Honest Mark Hasley

Published: Monday, 05 September 2016

He was Jose Mourinho's favourite ref. The two became close friends and remain in touch to this day, although not quite on the same regular basis. 

Asked why Mark Halsey was his favourite, Mourinho replied 'because he's honest'. I could stop writing now. What else is there to say? Well, quite a lot actually. 

Mark has been a friend of mine now for more than 10 years. I too have found him to be nothing but honest and honourable. 

Why is this important? Let me quote from Andy Dunn's excellent column in the Sunday Mirror today 'And his (Halsey's) allegations - if true - render the Professional Game Match Officials Limited unfit for purpose'. 

Of course I'm referring here to the furore surrounding Sergio Aguero's ban for throwing an elbow at Winston Reid. Those who follow me on Twitter will know I broke the story that Aguero would be charged at 9.30 on Tuesday morning. My sources told me that ref Andre Marriner had told the FA that he handn't seen the incident. We have to take him at his word, but why didn't he see it? He was 10 yards away. He MUST have seen the incident surely - if not, what is he doing taking charge of such important high profile football matches? 

The reason I'm wondering is not because City fans set Twitter alight asking the same questions, but because I'd seen another X-ref, Dermot Gallagher, tell Sky Sports News on the Monday 'Marriner had to see it. He's got an unobstructed view'. It was that statement that sparked City's appeal and one that everybody seems to have conveniently forgotten. That was a story I broke on the Wednesday having heard of City's intent. The question on everybody's lips was 'had Marriner been told he hadn't seen it'? 

It was at this point that Halsey got involved in the Twittersphere with the following reply to an enquiry 'Paul, I have been in that situation when I have seen an incident and been told to say I haven't seen it'. Cue chaos, especially once Gary Neville had got himself involved.