Ref! On football follies

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


A farce, Dave. A farce. Ludicrous. Who’s the best national team in Europe? Well I’m sorry, but it’s not Portugal. Well obviously that’s what the records are going to show, and that is precisely my point. But actually, that’s not what the records are going to show. It’s what the Portuguese are going to say the records show. But there is a difference between the winners of a tournament  and the best team.

Yes, Baz, as you are struggling so manfully to articulate, it calls into question the very nature of the knockout competition. It’s a nursery school attitude. “Play nicely with the other children, and it’s Kayleigh’s turn to win this time, so let’s give her a big clap. No, Jordan, snakes and ladders is not the devil’s game, it’s a game that shows us what life is like. Good days, bad days.”

Who should have won in my humble opinion? It should have been a France-Germany final. That was the best match, wasn’t it? The two best sides.

But the actual final turned into the bloody Cristiano Ronaldo show. I’m hurt. No, I’m okay. No, I’m really hurt. I’ve been very brave, haven’t I, Mum? Can I have chicken nuggets for tea?

So off he goes, and even a pillock like him is allowed to shed a tear at such a turn of events, but then he thinks he’s the coach, so he’s on his feet – on his injured leg – screaming and shouting from the technical area. You’re right, Dave, if I’d been the real manager I’d have told him to bloody sit down and behave. But he’s bigger than the rest of the country, isn’t he? You can be nice and say they’re not a one-man team, but they’re one-man country in all honesty. And that one man should not be getting chicken nuggets for his tea. He should be getting a red card from his Mum, straight to bed, unplug the internet and take the light bulb out.

Yes, I suppose I would make a strict Dad, but that’s not such a bad thing, is it? No, there’s no chance of that now, Baz. I’ve had the snip. Couple of weeks ago, as it happens. Well, Jody doesn’t want kids, and if you’re firing blanks that’s one less thing to worry about, isn’t it?

Cheers, Gary. A glass of red wine, mate. As long as it hasn’t been open for three weeks waiting for some mug to finish it. Yes, tell Derek I said that.

So, the football was nothing to get excited about, although Sissoko had a good game early on, didn’t he? And the other highlight was when crybaby went off and Quaresma came on with his head shaven apart from a very artistic light brown feather shape in his hair. Quite impressive. You’d have to be a bit of a donut to walk around like that, but for an international footballer it must seem like a fashion statement. I bet his girlfriend thinks it’s lovely. I bet she plays with it while he’s… you know.

And England was represented in the final of Euro 2016. Mark Clattenburg and the boys officiating. Yeah, he’s a good mate of mine, Clatts. And he controlled the game pretty well, I thought, didn’t you? You were aware that he was there, but he let them get on with it. Yes, Baz, of course the players can make it easy or hard for you, but they also know who they’re dealing with. They’ll have been briefed about the ref. He’s a bit of a rebel himself. Remember when he got in trouble for shooting off on his own after a match to go to an Ed Sheeran concert? Well, the ref and his team are supposed to travel to and from the ground together so they can account for their movements and actions.

Yes, load of cobblers, but there’s always someone coming up with a new regulation when something goes wrong. It’s easy to be wise after the event, isn’t it, lads?