I had originally had this article planned out in the swirling vortex that is my very tired mind way back when we were knocked out of the FA Cup by a late Philipe Coutinho wonder strike way back in February.
Neil Lennon was very critical of the referee's performance in the aftermath of the game, so much so that I drafted this here article out in order to immediately respond to his inevitable charge from the spineless, time wasting, incomprehensibly bewildering and ever moronic fannies that are the FA.
That charge, somehow, never came and thus my article had to lie in wait in the depths of my notes.
After Bolton Wanderers succumbed to a late 4-3 defeat at QPR on Saturday, Lennon didn't hold anything back in his post-match presser, saying:
"He was a disgrace, and absolute disgrace,"
"I have not seen a more biased performance from a referee in a long, long time. He gave QPR everything he possibly could."
"Any 50-50 challenges the free kick would look like it was going to us and he invented a free-kick for QPR. "
As a result, Lennon has been charged by the aforementioned dullards at the FA for breaking some rule that's got a name too boring to write down and shouldn't exist anyway.
I'm absolutely sick, tired and bored of managers being fined for criticising referees, and it has to stop now.
I can only speak from the perspective of a Wanderers fan, but I'm sure supporters of pretty much every other club in the land can also relate, we've been fucked over countless times by referees.
So much so that it doesn't even bear thinking about. Be it big calls in games that mean very little, or even bigger calls in games that defined the future of the club (Stoke scoring a goal by barging over Adam Bogdan, any one?), they happen constantly and are just proof to the fact that the standard of refereeing in this country is not improving.
I don't entirely blame the referees, especially those below Premier League level, for all of this. Most of those who referee in the football league aren't professional and only do the job part-time, meaning they're bound to not be of the highest standard.
I do believe that if we are ever to see a signifiant improvement in refereeing in the UK there will need to be a full overhaul of how referees are trained, treated and hired. Not to mention a fully acceptance and implementation of technology, to aid the referees as much as possible.
They are only humans and biology dictates and limits how much they can detect and respond to at any one time, and any help possible should be given with out question.
But that particular pipe dream is years away if, indeed, it ever happens at all.
However, there is one change in how the refereeing in this country is dealt with that can be changed right now and may just help in improving the level of refereeing across the nation:
Stop treating referees as if they are delicate little daffodils that will wilt over and spontaneously combust if an unusually brisk gust of wind blows by.
These are grown ups who should be able to face the criticism fronted at them, however harsh, and most importantly, respond to said criticism as they see fit.
There appears to be a real lack of discourse and communication between referees and everyone else in football, and it just leaves us all feeling incredibly frustrated and leaves the refs looking like complete snobs.
The worst bit of it all is that if everyone in football just communicated then it would lead to a healthier, more understanding and respectful sport.
I'm not saying Lennon worded his argument in a respectful manner, or that he was even correct in his claims, but had his arguments actually been taken on board and the referee in question been able to respond to the criticism publicly, explain why he made a decision or hold his hands up to the mistake(s), then we'd all be a lot more forgiving to him.
Also, keeping referees wrapped in the bubble, the comfortable echo chamber that tells them they're doing fine, just means they'll never actually learn from their mistakes.
Instead any attempt at communication, however ineloquent they may be, is immediately suppressed and the speaker charged.
I've had enough of this bullshit, have you?
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