Tony Cottee Column: The ref just got it wrong

17:00 24 December 2012

Tony Cottee

Tony Cottee


Bad decisions have always been around in football, I can vouch for that, but I have to say that Carlton Cole’s red card on Saturday has got to be up there among the worst – simply the ref got it wrong.

I have been saying for a long time now that the whole question of discipline in football has to be addressed, be it bad tackles, diving or everyone pushing, holding and shoving in the box every time there is a corner or a free kick.

When it came to Carlton, at no point did he take his eye off the ball. Getting a kick when you have stuck your head in where it hurts is all part of the game for me and on Saturday, neither of the red cards were justified.

I don’t think the referees are getting the correct guidance from the top. For me, Mike Riley was never a good referee and I would much rather see someone like Dermot Gallager or Graham Poll take over.

Something needs to be done, because that decision on Saturday almost certainly cost West Ham two points. Everton are a very good side who have made an excellent start to the season, but the match was even until the referee made a really bad mistake.

As I’ve said, I’ve seen some bad ones in the past. I remember one at Old Trafford in 1986 when Mark Ward hit an indirect free kick which Gary Bailey touched in, only for the referee to disallow it because he said no-one had touched it.

There was the one where Keith Hackett sent off Tony Gale in the FA Cup semi-final and I remember another one against Norwich City when I was hacked down for a professional foul, only for the ref to send off the wrong player!

Mistakes happen, but the refs, especially the young refs like Andrew Taylor, need to be shown where they are going wrong and that is not happening at the moment.


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