The Silly Referee Decision That Made Me Question Football


It’s always interesting when you view football games and the Ryder Cup is also on, you feel torn as to which sport you should be watching. But SKY/BT and the Premier League did offer up some tasty opposition to the golf on Saturday with the Merseyside derby followed by the North London equivalent.

Although I mostly watched the football I cannot lie and say that I didn’t flick over to the golf on a few occasions.

The Liverpool and Everton match was a good blood and guts affair with both teams having a go at each other, all in the hope of three points and city bragging rights. It had looked as though Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had once again defeated the Toffees until right at the end, when Everton’s own captain Phil Jagielka fired home a rocket of an equaliser.

That was a good appetiser for the evening kick-off.

The North London derby was a bit more nervy and tactical match-up, although both sides did put in some robust challenges.

At the back Spurs had looked strong all game. Younes Kaboul looked like a man mountain that just wouldn’t be beaten. Arsenal’s neat football was often broken up either by Kaboul or by their own stars getting an injury.

A moment of madness saw Mathieu Flamini lose possession deep inside his own half to Christen Eriksen. The Dane then passed the ball onto Erik Lamela who in turn expertly played in Nacer Chadli. Unlike in the first half when he fluffed his lines, this time the Belgian steered the ball into the far-side of the net and gave Tottenham the lead.

Arsenal then started to apply the pressure as they went in search of an equaliser. That duly appeared when the Spurs defence finally crumbled inside their own area and allowed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain time and space to smash in his first strike of the season.

Now those were two fairly entertaining 1-1 draws, yet all I could think of after the second game was of one particularly stupid refereeing decision.

After Chadli got the opener, he was booked for his celebration.

Now I am not a fan of booking players for celebrating goals especially not in big derby games like this. But this occasion seemed even more pathetic than usual. See Chadli didn’t take his top off or run head first into the crowd or even vandalise the advertising boards or corner flags.

No, all he did was wheel away and subtly stick his hand to his ear. It’s a common celebration that signals that the opposing fans aren’t singing anymore. One that is repeated up and down the country each week. Oh and lets not forget that former England captain Steven Gerrard used a similar celebration earlier that afternoon and received no punishment.

So why on earth was Chadli booked this time?

Offending the crowd and inciting a riot? Well I think the ‘Gooners’ would have been more offended with the goal itself and Flamini’s clumsy defending. And I doubt the sight of Chadli celebrating would start mass hysteria and public outcry. The celebration was hardly controversial or over the top. Now had he done a full on Hulk Hogan reenactment then fair enough but he didn’t.

For me, Michael Oliver’s (the ref) decision to book him for that simple gesture was petty and unwarranted. It’s decisions like that, that kill some of the enjoyment for me. It really disheartens me and makes me question why we can’t allow passion to shine through when goals are scored. Players have to walk tightropes not knowing what a certain referee will do from one week to the next.

Now I am not having a huge go at the officials. They have a really tough job to do. Look at the Man Utd/West Ham game. Both Sam Allardyce and Kevin Nolan told the world that the linesman cost them the game by getting a decision wrong, when he flagged Nolan offside. The ‘Hammers’ midfielder went a step further slating Andrew Garratt’s fitness and saying he took a ‘gamble’ when he flagged. The thing is, the lino was right Nolan was offside. Nolan was the one that took the gamble and stepped up too soon and was caught rightly offside!

So believe me, I get the fact that the officials have a hard time of it. They will get flak for everything and anything. I just wish they would show more leeway when it comes to the passionate side of the game and more common-sense with some of their decisions.

Booking Nacer Chadli was just wrong in my eyes and put a dampener on my weekends football. But don’t worry, Europe’s fine Ryder Cup victory soon put a smile back on my face!


3 Responses to “The Silly Referee Decision That Made Me Question Football”

  1. are you sure about the Gerrard booking? Thought he got a yellow for the celebration as well?

  2. He got a booking a few minutes later, for a foul on McGeady.

  3. Ah, it seemed dubious on the TV as to why is was given and I though liverpool got the free kick following that tussle.

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