This week in That’s What She Said, I want to talk a little bit about refereeing.
We’ve all been there I’m sure, watching the game, and at vital moment the ref makes a bad call. Or at least what we believe is a bad call, which then ruins the moment, and we are left screaming obscenities We know it’s the same for the “live” spectators because we see them standing and shaking their fists, and we know it’s the same for the actual players because that’s how many of them get themselves into trouble!
But what about the managers? Roberto Martinez has recently been charged after criticising referee Michael Oliver, and Andre Villas-Boas has also been charged in the past. This week he’s been asked to comment on the question as to whether Sir Alex Ferguson has any influence over match officials. It’s true he’s a strong character, but Villas-Boas refused to comment because of the metaphorical slap on the wrist he received the last time he passed comment on the refereeing of a match.
I’m well aware, as I’m sure we all are, about the whole issue of respect the ref but sometimes it would seem that the ref may need to earn that respect, and, if they are so easily influenced (if in fact the claims about Fergie are true) they obviously have no respect for themselves. (I’m not going to get fined for that am I?)
Mark Halsey has, quite rightly in this instance, gone as far as to put an official complaint in to Greater Manchester Police after abusive Tweets were sent out following his refereeing of the Manchester United/Liverpool match last Sunday (23/9/2012). Some of the Tweets weren’t even directed towards the match, but to Halsey’s battle with cancer back in 2009 saying such disgusting things as he “should have died of cancer.”
Now, I might get a bit heated up during a match and later comment of the refereeing, but those Tweets were more than abusive. They were sickening and disgusting, and did not even mention his performance as referee, but were seemingly a personal attack and would not have affected just Halsey, but also his family.
There is quite clearly a difference between personal comments like that and yelling at your tv that the ref is rubbish. I doubt Halsey’s story will stop me from shouting abuse at an inanimate object, but it does make you wonder just how many other refs will suffer this sort of treatment? Maybe they are influenced by the managers, and maybe they aren’t, but I think their biggest worry is the reaction of the players and the fans. So even if the ref does make a bad decision, and you don’t like it, I have one closing thought for you.