Friday, 28 November 2014


N the list of officials who will take charge in next Tuesday's matches, Mark Clattenburg's name is again missing.
Instead, he is fourth official to Lee Mason for the match between Leicester and Liverpool.

It seems to add fuel to the claim made by former referee Mark Halsey that his friend is being sidelined in the run-up to the European Championships.

Writing earlier this month in his column in  the Bolton News, his local newspaper, he says: "The way he has been treated is wrong.

"I can't help but think it's motivated by the fact that they (the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd) don't want him to referee in the European Championships next summer.

"They have someone else in mind whose face fits."

Thursday, 27 November 2014


 THE young referee booked to take the match next Tuesday between Crystal Palace and Aston Villa has become embroiled in controversy.

Michael Oliver, still only 29, has taken understandable umbrage at a remark attributed to a high-ranking Northumberland County FA official which has  irked his partner, Lucy May, who is also a referee.

The official  is said to have told her that “a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not on the football field”.

Oliver, who is from Ashington, has reportedly resigned from his county FA’s referees’ academy in protest at its tepid response to Cummings’ comment

The 29-year-old is undoubtedly the rising star of the refereeing world.

He officiated at  the FA Cup semi-final between Wigan Athletic and Millwall in April 2013.

Wigan went on to win the FA Cup and played Man Utd in the subsequent FA Community Shield  match for which Oliver was fourth official.

At the start of this season, he was the referee for the Community Shield final in which Arsenal beat Manchester City 3-0.

Villa have seen relatively little of Oliver over the past three seasons - and nothing in 2014-15.

He was last  in charge during the 0-4 defeat at Manchester City (May 7, 2014),  the 2-2 draw at WBA (November 25, 2013) and the 4-1 win at Norwich in the Capital One Cup (December 11, 2012).
Palace fans may remember him for matches last season when their side lost 2-0 at home to Man Utd and 2-0 away to Spurs.

He was also in charge during the 0-0 draw with Brighton in the Championship play-off semi-final.

This season,  he was in the middle for Palace’s away win at Everton.

For latest developments on the current controversy, including pictures, see:

For the assesssment of Mark Halsey on Oliver's performance in  the Manchester derby earlier this season, see his report in the Bolton News: 

The full list of Premier Leaguematch appointments for next Tuesday is below:

Tuesday 2 December 2014
19:45Burnley v NewcastlePhil DowdD BryanD CannC Foy
19:45Leicester v LiverpoolLee MasonS BennettA HallidayM Clattenburg
19:45Man Utd v StokeJonathan MossL BettsS LongN Swarbrick
19:45Swansea v QPRKevin FriendS ChildH LennardG Scott
20:00Crystal Palace v Aston VillaMichael OliverS BurtE SmartA Taylor
20:00West Brom v West HamMike JonesJ CollinR WestR East

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


Has Mark Clattenburg (pictured) fallen foul of the PMOGL appointments committee?

He is a surprise omission from the list of Premier League matches for the weekend beginning November 29 (see below).

He will neither be officiating, nor acting as Fourth Official.

Notwithstanding the plaudits he received on TV's Match of The Day programme for playing an advantage which led to a goal, his performance in the Everton v West Ham match was not one of his most authoritative - particularly when the action became heated and ugly.

Has Clattenburg been overlooked following Saturday's unconvincing display. Is this why he is off the list?

Or is it because of continuing behind-the-scenes friction with the PMOGL hierarchy?

We will probably never know - until, like his friend, Mark Halsey,  he pens his autobiography.

*Beware the  bad language, but the referee (Clattenburg) takes the rap from an aggrieved Liverpool "commentator" at the end of last season's match where a Palace comeback scotched Liverpool's lingering hopes of winning the Premiership title.

Saturday 29 November 2014
12:45West Brom v ArsenalChris FoyM McDonoughC HatzidakisN Swarbrick
15:00Burnley v Aston VillaGraham ScottM MullarkeyS LedgerJ Moss
15:00Liverpool v StokeCraig PawsonD BryanG BeswickR Madley
15:00Man Utd v HullAnthony TaylorD CannS BennettS Attwell
15:00QPR v LeicesterRoger EastP KirkupI HussinP Dowd
15:00Swansea v Crystal PalaceMartin AtkinsonJ CollinM WilkesA Marriner
15:00West Ham v NewcastleMike DeanJ BrooksS BurtJ Adcock
17:30Sunderland v ChelseaKevin FriendS ChildA GarrattL Mason
Sunday 30 November 2014
13:30Southampton v Man CityMike JonesR WestA NunnP Dowd
16:00Spurs v EvertonMichael OliverD EnglandL BettsN Swarbrick

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


FORMER referee Mark Halsey earned huge admiration and respect when he bounced back after falling victim to cancer of the throat.

In his absorbing book, Added Time (published by Floodlit Dreams at £12.99), he recalls how he officiated at one match when the disease was at an advanced stage.

It was the opening match of the 2009-10 season in which Arsenal beat Everton 6-1 at  Goodison Park  on August 15 - just a couple of days before he was due to be admitted to hospital for what proved to be a life-saving operation.

He writes: “When I blew the final whistle, I thought I was going to collapse,”

He says he summoned his two assistants to his side and they escorted me off the field, “virtually propping me up to make sure I did not stumble”.

Mark continues: “In the sanctuary of the dressing room, I slumped on a bench with my head in my hands, a towel over my head, and wept.”

Added Time is fascinating and controversial account not just of the author’s rise to the top of the refereeing ladder but also of the politics and jostling for position at the top of the game.

Managers evidently have a huge behind-the-scenes influence as “stakeholders” in the Premier League which contributes 80 per cent of the running costs of the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Ltd). The Football League contributes 15 per cent and the FA just five per cent).

Mark may not have best pleased fellow referees with another frank comment.

“Sometimes, it is easier not to give a decision rather than give to one. That way it gets glossed over rather than analysed.

“And people who say you don’t give decision in the penalty area that you would give elsewhere are right - that is the pragmatism of refereeing sometimes.”

Thursday, 6 November 2014


 GRIMSBY MP Austin Mitchell, a former TV presenter, has recalled his most famous interview - one with two foremost managers of yesteryear, Brian Clough and Don Revie.

Although Mitchell has next to no knowledge of football, he was asked to “referee” the famous studio confrontation because no one else was available.

In his newly-published book, Calendar Boy, the MP writes: “Two very different personalities, with different approaches to management, traded their dislike of each other.

“It was historic and has since been made famous by the film, The Damned United, though someone better looking than me played me!”

Mitchell continues: “Contrary to rumour, neither had been tricked into appearing and  each received the same payment - £400 in cash.

“The interview was dead easy for me. Each disliked the other so much that there was no need for the interviewer to intervene at all.

“I just sat there and watched the argument unfurl – which it did brilliantly.

“I was fascinated by the interaction between the two great managers, though very much on Clough’s side as the more human of the two.”

* Calendar Boy is published at £19.99 by Pen & Sword Books Ltd

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


WRITING in The Daily Telegraph, columnist  Jim White asks a serious question in the wake of Mark Clattenburg’s decision to travel under his own steam to officiate at last month’s match at The Hawthorns between WBA and Palace.

For doing so, he earned himself a suspension because it is a regulation that the four match officials are obliged to travel in the same vehicle to and from a Premer League match.

The customary  practice is for them to meet up at a hotel and, at 12.30 on match day,  leave together for the ground – typically a 20-minute ride – in a people carrier.

 According to the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited). This is “for reasons of integrity and security”.

But  White asks: “What if, for instance, their vehicle had a flat tyre? All four would be late for the game and thus kick-off would inevitably be delayed.

” Surely it would be better for them to travel independently, then at least the game could start on time as they extracted a spectator from the stands to run the line (it wouldn’t be hard to find volunteers: every crowd is packed with those who appear to know the laws in far greater depth than anyone on the pitch).

The columnistsdraws a parallel with members of the Royal Family who never all catch the same plane when they travel abroad together.

He notes: “It is a simple, if macabre, precaution: if the aircraft goes down, they want someone left to continue the dynasty.”

As the appointments list  confirms,  Clattenburg is back in action this weekend (November 8-9).

Anthony Taylor: Liverpool v Chelsea
Mark Clattenburg: Burnley V Hull
Chris Foy: Man U v Palace
Michael Oliver: Southampton v Leicester
Jonathan Moss: West Ham v Aston Villa
Mike Dean: QPR v Man City

Lee Mason: Sunderland v Everton
Mike Jones: Spurs v Stoke
Craig Pawson: WBA v Newcastle
Phil Dowd: Swansea v Arsenal