Every season brings along new problems for every referee. At the start of each campaign the referees have been given new instructions for any law changes that may have occurred during the summer break. The most important thing from a refereeing point of view is that when you are given those guidelines it is how each official applys them. Different referees pick up on these instructions and when they apply them differently it causes all sorts of problems. I have always been of the opinion that a referee should rarely be seen in a game, if the viewer does not see the official for the ninety minutes you can be sure that official has had a good game. So as we head back into domestic football next weekend after the international break, what silliness has caught my eye in the first couple of games of this season.
One referee who certainly loves the limelight is Mike Dean. There are times when I see him officiate and he makes my blood boil, he comes up with some bizarre decisions and generally has been known to ruin a game. The last round of fixtures in the Barclays Premier League saw Mike take control of the Bournemouth versus Manchester City game and true to form he was centre of attention once again. A game that saw nine yellow cards and one red was the talk of the media circus on the Saturday evening. I do not know how he does it, but Mike seems to apply the philosophy that every time he blows for a foul in the game a yellow card must follow, it is an awful way to referee. In my opinion in this game Mike missed two blatant red cards when he did not give Kompany and Ake their marching orders, by failing to do so he gave himself loads of problems that could so easily have been avoided.
The way the game was refereed was very poor and to be perfectly honest officiating like this should not be allowed happen again. I have always stated that referees need to be consistent with their decisions and if they fail to be it can be frustrating for players and managers. Mike Dean,s decision to show Raheem Sterling a second yellow card for celebrating in the crowd after an injury time winner for City was laughable. It was a goal that was going to win the game for his side and it came so late in the match you could understand the City players celebration, for god sake if we kill celebrating we may as well kill the game. Bournemouth,s Charlie Daniels did exactly the same when he scored but no card followed his celebrations. It was as if Mike wanted all the attention on himself right at the very end of the game and by sending Sterling off and he got his moment. By the letter of the law Raheem was wrong when he went into the crowd as the players this season have been warned about this sort of behaviour, but with Raheem already on a yellow card a good referee would have turned a blind eye and not brought problems on himself.
I am sure as we go forward this season we will see loads of mistakes made by officials and I can understand that, but what I can not sit back and watch is referee,s trying to hog the limelight and be the centre of attention. It is a trend a few referee’s have started and to be perfectly honest the game can do without these performing seals. As I mentioned earlier, in my opinion a referee should not be seen throughout a game, the only time I want to see the official is when he is stamping his authority on the game for bad behaviour by the players. I do hope we see the cream of refereeing come to the top this season as I do not want to be writing about idiots with whistles for the next nine months. So let us see what the next round of games bring, a lot of controversy I expect.