Beat around the Bush

PUBLISHED: 15:57 29 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:45 24 August 2010

By Adam Boxer REFEREES; love them or loathe them they continue to be one of the major talking points in the modern game. From Sir Alex Ferguson downwards, everyone has their gripes about the man in the middle, some more justified than others. Some may con

By Adam Boxer

REFEREES; love them or loathe them they continue to be one of the major talking points in the modern game. From Sir Alex Ferguson downwards, everyone has their gripes about the man in the middle, some more justified than others.

Some may consider it surprisingly primitive that a multi-million pound industry is at the behest of a man with a whistle and two with flags, but this is where the English game finds itself.

Tune into any phone-in on the way back from a match and you're bound to find a set of supporters unhappy with the way their game has been officiated, with words such as 'cheat' and 'liar' bandied about all too easily.

What the problem seems to boil down to, far from being the laws themselves, is the vastly different interpretations that are witnessed by supporters week in, week out.

QPR saw a relatively unremarkable display by official Russell Booth against Preston, maintaining virtual anonymity throughout the game and letting the creative football flow.

Contrast this with card-merchant Andy Hall, who viewed similar instances very differently, handing out cards like confetti, and continually stifling play with his brand of officious, aggressive refereeing.

The red cards for both Rangers and Reading indicated that there was an official on a one-foul - one booking policy, interpreting the laws of the game so differently to Mr Booth and dishing out two red cards when there was scarcely a challenge in anger.

Hall, of course, has a history with QPR, with the famous debacle at home to Crewe, sending off two Rs players in farcical circumstances, Clarke Carlisle for a foul on the goalkeeper, and Stephen Kelly for having the ball booted at his backside from point-blank range!

Leaving that aside for a moment, and looking at Mark Haywood's performance at Pride Park, the crowd were dissecting his night's work on the backdrop of the Reading game, with phrases like; 'Hall would have had him there,' in reference to a couple of tackles.

The fact of the matter is that we have several different displays of refereeing, one anonymous, one overtly strict and one lenient, all working within the same framework.

We have learned in recent weeks that the interpretation of the referee can make or break a game depending on their temperament.

If it's a case of interpretation and understanding of the game, it's a wonder as to why the FA aren't actively encouraging those who have played it.

The refereeing career of Steve Baines was successful but brief, having to commence his refereeing education once retired from playing.

Every game he presided over was refereed with common sense - and with only four red cards in his six years on the list, statistics the ilk of Mr Hall could dream about.

Whether it's a case of tolerance, understanding or interpretation, referees will continue to be a major talking point for years to come.

Latest Kilburn & Brent Stories


Pete Carroll would relish a return to Wembley after his Seattle Seahawks received a rapturous reception in a 27-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

Yesterday, 20:56

Harrow collected three points on their travels with this emphatic win in Somerset after superb strikes from wing-backs George Moore and Ryan Haugh and a stand-out display from goalkeeper Hafed Al-Droubi.

Yesterday, 13:43

Hendon bounced back from the disappointment of their Wednesday night FA Cup exit at Chippenham with a come-from-behind victory over Hartley Wintney on Non-League Day, a win that lifted them to second in the Evo-Stik Southern League South Premier Division.

Yesterday, 10:11

Wealdstone ground out a narrow win to beat Hampton & Richmond in a terrific encounter on Non-League Day, with the win taking the Stones up to fourth place.

Yesterday, 08:00

.This response is typical of the sort of excuse that Brent’s planners come up with, writes Philip Grant, Kingsbury (full address supplied), in response to an e-mail from Brent Council’s planning team about his Wembley Stadium concerns (“Stadium view is vanishing”, Times):

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The world’s best track cyclists are set to descend on London from December 14-16 as the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup makes its long-awaited return to Lee Valley VeloPark.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Washington Wizards point-guard Tomas Satoransky is excited to return to his European roots when his side play in the NBA 2019 UK match against New York Knicks.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Once again, politicians are changing our wards to suit themselves, not our



A new community centre, The Yellow, opens in Wembley Park in the heart of the Brent community. From October 1, the hub will offer a selection of arts and fitness classes, many of which will be free.

The Granville has begun taking bookings for workspaces and events ahead of its opening this spring.

Brent Clinical Commissioning Group has announced changes to the community’s cardiology service.

Newsletter Sign Up

Kilburn Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Kilburn sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Brent & Kilburn Times
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now