Ref! It’s a man’s game

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


Fixture congestion, Dave. You’re right, there were a lot of people moaning about it at the weekend. Steve Bruce at Hull City, Pellegrini at Manchester City. No, I don’t think he was right to put out a weakened team to protect some of his stars for the Champions league in midweek. And his team of kids got stuffed 5-1, didn’t they?

No, you can’t do that. It’s a man’s game. Well, the men’s game is a man’s game, but I think you’ll find the principle applies to women’s football too. That’s not a bunch of Daisies and Tallulahs dancing around, frightened to get their knees dirty. They mean business, just like the men. They might not use the same expression, but they would express the same sentiment. It’s their job. And if it gets extra difficult at times because they have to play more often, they just have to get on with it.

Which brings us, Baz, as you say, to the whole issue of women’s sport. You see what looks like a football story in the paper or online but you don’t recognize the names. And that’s because it’s about Arsenal Ladies or England women.

You don’t think it’s right, then, giving equal importance to the women’s game when the standard is a lot lower. I’m inclined to agree with you, but for God’s sake don’t tell Jody I said that. Yes, that’s if you ever meet her. No, I’m not keeping her under wraps exactly, but I’m not bringing her down here on a Monday night, am I? It’s a blokes’ night, and the way to keep the peace at home is to make it clear that’s what it is. We don’t sit here looking at the totty and we certainly don’t go looking for it. But as soon as Dave goes home and says to Stephanie, “Oh, Col’s new girlfriend was there, she’s really nice,” we’re all in trouble. Either they’re going to be suspicious of our motives or they’re going to want to come along.

We can do all that socializing in the summer when we’re having barbecues rained off.

Cheers, Gary, I’ll have a spritzer. A spritzer, mate. Dry white wine topped up with soda water. Well, it’s alcohol, isn’t it? Just hasn’t got the calories of a pint of Guinness. Yes, she introduced me to it. And if it was good enough for George Best when had anti-alcohol implants, it’s good enough for me. Yes, they were supposed to make him violently ill if he drank alcohol, but he found he could slip a few spritzers through with no trouble, and bingo! Paved the way to his early death.

I hear what you’re saying, Dave. Is it wrong to only watch women’s football or cricket just to look at the women? Well what do you think they do when they watch men’s sport? If you’ve got a good knowledge of the terminology you can even comment on it without sounding sexist, so when your missus talks about how elegant Ross Barkley is when he’s shaping for a shot, she is disguising the fact that she’s imagining him shaping for a shot at her, bent over the sofa.

Sorry, Dave, not your missus specifically. You know what I’m saying. You watch a female midfielder pulling off a sliding a tackle in the mud and you can’t help imagining that she’d be quite good fun in the sack, can you? No, I mean it. You reckon it’s just me? Come on… Baz? Not you as well. I mean be honest.



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