you turn the thing off? 🥺

  12. fred1266 says:

    I never knew PL on hired English referees, does other leagues higher outside the country?

  13. RC78 says:

    Juventus keen on Ramsey deal in January, offering 10 Mln EUR while Arsenal want 20. Could be sold in Jan for 15 Mln.

  14. RC78 says:

    Inter Milan plotting to build big squad next season and trying to secure the signatures of:
    – Godin
    – Milinkovic-Savic and
    – Modric

    and are ready to sell Perisic to fund the aformentioned moves…

  15. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Fine idea of players having to pass an exam on the Laws before getting a licence.

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Why would Juve buy now? They already have Serie A won. It seems a waste of €15m.

    Inter have buckets of money, as do AC, but they are well below the standard of Juve who have turned Serie A into a Scottish League situation.

    And La Vecchia Signora continue to strengthen

  17. chas says:

    Excellent post, BR, though I was quite looking forward to the ‘Is Emery a tits, legs or arse man?’ one you were promising.

    I flippin hate refs but realise how essential they are.
    Who the feck would we blame for us losing if they weren’t there?

    Still not convinced by VAR, but that’s because it often reinforces decisions refs have made (that I think are shite) by saying that they were correct all along. After all we have more poxy refs controlling VAR screens, don’t we?

    All that crap about, oh yeah, his left litlle toe was definitely in an offside position also winds me up. I preferred the (probably imaginary) days when there had to be ‘daylight’ between the striker and defender for him to be deemed to be seeking an advantage. Defenders have it easy when random body parts are given offside. Less offsides given, more goals would be my way of thinking (Unless they were against us, of course!)

  18. chas says:

    By the way, I had a look, and I’d probably say ‘legs’. 🙂

  19. Big Raddy says:

    Could be all 3!

    I wonder what attracted her to the millionaire Unai Emery Extegoien?

  20. chas says:

    I wonder what attracted her to the millionaire Unai Emery Extegoien?

    Maybe it’s because he likes to make early substitutions if he doesn’t get his first half tactics right?

  21. LBG says:

    Your last is the basis of another post perhaps!
    I understand your scepticism of VAR because it often seems to reinforce the instant decision made by the on field ref. But surely this is because the current rules – say for instance the offside rule, or legal tackling – are so ridiculously obtuse.
    How can the rules be “simplified” to make VAR decisions even easier to be made. Would have a few ideas myself to add to your return to “fresh air gap”. Pie in the sky to get wholesale changes to laws, but perhaps interesting discussion.

  22. Big Raddy says:

    They are showing some of the crowd before kick off at Wembley. You will not be surprised to know that the Spurs end is full of mingers and throwbacks.

    There should be an over 18 rating

  23. chas says:

    “It was the back leg of Cesar Azpilicueta who played Harry Kane on.”

  24. chas says:

    “Another long ball over the top frees Harry Kane, Kepa Arrizabalaga comes flying out and cleans him out, surely?!”

  25. chas says:

    Tottenham penalty controversy: Harry Kane was judged to have been onside

    Looks like Harry Kane’s shoulder is offside to me.

  26. chas says:

    100% 24 carat dive.

  27. LBG says:

    Onside. 100% penalty.

  28. LBG says:

    Totteringham so much better team than Chelski.

  29. chas says:

    Kane drags his foot across the keeper’s thigh .
    100% dive.

  30. omgarsenal says:

    You’ve highlighted the issues with the PGMOL very well but;

    1) The UK has more than sufficient officials to provide much better officiating than they currently have. The PGMOL is unwilling to increase the numbers to 24-28 from the current 17….why?

    2) The PGMOL has successfully resisted VAR,claiming it isn’t perfected yet but that is pure nonsense. VAR is used in 50% of the EUFA countries quite successfully, but it means the PGMOL may be exposed to actual scrutiny of its officials…therein lies the rub!

    3) Officials are human and therefore error-prone. Add to that fact, their strange understanding of the laws and their peculiarly twisted interpretation when dealing with AFC and you have some serious issues to be investigated.

    4) Then there is the potential for corruption, financial manipulation, game fixing in many forms, criminal enterprises or individuals owning clubs, the lax application of fit and proper FA regulations, the archaic and inexplicably entrenched governing bodies, FI ( the EPL,the FA, the sports ministry), FA (corruption personified), EUFA ( its smaller imitating cousin), the secretive PGMOL and powerful owners whose fortunes permit them to influence the beautiful game…..all contributing to a less than healthy atmosphere in Football.

  31. LBG says:

    Laura Wood says Harry Pain has a dog called “Brady”. At least he has one thing right!

  32. chas says:


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