Refereeing decisions that keep you awake at night

by   |   09/10/2021  55 Comments  [Jump to last]

Another turgid international break – and it’s only early October. It feels better, though, going into them after a good performance and in a positive mood.

It is a psychological problem, but I often wake up and start thinking about Everton this and Everton that… I need help! Historic referring decisions grate on me years after the event – some more than others. ("Let it go! Move on!" I hear you cry… but it isn’t that easy.)

Also, the reality is that they do probably even themselves out to an extent over time. (Unless it is Liverpool or Man Utd, who seem to have a different set of rules governing them.)

There’s been plenty: some important, some future-changing ones, and some much more influential than this one.

In 2016, Roberto Martinez was manager and we were away at Chelsea. A humdinger of a match that we played very well in – at one of the toughest places. Gerry Deulofeu crossed for Funes Mori in the 90th minute who scored to make it 3-2 to Everton. A big away win was almost in the bag.

Then, 7 minutes of injury time.

Chelsea and their home support were at full tilt for the equaliser. In the 98th minute, John Terry, in a clear-as-day offside position, collects the ball and slots it into the goal. The linesman let it go; the referee didn’t see it; mentally paralysed by the atmosphere, they didn’t want to oppose the ensuing delirium inside Stamford Bridge.

It was a cruel blow to our lads and support on that day to have our superb efforts wiped off by one really poor decision.

back Return to Talking Points index  :  Add your Comments »

Reader Comments (55)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Peter Mills
1 Posted 10/10/2021 at 00:27:49
Tony, just to turn it around a little, I’ve often wondered how the 1966 FA Cup final would have turned out had Jack Taylor awarded a penalty when Ron Springett brought down Alex Young, or not spotted Alex’s marginal offside when he scored what looked like a legitimate goal.

They both occurred when we were 0-1 down. Had we equalised, we might have lost.

If I wake up and start thinking about Everton, I try to turn my thoughts towards such things. Years of therapy have helped.

Brian Murray
2 Posted 10/10/2021 at 01:48:57
Anyone remember a televised Anfield derby in the late 80s early 90s. That waste of space winger we got from Leicester, Ian Wilson, done his one only good thing by beating his full-back and chipping a boss ball for Wayne Clarke to head in cleanly at the far post.

Would've been the winner but for a woeful ref to disallow it for no reason at all. I know we have had at least six derby decisions over the years but that one clear as day totally robbed us.

Bill Watson
3 Posted 10/10/2021 at 02:09:27
Brian #2

The Mick Lyons header, at the Park End, which was also mysteriously ruled out in the '70s.

More recently, the one which was disallowed in the Street End when the referee (was it Poll?) said he'd blown for full time (which TV proved he hadn't) and the clearly wrongful dismissal of Rodwell.

Also, the last-minute free-kick, which the ref allowed Liverpool to move 10 yards nearer the goal, from which they scored.

The Ferguson goal which was ruled out by Collina, who promptly retired.

The list is endless but I'm struggling to recall the six Liverpool ones you mention.

Brian Murray
5 Posted 10/10/2021 at 02:48:57
Bill. Didn’t word it right mate ! I meant the six or seven decisions against us including them you mentioned. Also the 86 cup final when one nil up and Steve Nicol wrestling Sharp to the ground as he would of surely glanced the second in. Same ref as the milk cup Robbery. Alan Robinson
Brian Murray
6 Posted 10/10/2021 at 03:02:36
By the way, Bill. That Lyons derby header – the ref that day was, yes, you guessed it: Clive Thomas. Same as the '75 cup game v Fulham. Thomas again disallowed what would've put us two-one up, Kenyon with a clean header. It should've been our year as two Second Division sides got to the final.
Lee Courtliff
7 Posted 10/10/2021 at 03:07:26
I'm a firm believer in "they even out" but if I had to pick one, then I'm going for Collina.

From my youth in the 90s, I'd go for Nick Barmby and his disallowed goal away at Highbury in January '97. We were playing well and it was nil-nil; if that goal had been allowed to stand and we'd got the win, then maybe, just maybe, it would have halted the slump under Joe Royle and prevented him from being allowed to leave only 2 months later.

Instead, the goal was disallowed, Arsenal ran away with the game and we were set back years by the appointment of the clearly washed-up Kendall and the dreary, depressing Walter Smith!

By the way, we should have known how depressing Smith was going to be when the very first thing he did was have the pitch at Goodison narrowed a couple of yards on either side because it was too wide!! No interest in using the space ourselves, oh no, just concerned with what the opposition might do to us.

Colin Glassar
8 Posted 10/10/2021 at 05:58:38
I initially thought this was about the Fury-Wilder fight which I've just woken up to watch - and missed most of!! Well done Tyson Fury.

Thomas and Collina will haunt my memories forever. I still hate the pair of them.

Mike Gaynes
9 Posted 10/10/2021 at 06:19:33
Colin, no refereeing decisions needed tonight!!!
Danny O’Neill
10 Posted 10/10/2021 at 08:13:30
Well I was trying to steer clear of the numerous derby injustices over the duration of my life to avoid being a Bitter Blue. Says someone who has ordered his "I'd Rather Walk Alone" tee-shirt.

I can't look beyond! But here's a slightly less obvious one that caused me great pain at the time. Akin to being wounded.

I'm in Italy, watching with a friend who, although from Harrogate, is Liverpool sympathising due to his mother coming from Garston. Pure coincidence, although we didn't know each other until we met in the Army, his family and mine knew each other from them growing up in the tenements.

Anyway, it's late in the game and a phase of play works out that still gives me nightmares.

1. Everton should get a free-kick around the centre circle.
2. Everton don't get the free-kick and then a free-kick is given to Liverpool for reasons unbeknown to me.
3. Gary McAllister then blatantly moves the ball forward a good 10 yards to take the free-kick from where the non-free kick should have been taken from. It goes unchecked by the officials.
4. From a position that shouldn't have presented too much danger, he takes a pretty average shot from a fair distance.
5. Much talk on here the last 18 months of so-called happy clappers. Our keeper (Paul Gerrard?), was clearly happy clapping or happy flapping as he let the pretty tame shot bobble into the corner to give them the 3-2 win.

I was distraught for weeks after that and still think about it.

Jim Lloyd
11 Posted 10/10/2021 at 08:30:49
The "Hands On" Milk Cup Final
Brian Murray
12 Posted 10/10/2021 at 09:03:54
Jim. Besides the obvious pen Hanson would of automatically been sent off these days saving a goal bound shot with his hand. My hatred for them started with the total unnecessary Hughes chant on the steps of St. George’s hall in 77, Liverpool are magic Everton are tragic. That and them getting us banned. With no kopites within earshot Kendall told / agreed with me their fans where a disgrace and as he put it. Changed the Everton landscape to this day. With majority in Formby I’d say rs he had to be careful in the bars and was a lot more diplomatic than the likes of me. God bless you Howie.
Jim Lloyd
13 Posted 10/10/2021 at 09:09:40
Brian, I was standing at the foot of those steps when the prick sang that. Decent footballer but a horrible woolly backed bastard!

Come to think of it... horrible club.

Brian Murray
14 Posted 10/10/2021 at 09:19:26
Jim. You are more of a masochistic Blue than me. What the hell was you doing anywhere near their homecoming or just maybe innocence of youth? Sums them up even to this day. The only set of fans I have ever seen fighting amongst themselves when they won the league the other year. Nathan outside the piggery. Strange people.
Danny O’Neill
15 Posted 10/10/2021 at 09:31:41
Oh no. Brian's dropped the Heysel bomb! It's too early to go Sunday priest like with addition to the water!

Going for a walk.

Kevin Molloy
16 Posted 10/10/2021 at 09:31:57
It was the Poll one that got to me. It was a pretty meaningless game for a derby, but he blew his whistle as the ball was bouncing into the net. Who does that? I've always loathed Poll since then.
Martin Nicholls
17 Posted 10/10/2021 at 10:02:39
Kevin - Poll still had whistle in his hand, by his side when ball entered the net. I still have subsequent WSAG mag with cover picture of that - it's captioned "Liar and a Cheat". A pretty accurate description.
Kevin Molloy
18 Posted 10/10/2021 at 10:27:36

You just know that if it was Liverpool's players running around celebrating that last-minute winner, there's no way he would have disallowed it.

Pete Clarke
19 Posted 10/10/2021 at 11:06:39
Referees in general are crap. Maybe the stick we used to give them from the Bullens Road has made them haunt us forever more.

Clive Thomas gets my vote as the biggest prick for disallowing Bryan Hamilton's goal.

Not sure who the ref was recently in the England v Italy game but how on earth was Chiellini not sent off and charged with assault on Saka? I can't stand England but that was a shocker.

Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 10/10/2021 at 11:16:15
It's why, despite the pundit driven suspicion, Pete, I'm a supporter of VAR. It's there for all to see. I'd actually go a step further and have the live discussion and explaining the decision. Like in Rugby Union.

Football officials hide behind a protective screen and even with semi-VAR are not held fully accountable.

Mike Galley
21 Posted 10/10/2021 at 11:20:20
Hello everyone.
I haven't posted for a while but ToffeeWeb is still my go-to website for all things EFC. Hope you're all well.

Anyway, refereeing decisions. Where do I start!

Does anyone remember Pat Nevin getting brought down (by Ablett I think) in the first cup game before the 4-4 replay at our place?

If you don't remember it, try and find it on YouTube, an incredible decision.

Dave Abrahams
22 Posted 10/10/2021 at 12:01:27
Mike (21), that Nevin penalty, and it was a penalty, was disgraceful refereeing, obvious to everyone including the Reds fans.

Ray Crawford punching the ball into the net at the Gwladys Street end another blatant daylight robbery that gave Ipswich a 3-2 win.

Emlyn Hughes diving on the floor playing for Wolves resulting in Andy King, yes Andy King, getting sent off for a dangerous tackle. And another one from a derby game with Rodwell getting sent for a tackle that never was against Torres?

Darren Hind
23 Posted 10/10/2021 at 12:12:30
Silvan Distin's goal in the Anfield Road end, chalked off by Oliver... Truly sickening.

I was in the main stand surrounded by anthem-singing brain-dead Kopites. I'd long since blown my cover and was getting dog's abuse.

When Silvan rose above the RS defender to head home, I realised I wasn't alone. There was about 4-5 Evertonians around and they all jumped out of their seats, like rugby players in a line-out. Then the realisation of who and where we were playing. I looked straight for Oliver knowing he would do all he could to disallow it and, sure enough, he did.

Later he claimed Victor Anichebe had fouled the goalkeeper. When I looked at the replay that night and saw what a load of bollocks that was, I swore I would never go near the place again. The oath didn't last long, but that sickening feeling of us being cheated out of victory yet again still makes me want to strangle Oliver, the cheating bastard<./p>

Danny O’Neill
24 Posted 10/10/2021 at 12:36:47
Not related to officials, but yours reminded me of a similar scenario, Darren.

Main Stand, Anfield, circa late 90s and I think it ended 1-1. Like you, cover blown early. Bit of banter and at the time we used to goad them about Man Utd's supremacy (rightly or wrongly).

Guy in front of me jumped up, clearly infuriated, screaming at the Evertonians in the Anfield Road, suggesting they should support their own city.

He may have had a point, but the irony of his East Midland accent wasn't lost on my smug grin at him biting like a trout on maggots.

Alan McGuffog
25 Posted 10/10/2021 at 12:48:40
Dave... remember it well, that Ipswich game. Nearly a riot think it was in last minute. Mind you wasn't it 2-2?
Andy McGuffog
26 Posted 10/10/2021 at 13:03:34
It's enough to make you take to your bed in despair.
Barry Hesketh
27 Posted 10/10/2021 at 13:32:06
I know many of you will be thinking, Barry has been on the ale again, what's this got to do with the OP.

James Adams was born in Edinburgh in 1864 (17 August or 8 December). He died on 24 April, 1943.
He joined Heart of Midlothian in 1885 and won the Scottish Cup with the Tynecastle side in 1891 as a right back. He moved to Everton in April 1894 but returned to Hearts for the 1896-97 season before retiring from the playing side. However he later became a first class referee before emigrating to the USA where he followed his trade as a mason, and died in New Jersey in 1943.

On the 20th December 1890 during a Scottish Cup quarter-final match between East Stirlingshire and Heart of Midlothian. A Midlothian player named Jimmy Adams punched the ball away from the goal from underneath the bar, preventing a goal but facing no real consequence.

This incident and other similar incidents prompted the lawmakers to adopt goalkeeper William McCrum's idea to award a penalty kick.

The first-ever penalty awarded officially in world football occurred just four days after the rule had been added to the Laws of the Game by IFAB, occurring on the sixth of June 1891. It was given to a team from Lanarkshire called Royal Albert who were playing against Airdrieonians at Mavisbank Park

Penalty Kicks

Jimmy Adams has a lot to answer for, I reckon that the neighbour's only formed due to the adoption of Penalties and they reckoned it would benefit them the most in the future, how right they were!

Robert Tressell
28 Posted 10/10/2021 at 13:57:50
For me, it was when Sander Westerveld hit Don Hutchinson's back with his kick and the ball trickled into the net. So obviously the goalkeeper's error but such blatant partiality in the decision.

And then the repeated fouling of Lescott by Carragher in another derby.

Both incidents left you thinking that one team was allowed to play by a different set of rules.

Barry Rathbone
29 Posted 10/10/2021 at 14:00:23
Clive Thomas, end of.

The contrasting fortunes of us and the RS were cemented that day.

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 10/10/2021 at 14:13:57
Alan (25), yes it could have been 2-2, wasn’t sure.
Paul Birmingham
31 Posted 10/10/2021 at 14:42:51
There’s been loads, Wayne Clarke’s header, denying a s another win at our old ground, stunk the place out for such a crap house descision by the officials.

The legendary for wrong reasons Clive Thomas 1977, semi FAC, add Graham Poll, 2000, v the RS at GP, Klattenburgs failure to give a penalty against Carragher and alsowhen Kuyt had Kung fu kicked Phil Neville.

Lawrensons attempts to pull down Sharpies trousers in 1984 at our old ground, McMahons challenge the first game of the FAC, in 1988 when Wag scored the winner in the replay.

There’s been loads, but these spring to mind.

Don Alexander
32 Posted 10/10/2021 at 16:52:46
The referee I most revile is the otherwise anonymous Mr Civil (sic) who blew his whistle to start a match at Goodison on 6th November 1982.

What followed was beyond imagination.

Darren Hind
33 Posted 10/10/2021 at 17:18:49
An FA Cup win, Charity Shield success (always a good guide back then), two league titles. A European Cup-Winners Cup victory and a Partridge in a pear tree.
Keith Dempsey
34 Posted 10/10/2021 at 20:36:33
I still haven't come to terms with Tarkowskis assault on Richarlesonthis season that didn't even wareanr a free kick never mind a red card, or much comment from the media and we are going to have put up with Pickfords tackle being disected repeatedly in the not too distant future.
Andrew Keatley
35 Posted 11/10/2021 at 13:11:01
Incredibly prescient thread this, as Mbappe's winning goal in last night's Nation's League final is evidence that the rules and how they are applied is becoming increasingly frustrating and unclear.

For anyone who missed it, Mbappe was narrowly offside from a through-ball, but because the Spanish defender Garcia - in trying to cut-out the through-ball solely because of Mbappe's presence - touched the ball slightly it was deemed as a second phase of play in which Mbappe was now considered onside (as the last touch was by a defending player).

I know this is not the first time this particular controversial ruling has been made, but it is establishing a precedent that will almost certainly need to be addressed and revised. If not then there will be a point in the near future where an attacking player will deliberately take up hugely offside positions in the hope that a flick off a defender will leave them in on goal. Worse still you could have players trying to make through passes that intentionally are aimed to flick off a defender and rebound towards the unmarked (and previously offside and now onside) team-mate. It'll be like marbles.

Michael Kenrick
36 Posted 11/10/2021 at 13:33:52

From what I heard last night, the scenario you describe might not work that way in most cases. The key is in how you view and describe the defender's actions: "touched the ball slightly" – he clearly and deliberately stretched to play the ball.

Whereas, if they make a through pass that flicks or rebounds off a defender who is just in the way but not attempting to play the ball, and it goes towards the unmarked offside attacker, then he will still be deemed offside.

Which is crazy because the defender's natural intention is to do whatever he can to play (ie, stop) the ball. Whereas, if he adopts a statuesque pose (we used to have some of them) and it just glances off him, the attacker will then be deemed offside.

In reality, it occurs only rarely. It reminds me of the old rule where the defender is deemed to have played the attacker on. But why oh why do they keep messin wid da rule?

Andrew Keatley
37 Posted 11/10/2021 at 15:07:25
Michael (36) - I agree with everything you say. If a player deliberately plays the ball against another player then it will be almost impossible to rule whether the defending player was intentionally trying to play the ball or not - as any movement could probably be argued as an active engagement with the ball (save for the frankly ludicrous eventuality in which a player is deliberately trying to dodge the ball for fear of it rebounding to an "offside" opponent).

The handball rule has gone through so many iterations in terms of intent, natural body shape, silhouette, distance, tee-shirt areas etc – and offside faces the same battle to remove the grey areas of doubt and inconsistency, even with VAR.

Offside should largely be indisputable these days, and yet it's far from it. If the player in possession of the ball plays the ball forward to a team-mate, then if that team-mate is in a position – at that precise moment – where there is less than two of the opponent team's players between them and the goal-line, then they are offside – yet we've added so much room for interpretation and anomaly.

In terms of "phases of play", then I think it should be as simple as the player who is initially considered offside can only be active again by returning to an onside position; ie, with Mbappe last night, if he leaves the ball and a team-mate collects it and crosses to a now onside Mbappe to score, then it's a goal. I think advantage should be given back to the attacking side by bringing back "daylight" – which the VAR lines can genuinely achieve. But instead, I anticipate further complication and opacity from the powers that be.

Jay Harris
38 Posted 11/10/2021 at 15:51:43
I would like to know what happened to the "obstruction" law, with certain defenders fighting the opposition to keep them away from a ball the defender has no intention of playing.
Andrew Clare
39 Posted 11/10/2021 at 16:05:49
So would I, Jay. Players marshalling the ball out for a goal-kick often obstruct, push or manhandle the attacking player to the ground without being penalised. We then hear a pundit praising the defender while the attacker is lying on the floor with a ripped shirt.

If a defender is impeding an attacker without playing the ball, then to me that is obstruction.

Dave Abrahams
40 Posted 11/10/2021 at 16:33:09
Andrew (39), those examples you quote where always given as a foul for obstruction, but the rules have changed quite a lot since I started watching football, hardly ever for the better sadly to say, now going really ridiculous as last nights offside decision proved.
John McFarlane Snr
41 Posted 11/10/2021 at 17:14:43
Hi Dave [40],

I believe that obstruction was deemed an offence from 1948 until recent seasons and, as you say, the laws of the game have changed so many times since you and I started watching the game. Whatever has become of the sliding tackle? Alex Parker would be sent off every week in today's game.

Don Alexander
42 Posted 11/10/2021 at 17:55:40
Football has always outlawed two-footed tackles in the past 40 years, as well as tackles (and that's "tackles") from behind. To me, a well-executed tackle was a thing to be admired and tackles from behind shouldn't be banned across the board. These days, almost any tackle is penalised.

That said, in the rush to preserve players at any cost, so much of modern football has long since gone wimpy, favouring actors, cheats and defenders who, whilst making to attempt to play the ball are given licence to obstruct the hell out of a player intent on attacking with it.

Yes, concussion and the after-effects of heading are not to be dismissed but, by now, I doubt any modern player ever played with a "casey" so any move to ban heading, another admirable skill, should be shelved outright.

Alan McGuffog
43 Posted 11/10/2021 at 18:40:00
By 2030 we shan't recognise our game, although I'll be delighted be around to still witness it. Just my opinion.

The game will be more akin to five-a-side played by eleven. It will become a largely non-contact sport due to its growth in popularity in North America, particularly amongst women and children. And, dare I say, the increasing resort to litigation.

Heading the ball will be a thing of the past. The ludicrous plan of banning heading in training and practice but allowing it in competitive games will see this part of the game vanish. Youngsters won't be coached how to head a ball as safely as possible but will be, in theory, allowed to head in a game? Lewis Carroll couldn't have written a better scenario.

The game will be faster, more skilful and will appeal to more people. But not to dinosaurs like me.

Just my thoughts. Be gentle.

Danny O’Neill
44 Posted 11/10/2021 at 18:51:59
Sorry, this one will no doubt keep invoking flash backs.

Carragher blatantly wrestling Lescott to the ground in the dying embers of the match in front of the Gwladys Street.

Nothing. Nichts as they say in German, Niente in Italiano!!

Dale Self
45 Posted 11/10/2021 at 19:10:35
The derby winner goal kick off of Hutchison's back and into the shite's net that was ruled out for who the fuck knows what.
Kevin Prytherch
46 Posted 12/10/2021 at 00:41:38

It is a foul and can result in further punishment from the referee. The only part of the game where you can shield the ball is when you have possession of the ball within a playing distance. However, shielding the ball is not allowed when the ball isn't within playing distance.

The argument is that the ball is within playing distance.

Stephen Vincent
47 Posted 12/10/2021 at 17:29:25
A reminder, there is just about 6 hours left on the auction for the signed Pat Nevin autobiography the only bid to date is £30. All proceeds to the TW Golf Day charity appeal. Given that the price of the book is £20 I would have thought that the auction would have raised more.

Come on blues be generous.

Phil Gardner
48 Posted 14/10/2021 at 17:37:40
Darren (23), Spot on. That one really rankled with me.

Not one of the usual bleating rs players, including Carragher, even appealed when Distin's header went in. Anichebe asked Oliver ‘Why?' and got booked for dissent. 2 minutes later, Gerrard gave a free kick away on the edge of their area and clear as day on MotD got right in Oliver's face calling him a ‘fuckin shithouse' ... twice! Of course, no booking for the DJ Beater. I've loathed Oliver ever since.

Allan Board
49 Posted 14/10/2021 at 18:12:19
Great thread, not such great memories though! No 1 in blatant cheating goes to Mr C Thomas. Let's be honest, he hated Everton.

The RS have had refs in their pocket for 50 years, whatever it is they do for them, the mind boggles – money, drugs, drink, women? It's like a bloody cult!

Watch their last game at Anfield and tell me it isn't still happening.

Darren Hind
50 Posted 14/10/2021 at 18:48:18
You know what, Phil?

I actually thought he has improved a lot as a referee. So much so, I was thinking I may be able to forgive and forget one day. Maybe in about 30-odd years time when I'm smoking a long pipe, chilling with all the other ton-uppers in the Himalayas.

But by reminding me of the incident with Gerrard and that the fucker actually booked Big Vic in an attempt to vindicate himself… You've just kicked any hope of his redemption right into touch.

Tony Abrahams
51 Posted 14/10/2021 at 18:51:42
Oliver, like every other referee, just lacks consistency, with much depending on which two teams he's officiating.
James Flynn
52 Posted 14/10/2021 at 18:55:02
Sort of related.

Over these first 7 games, which clubs have/have not benefited from VAR decisions. We've benefited.


David Currie
53 Posted 14/10/2021 at 20:21:24
Allan 49,

Well said. I hated Thomas, a complete cheat after that decision in 1977 that cost us getting to a Cup Final. Also Robinson I think in 1984 that did not give us a penalty in the Milk Cup Final. Two horrific decisions that stopped us from having two big wins against those bastards.

Dave Abrahams
54 Posted 14/10/2021 at 21:24:43
What about good referees or refs with a bit of character, does anyone remember Mr Fussey?

He was anything but what his name suggests. I think he had a moustache, he would make his decisions then be on his bike, running away blowing his whistle letting the players know he was in charge; he could run as fast backwards as he did forward.

A good ref, though, in my opinion, and he added a bit of fun to the game.

Andy Crooks
55 Posted 14/10/2021 at 22:17:47
Dave, in his book "Soccer, My Battlefield", Nobby Stiles said that Maurice Fussey was the best ref he ever encountered. Apparently Mr Fussey made a decision, sprinted off and left the players arguing among themselves. He had a lot of respect for Gordon Hill who, when challenged by players, would tell them to concentrate on their own game as they were playing shite.

Derek Thomas
56 Posted 15/10/2021 at 00:50:47
Too many to count - for too long. But it will only wind you up if you let it


Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads

© ToffeeWeb