We spend a lot of time as football fans doing what is our obvious divine right to criticise and chastise referees for the mistakes they make in games. This week saw the rearing of the goal-line technology head once again as Victor Anichebe had a goal ruled out that had clearly crossed the line. Put that with Fellaini’s unfair chalking off of an onside goal and you had a recipe for disaster. Then, almost as an admission of guilt Mike Jones gave away a free-kick instead of playing advantage when Newcastle broke away with Hatem Ben Arfa.
It was you might say, shambolic, and the Twitter feeds and columnists went mad (me included) with various tales of goal-line technology, refereeing faux pas and the lot.
We as football fans are always quick to commend an incredible bit of play by a footballer; whether that is a goal-line clearance, magnificent save or rasping volley we love to praise the best in the business for what they do when they do it well.
Similarly we are quick to chastise a player for not playing a through ball at the right moment, or missing an open goal, or when a ball squirms under his legs. Tim Howard for instance was castigated for his performance against Newcastle and while the first Demba Ba goal was perhaps his fault it appeared to be aided by an apparent slip while the second one, personally, looked like an incredible piece of bluffing by the Senegalese striker to commit the American into the jump.
But with the officials we only ever criticise rarely given credit where credit is due for their performance. Yet I watched Norwich take on West Ham on Saturday and Chris Foy had a brilliant performance officiating. He got not one but two very close decisions on penalty kicks absolutely spot on when James Collins brought down Andrew Surman right on the edge of the box and Robert Snodgrass took an unfortunate tumble to no avail.
So after trying to archive some positive reaction on Twitter about the referee’s performance I managed to find just the one positive remark about his excellent decision making.
However there were already plenty of Stoke fans reminding each other of, an admittedly poor, refereeing performance he had showcased at a previous Potters game upon news of hearing he would officiate their game with Chelsea this weekend.
Surely we can give him and all Premier League referee’s a break, and before you ask I am an Everton fan so the result on Monday wasn’t exactly in my favour… but people make mistakes and when credit is due should we not give it.
What do you think? Do our referees get an unnecessarily hard time?