Monday, 2 March 2015


FORMER Barclays  Premier League referee Mark Halsey has put the boot in to some of his former colleagues.

Writing in The Sun newspaper (February 28), he has even  argued that Chris Foy and Phil Dowd should be dropped from top-flight matches.

Of Foy, he says: “It’s time to show Chris the red card – you’ve got to realise when your time’s up.”

Of Dowd, he says: “Phil is getting caught out because of his age – he is 53 – and his fitness. He looks overweight.”

Other referees who Halsey says need to raise their game include :  Roger East, Martin Atkinson, Kevin Friend, Anthony Taylor, Mike Jones, Robert Madley and Jon Moss.

However, he remains impressed with Mike Dean, Neil Swarbrick, Andre Marriner, Lee Mason, Michael Oliver, Craig Pawson and Mark Clattenburg.

Of Clattenburg, he writes: “There is nobody near Clatts – his positioning and movement are second to none.”

Barclays Premier League appointments for  this week’s midweek matches are below.

Tuesday 3 March 2015
19:45Aston Villa v West BromJonathan MossJ BrooksS LongM Clattenburg
19:45Hull v SunderlandMike DeanS BurtD CannD Bond
19:45Southampton v Crystal PalaceMartin AtkinsonA GarrattM WilkesR East

Wednesday 4 March 2015
19:45Man City v LeicesterRobert MadleyA HallidayD BryanC Foy
19:45Newcastle v Man UtdAnthony TaylorS ChildP KirkupC Pawson
19:45QPR v ArsenalKevin FriendM MullarkeyM McDonoughL Probert
19:45Stoke v EvertonMark ClattenburgH LennardS BeckM Jones
19:45Spurs v SwanseaMichael OliverJ CollinI HussinP Dowd
19:45West Ham v ChelseaAndre MarrinerS LedgerG BeswickN Swarbrick
20:00Liverpool v BurnleyLee MasonM ScholesR WestR East

Thursday, 12 February 2015


A STERN challenge  beckons for Bobby Madley when he is in the middle for Saturday evening's Fifth Round FA Cup match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park.

He is still only 29, and  this will be  one of the biggest matches of his career to date.

It is likely to bring him face-to-face with some contemporary giants of the game, including Gerrard and Balotelli of the visitors.  

He can also be certain of a cauldron of an atmosphere  - mostly created by  the home fans, reckoned to be the noisiest (as well as the most knowledgeable) on the football scene as it is today.

Madley hails from Wakefield, near Leeds, and is no stranger to high-level football, having been officiating in the Football League since 2010 and the Premier League since 2013.

In his first match in the top flight - an encounter between Southampton and WBA, he sent off no fewer than three players.

In a match at Selhurst Park earlier this season (September 24), he sent off Mehdi Abeid in the Capital One Cup match in which Newcastle beat Palace 3-2 after extra time.

The win marked a turning point in the  fortunes of Toon boss Alan Pardew, though it was not long afterwards that he left Tyneside for Palace - a club which welcomed him with open arms.

On New Year's Day, Madley  was at Villa Park for the 0-0 draw between Aston Villa and Palace in the Barclays Premier League.

This will be his first Liverpool match of the current season.

On Wednesday of this week, he was in charge for  the Premier League match in which WBA beat Swansea 2-0.

The full list of appointments for the Fifth Round is below. Kick-off time is 3pm on Saturday February 14  unless stated otherwise.

1 Crystal Palace  v Liverpool  (5.30pm)
Referee Robert Madley
Assistant Referees John Brooks & Harry Lennard
Fourth Official Michael Jones

2 Arsenal v Middlesbrough Sunday 15 Feb (4pm)
Referee Michael Dean
Assistant Referees Stuart Burt & Andrew Garratt
Fourth Official Oliver Langford

3 Aston Villa  v Leicester City  Sunday 15 Feb (12.30pm)
Referee Mark Clattenburg
Assistant Referees Jake Collin & Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth Official Roger East

4 West Bromwich Albion  v West Ham United (12.45pm)
Referee Martin Atkinson
Assistant Referees Gary Beswick & Stephen Child
Fourth Official Christopher Foy

5 Bradford City v Sunderland Sunday 15 Feb (2.30pm)
Referee Kevin Friend
Assistant Referees Simon Beck & Lee Betts
Fourth Official Christopher Kavanagh

6 Blackburn Rovers  v Stoke City
Referee Anthony Taylor
Assistant Referees Darren Cann & Scott Ledger
Fourth Official Andre Marriner

7 Derby County  v Reading
Referee Craig Pawson
Assistant Referees Mark Scholes & Daniel Cook
Fourth Official David Coote

8 Preston North End  v Manchester United  Monday 16 Feb (7.45pm)
Referee Philip Dowd
Assistant Referees Michael Mullarkey & David Bryan
Fourth Official David Webb

Sunday, 1 February 2015


IN his fascinating refereeing memoirs, Seeing Red, Graham Poll highlights the problem faced by officials at corners.

He writes: "The shirt-tugging, wrestling, holding, blocking and general free-for-all at corners and set pieces is a problem fo referees   - but it is not a problem for players.

"They accept it as part of the game and practise it every day in training."

He continues: "For referees, the difficulty is that there are at least three or four offences at every corner. Both sides are at it, so who do you penalise?"

Poll is refreshingly candid in his conclusion. "The easiest thing for me to do, now that I am retired, would be to deliver a stern sermon to my former colleagues.

"Yet the truth is that I didn't solve the problem when I was refereeing."

  • Seeing Red was published in paperback by Harper Collins in 2007.


 MANY thanks to the reader who has supplied these rough-and-tumble  pictures of how football might have been played in times gone by. It's not exactly the beautiful game, but everyone seems to be enjoying themselves - and not a referee in sight.



Thursday, 29 January 2015


Don't mention John Burridge - the much-travelled goalkeeper of yesteryear when World
Cup winner Ossie Ardiles is booked  to be one of the guest speakers at a dinner in McMenemy's Bar at Grimsby Town's Blundell Park ground on March 6.

The pair famously fell out in the last minute of a First Division match on Boxing Day, 1987,   between Ardiles' side, Spurs, and Burridge's Southampton at the Dell.

According to Burridge, Ardiles tried to tread on his feet at a Spurs corner - but the goalkeeper managed to get his stamp in first.

In his lively autobiography, Budgie, he writes: " I gave him the old two studs combination on the metatarsal and he went down in absolute agony."

Ardiles (and other opponents) were doubtless unaware that Burridge had a habit of filing  down the back studs on his boots so they were sharp as bullets.

He says: "When people came up to me at a corner and tried to bully and intimidate me, I'd seize the moment.

"I'd bring my left or right boot down on the striker's metatarsal - BANG!

"It sounds sounds cruel and dirty but it was kick or be kicked."

Did the officials not  inspect  the players studs before the match?  Apparently, it tended only to be a cursory check in which they ran their fingers over the front studs.

Burridge claims that, following the match, which Saints won 2-1, Ardiles shouted at him:

"You animal!" then tried to push him  down the 10 steps that led to the dressing rooms  - to which he  responded by "smacking" him

Alas for Burridge, the incident came back  to haunt him later when he was first-team choice for  Newcastle United.

Out of the blue, Ossie Ardiles was appointed Toon manager - and Burridge was soon shown the door. The following season, he was plying his trade with Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League.

Budgie - The Autobiography of Goalkeeping Legend John Burridge
was first published in 2011 at £16.99 by John Blake.


PAUL Hayward, the chief  sports writer on The Daily Telegraph, has spoken out against the chummy tendencies of some referees.

During this week's Capital One Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Liverpool, he found disfavour with the behaviour of fourth official Kevin Friend towards the coaching assistants on both benches.

He writes: "Twice he shuffled over to Rui Faria on the Chelsea side and threw an arm round him as he spoke.

"This over-familiarity with people referees and their assistants are meant to be controlling leaves some of us feeling queasy.

"It stems from a mistaken belief that managers and coaches can somehow be won over in the heat of battle.

"In reality, they have no interest in making friends with match officials. They just want to gain an edge: to pressurise those in charge."

Hayward makes a valid point, but will it be  heeded?.

When Graham Poll and Mark Halsey wrote their refereeing memoirs, they or their publishers both sought out endorsements in the form of forewords from managers - Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho. In neither case did this enhance credibility or reputation for impartiality - it may even have diminished both.

Referees should be at arm's length from managers, coaches and players - they should emphatically not seek to become members of any we're- all- pals- together-club.

Monday, 26 January 2015


ROGER East will be man in the middle for Saturday afternoon's Barclays Premier League encounter between Crystal Palace and Everton.

The Wiltshire official will  have Richard West as his senior assistant, supported by Mark
Scholes, with Robert Madley as fourth official.

Madley was referee, with West as one of his assistants,  in the match earlier this month when
Newcastle were denied a penalty after Jose Fonte, of opponents Southampton, handled in
the penalty area.

Meanwhile, East has not been in charge for a Palace Premier League match this season, but he was in the middle for the match at Swansea on September 23 when the home side beat Everton 3-0.

Elsewhere, Mark Clattenburg makes a return the Chelsea  - the club which once  falsely accused him of making racist comments to a player - for their top-of-the-table home match with Manchester City which has a 5.30 kick-off.

The full list of Barclays Premier League  for the forthcoming weekend is below

Saturday 31 January 2015
12:45Hull v NewcastlePhil DowdD CannM SalisburyN Swarbrick
15:00Crystal Palace v EvertonRoger EastR WestM ScholesR Madley
15:00Liverpool v West HamAndre MarrinerS LedgerM McDonoughM Jones
15:00Man Utd v LeicesterMartin AtkinsonM MullarkeyH LennardT Harrington
15:00Stoke v QPRMike DeanS BurtS ChildA Madley
15:00Sunderland v BurnleyLee MasonA HallidayD EatonG Scott
15:00West Brom v SpursKevin FriendS LongC HatzidakisK Stroud
17:30Chelsea v Man CityMark ClattenburgS BeckJ CollinJ Moss
Sunday 1 February 2015
13:30Arsenal v Aston VillaAnthony TaylorG BeswickD BryanR Madley
16:00Southampton v SwanseaMichael OliverS BennettA GarrattL Probert

Monday, 12 January 2015


THE debate about referees is timeless.

The link below affords a perspective from Spurs fans - some of whom were aggrieved not to have seen their side afforded a penalty by man-in-the middle Anthony Taylor during Saturday's evening match v Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

For the view from the same match of Palace fans, the link is: 

Monday, 5 January 2015


ANTHONY Taylor will be hoping to put a controversial festive period behind him when he takes charge of Saturday's London derby between Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Premier League.

The 36-year-old, from Manchester, took flak from Chelsea when he cautioned  Cesc Fabregas for diving in the penalty box in the match at Southampton (December 28) which ended in a 1-1 draw.

The incident  prompted Blues boss Jose Mourinho -
miffed that his side had not been awarded a penalty - to claim that there was a "diving campaign" against his side.

Taylor also missed a handball by QPR 'keeper Robert Green outside the penalty box in the match with  Swansea (January 1) which also ended 1-1.

Former referee Graham Poll was subsequently quoted as describing Taylor as "a mid-range referee" - by comparison with Michael Oliver ("brilliant") and Mike Jones ("not brilliant"),

Poll believes referees' chief Mike Riley should hold a weekly press conference to explain how incorrect  decisions come to be made and what is being done by the PMOGL to reduce the frequency of errors.

Taylor has not been man in the middle for any of Palace's Premier League matches this season, but he has been in charge for two Spurs matches - the 4-0 home win over QPR ((August 24) and the 1-2 home defeat versus Newcastle.

The rest of this weekend's Barclays Premier League appointments are listed below

Saturday 10 January 2015
12:45Sunderland v LiverpoolCraig PawsonD CannJ BrooksR Madley
15:00Burnley v QPRAndre MarrinerM PerryM SalisburyL Mason
15:00Chelsea v NewcastleRoger EastJ CollinM ScholesM Jones
15:00Everton v Man CityMartin AtkinsonS ChildH LennardP Dowd
15:00Leicester v Aston VillaMichael OliverS BennettA GarrattG Scott
15:00Swansea v West HamMike DeanS BurtE SmartJ Adcock
15:00West Brom v HullNeil SwarbrickS LongA NunnK Stroud
17:30Crystal Palace v SpursAnthony TaylorG BeswickS LedgerK Friend

Sunday 11 January 2015
13:30Arsenal v StokeJonathan MossR WestA HallidayL Probert
16:00Man Utd v SouthamptonPhil DowdM MullarkeyD BryanM Oliver

Friday, 2 January 2015


Andree Marriner in action earlier this season
ANDRE Marriner has been appointed to take charge of  Sunday’s FA Cup match between Conference League side Dover Athletic and Crystal Palace from the Premier League.
Aged 44 (his birthday was on New Year’s Day), he is from Sheldon in the West Midlands
Marriner has not been man in the middle for either team this season, but he was referee for three Palace matches last season - the away defeats at Stoke (August 24) and Manchester City (December 28) and the away win at Everton on April 16.
In 2010, he  was appointed to the Championship play-off final between Blackpool and Cardiff at Wembley.

 Blackpool won the match 3–2, all five goals being scored in the first half, securing the club's return to the Premier League for the first time since 1970. Marriner did not issue any cards during the match.

In a fixture between Arsenal and Liverpool in April 2011, Marriner notably awarded the latest-ever penalty kick  in the history of the Premier League. 

The match was goalless until Marriner awarded Arsenal a penalty in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time, and four minutes later awarded a second penalty to Liverpool. Both were converted, the latter in the 102nd minute which also became the League's latest-ever goal. 

In May 2013 he was in charge for the FA Cup Final in which Wigan beat Man City 1-0 thanks to a stoppage time goal from former Palace favourite Ben Watson.

In the 15th minute of a March 2014 Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal, Marriner mistakenly dismissed Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs for a deliberate handball on the goal-line, the offence having actually been committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

After the game, which finished 6–0 to Chelsea, the Professional Game Match Officials Board stated: "Incidents of mistaken identity are very rare and are often the result of a number of different technical factors. 

“While this was a difficult decision, Andre is disappointed that he failed to identify the correct player."
The full list of appointments for the forthcoming  FA Cup action is as follows: 
Friday 2nd January 2015 (Replayed 2nd Round)
Milton Keynes Dons  v
Referee: Stephen Martin 
Assistant Referees: Gavin Muge  and Akil Howson
Fourth Official: Brian Durie
3rd Round
Cardiff City  v Colchester United – Live on BBC Wales
Referee: James Linington 
Assistant Referees: Danny Gratton  and Brett Huxtable
Fourth Official: Andy Hendley

Saturday 3rd January 2015
Barnsley  v Middlesbrough
Referee: Dean Whitestone 
Assistant Referees: Steven Rushton  and Matthew Jones
Fourth Official: Mark Astley
Blyth Spartans AFC v Birmingham City
Referee: Michael Jones 
Assistant Referees: Adrian Holmes  and Kevin Mulraine
Fourth Official: Ross Joyce
Bolton Wanderers  v Wigan Athletic.
Referee: Philip Dowd
Assistant Referees: Andrew Halliday  and
Duncan Street
Fourth Official: Robert Jones
Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion
Referee: David Coote
Assistant Referees: Constantine Hatzidakis  and Simon Barrow
Fourth Official: Colin Lymer
Cambridge United  v Luton Town
Referee: Tony Harrington
Assistant Referees: Robert Hyde  and Declan Ford
Fourth Official: Christopher Pollard
Charlton Athletic v Blackburn Rovers
Referee: Keith Stroud
Assistant Referees: Nick Hobbis  and Grant Taylor
Fourth Official: Robert Whitton
Derby County  v Southport
Referee: Graham Scott
Assistant Referees: Scott Ledger  and Joe Clark
Fourth Official: Ollie Yates
Doncaster Rovers  v Bristol City
Referee: Scott Duncan
Assistant Referees: Neil Sharp  and Nicholas Gibbons
Fourth Official: Wayne Grunnill
Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Referee: Lee Probert
Assistant Referees: Ronald Ganfield  and Wade Norcott
Fourth Official: Hair  Neil
Huddersfield Town  v Reading
Referee: Philip Gibbs
Assistant Referees: Jonathan Hunt and James Mainwaring
Fourth Official: Christopher Akers
Leicester City  v Newcastle United
Referee: Lee Mason
Assistant Referees: Simon Beck  and Alan Young
Fourth Official: Oliver Langford
Millwall v Bradford City
Referee: David Webb
Assistant Referees: Marc Perry  and Stuart Butler
Fourth Official: John Busby
Preston North End  v Norwich City
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistant Referees: Glen Hart  and Matthew Corlett
Fourth Official: Ryan Johnson
Rochdale v Nottingham Forest
Referee: Gary Sutton
Assistant Referees: Richard Wigglesworth  and Robert Atkin
Fourth Official: Michael Hanley
Rotherham United  v AFC Bournemouth
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Assistant Referees: Edward Smart  and Michael Denton
Fourth Official: Stephen Ross
Tranmere Rovers  v Swansea City
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistant Referees: Andrew Garratt  and William Smallwood
Fourth Official: Graham Salisbury
West Bromwich Albion  v Gateshead
Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistant Referees: Ian Hussin  and Tom Nield
Fourth Official: Charles Breakspear
Sunday 4th January 2015
Arsenal v Hull City
Referee: Robert Madley
Assistant Referees: Gary Beswick  and Stephen Child
Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor
Aston Villa  v Blackpool
Referee: Christopher Foy
Assistant Referees: Richard West  and Robert Merchant
Fourth Official: Mark Heywood
Chelsea v Watford
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistant Referees: Harry Lennard  and David Bryan
Fourth Official: Lee Collins
Dover Athletic  v Crystal Palace 
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistant Referees: Michael Mullarkey  and Lee Betts
Fourth Official: Andy D’Urso
Manchester City  v Sheffield Wednesday
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistant Referees: Matthew Wilkes  and Paul Hodskinson
Fourth Official: Sebastian Stockbridge
Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield United
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Assistant Referees: Darren Cann  and Chris Powell
Fourth Official: Andy Woolmer
Southampton  v Ipswich Town
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistant Referees: Mark Scholes  and Timothy Wood
Fourth Official: Kevin Johnson
Stoke City  v Wrexham
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistant Referees: Michael Salisbury  and Guy Stretton
Fourth Official: Christopher Kavanagh
Sunderland v Leeds United
Referee: Michael Dean
Assistant Referees: Simon Bennett  and Paul Marsden
Fourth Official: Scott Mathieson
Yeovil Town  v Manchester United  – 
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt  and John Brooks
Fourth Official: Keith Stroud
Monday 5th January 2015
AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool 
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistant Referees: Simon Long  and Peter Kirkup
Fourth Official: Lee robert
Burnley  v Tottenham Hotspur
Referee: Roger East
Assistant Referees: Adam Nunn  and Scott Oldham
Fourth Official: Christopher Foy
Tuesday 6th January 2015
Everton  v West Ham United – Live on BT Sport
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistant Referees: Darren England  and Michael McDonough
Fourth Official: Michael Jones
Scunthorpe United  v Milton Keynes Dons /Chesterfield
Referee: Mark Haywood
Assistant Referees: Karl Evans  and Billy Khatib
Fourth Official: Ricky Wootton