Ref! On the value of Europe

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


That’s right, Dave, I think we should make tonight a European night. Well, to acknowledge that these islands are part of a larger entity, namely a continent, and that we have many things in common. Show a bit of solidarity with the French.

Remember when the idea of a European league was being discussed back in the 90s? Yes, a lot of people thought that would spell the end of the English league. But the Champions League came along and it hasn’t done us much harm, has it? Yes, Baz, very perceptive – it’s not actually a week-in week-out league, but it’s brought us all closer together in terms of keeping an eye on other countries.

Personally I am not interested in watching one Turkish club whose name ends in spor playing another, but there you go. It’s just not the same when you don’t know the players. True, Dave, the Turkish league is full of Premier League rejects at the moment. Perhaps that’s a bad example.

Anyway, what I was going to get on to was the so-called El Clasico in Spain, where Barcelona hammered Real Madrid and suddenly Rafa Benitez is useless and has to go. It’s unfair isn’t it? What if Baz had a bad day on the building site and a wall fell down because he hadn’t built it right? Would the papers be screaming for him to be sacked? I know, Baz, nobody knows who you are, but I’m just using it as an example.

All right, me, then. I’m fairly well known, I’m on the telly a fair bit, football people know my name. They don’t scream for my head when I have the occasional bad game.

Yes, Dave, people call me all sorts of names, but they don’t want me removed from the roster. No, that was an internal matter and I was out for six weeks. I know I’ve never fully explained it and I’m not going into details now. Personal, mate, personal, and I’m not even going to respond to that – twat, he is, doesn’t belong in a professional body.

Bottle of something European, Gary, thanks, Lowenbrau or something – okay, something you can pronounce. A bottle of Pils will be fine, but no, not aspirin. He’s a card, isn’t he?

So, Benitez. One bad result and it’s Armageddon. So what if it’s their biggest rivals? It happens. Mourinho’s been in the slough of despond all season but nobody’s rushing him out the door.

In Spain it’s that Latin hysteria. They can’t take things calmly like your Brit can. Bloody Europeans is what I’m saying, Dave. Who needs them except for holidays on their beaches?

Yes, I do think we should stick together, because where would our out-of-favour players and managers go otherwise? The lower leagues in England? I don’t think so. Scotland? That’s even worse. No, if you’re in trouble you get on a plane to Alicante or Istanbul, mate. Lick your wounds there for a while. They don’t know who you are and they don’t care. You must be okay because of where you come from.

Ahem, where was I? Cheers Gary. Holsten, eh? Good old north London lager.



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