Then Saturday Comes… the half decent football blog


knee jerk reactions from a non witness
May 7, 2009, 3:48 pm
Filed under: Mat Reville's Football Blog
MONEYBAGS CHELSEA OUTBRIBED BY BARCELONA!
Drogba points the finger of suspicion

Drogba points the finger of suspicion

First I must confess that I didn’t watch any Champions League football this week.  Still, it seems the only things I missed were off-pitch histrionics by Chelsea players after what by all accounts was an atrocious refereeing performance.

Three-and-a-half stone wall penalties were denied to Hiddink’s boys, and some people are calling the ref’s performance naughty words…


Anyway, I feel this blog should have more words on the incident. Please take the time to read guest contributor Sean Cooper discussing the situation as Sky perceived it;

“After th 2nd or 3rd penalty claim got turned down gray said he couldn’t believe a norwegian ref was chosen 4 such impotrant game, and redknapp who was practically in tears 4 cousin frank picked th point up after th game b4 quickly being steered away from it by colleagues!unbelievable! x”

To support Mr. Cooper’s summary of the referee being the game’s focal points, here are some videos of one of the most talked about events; Michael Ballack running after referee Tom Henning Ovrebo.


To a normal TV it looked like Ballack was chasing the ref like a child, but in HDTV you can see he was actually swatting a venemous bee away from his bald head

To a normal TV it looked like Ballack was chasing the ref like a child, but in HDTV you can see he was actually swatting a venemous bee away from his bald head

Actually, they were just taking time out from a stressful game to enjoy a jovial 100m race.  Tom won.

Actually, they were just taking time out from a stressful game to enjoy a jovial 100m race. Tom won.

Or maybe he was trying to stop the ref from making a mistake in the foolish attempt an bravery

Or maybe he was trying to stop the ref from making a mistake in the foolish attempt an bravery

He'll never catch him

He'll never catch him

This could infer the wrath of the Daily Mail brigade

This could infer the wrath of the Daily Mail brigade

The world is watching the Ballack and ref show
The world is watching the Ballack and ref show
And here's one for you Sun readers too!

And here's one for you Sun readers too!

But of course, we must give Didier's vengeance the last laugh.
But of course, we must give Didier’s vengeance the last laugh.

Cooper later added;

“In fact redknapp was so upset part his argument was ‘why cant we have an italian or SPANISH ref’!?!he did realise his mistake 2 b fair.”

Firstly, the obvious hope is that Redknapp and Gray’s anti-Scandinavian lament will lead to similar sanctions as those brought against Big Ron Atkinson.  A surprising amount of sane people value Andy Gray’s contribution to modern football, but the guy is the epitomy of a retired pro who contributes nothing to a broadcast.  All he does is make onamatopeic sounds and rattle off decade-old catchphrases.

The bigger issue is the impending next football conspiracy theory: that UEFA purposely appointed a ref who would be biased (or at least inept) to improve Barcelona’s chances of qualification.

If I knew any Chelsea fans I would be incredibly scared of hearing this argument repeatedly until Chelsea win the Champions League.  That could be a very long wait, so I sympathise with anyone who knows a Chelsea fan.

Such a theory of bias can be laughed off easily, as Barca’s Eric Abidal was sent off last night – not the action of a ref who set out to ensure Barcelona qualify.

The inept referee argument is implausable, but does hold some semblance of reasoning.  It is patently true that Platini and UEFA do not want another all-English final, and everyone outside of England has been routing for Barca to win the competition since the quarters.  But what good would appointing an inept referee do?  Chelsea have enough players to con inept refs (Ballack, Drogba, Terry) that they, not Barca, would most likely benefit from a foolish man in black.

drog-mirror

Drog was horrified by some of the rumours

However, what probably happened was that the referee got carried away with the situation and started refereeing pragmatically.  After watching all the appeals on YouTube, you can forgive the first one due to human error; he thought the foul was committed outside the box.

After making this decision, the ref would have been tormented by the aforementioned Chelsea bullies Drogba, Ballack and Terry, and this probably made him doubtful over the second appeal, when Drogba was fouled twice (shirt and legs) when through on goal.  Also, Drogba’s reputation for diving went before him, and the ref placed the blame on the fall on his own history of ‘simulation’.

Cue more moaning from Chelsea.  I’m sure at every stoppage ‘JT’ and the boys were questionning him, cajoling him and criticising.

drog-bt1

Drog gets a worrying phone bill

By this stage, the ref is officiating pragmatically.  He has made up his mind that Chelsea would do anything for a penalty.  The next appeal was farcical – as Anelka ran into the box a Barcelona defender scooped the ball from his path with his hand.  No penalty.

Now it’s ridiculous.  The ref must have been officiating not to what is happening on the pitch, but what happened previously.

This is 100% unprofessional, and he should be reprimanded.

However, Chelsea are not completely without blame.  Again, they have a very ungentlemanly team who try to bully refs and opponents.

The whole post-Mourinho era has lacked respect for others.  Ashley Cole turning his back on Mike Riley, John Terry instantly questions any referee decision and if Didier Drogba is offside you can guarantee an arrogant wagging finger will be thrown at the linesman. Rumour has it that they tried to influence the ref before the Liverpool Quarter-Final not to book any players approaching a suspension, and this attitude was inevitably going to rile somebody up one day.

To dive, or not to dive, that is the question

To dive, or not to dive, that is the question

So yes, Chelsea were screwed out of a place in the final, and yes it was a disgraceful refereeing performance.  But it’s a case of ‘what goes around comes around’, and the old adage of ‘an eye for an eye’.

If you treat enough referees with enough contempt you will be treated with contempt by them.  It’s completely wrong and unprofessional of Ovrebo, but his actions were wholly reflective of the Chelsea players he angered.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

One of the best yet. You need to have more guest contributions from Sean Cooper

Comment by mike

Brilliant.

Comment by Sam




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