Ref! On Kendall, Mourinho and bad boys

The candid thoughts of Premier League referee Colin Preece, as recorded by our eavesdropping mole in the Duck and Peasant.


Yes, I ‘done’ Newcastle-Norwich at the weekend, Dave. And refereeing-wise it was no problem at all. And so it should be at this stage of the season. Everybody’s settling down and it’s all to play for, as they say. There’s no point losing your discipline when there’s loads of time left.

Newcastle will be thinking they can get out of trouble and finish halfway up the table, and the best way to achieve that is with 11 players on the pitch. That’s a point that’s often overlooked by the less intelligent player. No, nobody in particular, Baz. It means less intelligent players in general; the ones who can’t see past the present moment.

That’s not the same as impetuous, but funnily enough the hotheads don’t tend to go into management afterwards. They go on TV and spend their second career trying to make us forget what twats they were in the first.

As a ref you can sometimes forge a decent relationship with a pillock after he’s retired, if he’s suitably embarrassed about his reputation. You get the odd one who still wants the world to come round to his point of view, but you often find that there was a brain in there all along. So you get your Robbie Savage, who as a player was a mouthy git with talent that was overshadowed by his volatility – sorry Dave, getting a bit poetic in my old age – but who’s actually all right. In his case there is the hair issue, yes, which has always been a feature.

Nowadays he’s not so much a scruffy sod as a preening bloody narcissist. It’s probably his missus, or one of the BBC’s make-up people. Stylists, they call them, and they’re obsessed with making people look attractive, or in Savage’s case ridiculous in a Kings Road sort of way.

Cheers Gary, I’ll have a brandy and Canada – no, that bloke’s hair just makes me think of the way we used to get stiffed by birds with expensive tastes – pint of Stella please.

John Hartson, he’s another one who’s gone straight since he stopped playing, and he can often sound quite intelligent and humble when he’s talking to that Jake Whatsit on Football Focus.

Yes, Dave, shame about Howard Kendall, but he was nearly 70 and it comes to all of us. Slightly before my time as a player, but he did wonders with Everton as a manager. Should he have been an England manager? Good question. His name never seemed to come up, did it? It would now, too true.

They’re starting to look at life after Hodgson, and Mourinho’s a candidate. It’ll never happen, mate, the guy’s too much of a maverick and they don’t like that. The FA were quite happy to let us think it was going to be Harry Redknapp last time when all along they had Uncle Roy up their sleeve. They wouldn’t have Cloughie and they won’t have Mourinho, simple as that.

Actually, I’m not that surprised that he seems to be considering it, because the way things are going this season he must be thinking it’s not a job for life at Chelsea after all. Yes, I wonder if he does drink pints of special. Cheers Gary. Good man.

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