It was refreshing to see one of our top referees saying sorry in the past week. While it’s caused quite a lot of fuss, I honestly feel the public out there should take more time to understand the complexity of the task facing them week in, week out, and give them a break!
Jon Moss it was, who, in getting out his yellow card to show to Bournemouth’s Adam Smith at the Vitality Stadium with just 32 minutes on the clock, was inadvertently ensuring that the defender would miss the Cherries’ trip to Selhurst Park this weekend, for which he apologised.
OK, this mistaken case of deception by simulation might have cost Smith’s team-mates and manager a penalty that could have led to three valuable points, and Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal has ended up the winner having got away with his foul, but Moss is only human and we all make mistakes!
Technology or not, you won’t ever entirely take subjectictivity out of our game and I wouldn’t want to. What would have been worse, if you ask me, would have been for Moss to say nothing when he knew that he was in the wrong.
Meanwhile, Watford’s Richarlison found himself on the end of an illegal use of the arm from Davinson Sanchez in their home game against one of my old clubs, Tottenham. We have Joey Barton on the show as a regular guest and he felt it was never a sending-off. I had to disagree with him, having had the benefit of having seen it several times.
So, I had no issue with Martin Atkinson’s resort to a red card at all, because once again it was inside the penalty area that his negligence surfaced. While I’ve no issue with the legal physical aspects of this match in particular, the makeshift defender Eric Dier’s handball from Richarlison’s shot looked easy enough to spot, late on. Even with the game as quick as it is at this level, you still have to ask how Atkinson has missed that and I can well understand Watford fans feeling aggrieved.
Yes, we are all left frustrated by these decisions, but we simply have to learn to get on with it.
Now I’ve also heard a theory that at Atkinson’s age he is more prone to fatigue and that this could be one factor that might be affecting his ability to get into the best positions.
There’s no doubt that a referee can’t afford for that perception to spread the way the game is now, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a fair accusation, or should I say reasonable excuse, to single the West Yorkshire official out on the fitness issue.
Along with the rest of the Select Group One guys who meet up at St George’s Park every fortnight, Atkinson is subjected to tests and he is expected to pass those tests like everyone else. If there really was any kind of a problem along those lines, surely we would be told or he would not be getting so many games.
I agreed with the verdict of most observers that Andre Marriner missed another penalty, at the Emirates on Saturday evening, but I did not hear any complaints about fitness afterwards, and for the the rest of the match, let’s face it, he really was top class.
Ultimately I want to help refs and not jump all over them, and I fully understand it’s murder keeping on top of every incident. Indeed, where I find myself in total agreement with YATR’s Keith Hackett, is that the caution dished out to Smith by Moss, regardless of the FA’s seemingly endless red tape, should be rescinded. Let the boy play against Palace, it’s only right!
Until next time you can catch me on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast every week day on TalkSPORT, 6-10am.