Ref! The referee’s fear of the penalty

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

 Referee

No, that’s okay, Dave, just because I’ve retired doesn’t mean I can’t answer refereeing questions. What do you want to know?

The Benteke penalty at the end of the Palace-Liverpool game. Well I’m glad you asked me that, as it happens, because there are two points to talk about there. Three, really.

Did I think it was a penalty? Irrelevant, mate. The guy in charge thought it was, gave it and that’s that. I know it’s the only way Christian Benteke is going to get a goal at the moment because he’s having a tough time, but I don’t think that will have entered his thoughts at that moment. Not enough time, for one thing.

And no amount of TV replays would have cleared that one up, because the guy did touch him, and you’ve got questions like who was off-balance and all that. You just don’t know, Baz. Just like I don’t know what goes on in that big, bearded mind of yours when I see you clattering some poor sod on a Sunday morning.

Whether a striker has a predisposition, if you like, to going down in the box, we will never know. I don’t think even they know, and of course they’re all different. There are those who say you should stay on your feet if you possibly can, but they’re only human and if they’ve been kicked and held and jostled for 90 minutes there might be some little spark in their brain when the defender comes in again that says, “Right, I’ve had enough of this, you touched me and I’m going down.”

And talking of 90 minutes, that one did happen late on and Alan Pardew [Crystal Palace manager] said he doubted whether Palace would have got a penalty if it had been the other way round. Now that is offensive towards officials. You try your best to be impartial, of course you do. Plus, Palace were at home, after all, so there wasn’t even that much pressure from the crowd. Yes, it can be intimidating when you know 50,000 supporters are looking at you with malice in their hearts, but that wasn’t the case, was it? It was at Selhurst Park, so what pressure there was was from Palace fans wanting him to not give a penalty.

Cheers, Gary. I’ll have a brown and mild, mate. Yeah, bit of a throwback. My Dad used to drink it, and he was a Palace fan.

It was a young defender, was it? Yes, I know, now you mention it. But I don’t think age is a factor. Any defender would have had a go in that situation because if you don’t, you’re not doing your job. Right, Baz? Right, have a go and hope for the best. You don’t chop him down like a lumberjack, you go for the ball and if you get a touch of leg or boot or something, it’s like a surgeon accidentally nicking the gall bladder when he’s got his scalpel in that area while he’s doing something else.

Not that centre backs are like surgeons, I agree, Dave. More like butchers – no offence, Baz – with the exception of the skilled ones, your Des Walkers and Colin Todds and maybe John Stoneses. Marcel Desailly, yes. You, Baz, you’re in the classic mould. You’re Jack Charlton, Big Dave Watson, Tony Adams, or Robert Huth in the modern game. You’re a colossus, a giant, lumbering colossus – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Cheers, Gary, thank God you’re back. Give him his Guinness, for gawd’s sake.

 

 

 

 

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