Please. Give us a break Howard (showbiz showbiz showbiz) and get your boys to get something right.

Published: Monday, 22 January 2024

No. No. I can’t. Not again. It’s too much. It really is. Every fucking week. I spent all Sunday evening considering what I could concentrate on today, but no matter how hard I tried, I realised I was going to have talk about our hapless refs again. Honestly - I don’t want to, but I’ve got to.

I bet you’re thinking ‘oh, give us a break Keysie’. And I agree. I’d love to. But I can’t. It’s Howard Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) and his motley crew who should be finding ways to give us a break.

Despite the millions spent on their fancy VAR bunker, facilities in general, Webb’s (showbiz showbiz showbiz) return, smart diets, fitness training, coaching (don’t laugh - these guys are coached) it’s just not getting any better.

I’ll repeat what I’ve often said - this generation of referees is the worst in PL history. Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) isn’t responsible for that, but it is his fault that we’ve seen not a jot of progress towards making things better since he took over at the PGMOL.

Alan Pardew was with Andy and myself on beIN SPORTS last weekend. He’s great company. He’s got some great stories as well. He’s also had a very good coaching career. It’s a mystery to me that he doesn’t have a job. Anyway - I digress as usual.

As we watched replays of that mad final few minutes at Bramhall Lane, he sighed and said ‘you know, I speak to all sorts of different PL managers all the time. They’ve given up’. No. They can’t. It’s why I decided to talk refs again today. We have to continue to demand that they get better.

As we were talking, right on cue, David Moyes joined us. He said the standard of refereeing now has left him ‘shrugging his shoulders’. He was both restrained and polite, but you could see he was seething. Once again it was a pity that, in a country that defends the right to free speech, a PL manager wasn’t allowed to tell the supporters of his club exactly how he felt about what had just happened to their team.

Let me quote what Mark Clattenburg said about Michael Salisbury’s decision to award Sheff Utd a pen in stoppage time. Btw - the game was deep in added time to added time, because Salisbury needed VAR to convince him that Rhian Brewster had to go for his assault on Emerson. I haven’t seen a clearer red all season. Why did Salisbury need VAR to convince him to upgrade his original decision? It beggars belief.

Sorry. Back to Clattenburg in The Mail ‘It is a foul by McBurnie on Areola. If you know football, know Sheff Utd and know McBurnie, you know he is going to try to disrupt the goalkeeper. It should’ve been a free-kick to West Ham’. Correct. Andy said the same as we watched it.

The key thing here the phrase ‘know football’. They don’t. The same thing happened at Burnley last weekend when Adebayo fouled Trafford, allowing Morris to score for Luton. Webb (showbiz showbiz showbiz) said that challenge was good on his show Sorry! He was wrong. Salisbury was wrong at Sheff Utd, but doubtless he had his gaffers words ringing in his ears when he made the call. Sorry!

But Salisbury wasn’t done yet. There was time enough left for Utd’s captain Ahmedhodzic to wrestle Bowen to the ground in the box, as he tried to get on the end of Johnson’s cross. Now this was a pen. As we know, Salisbury gave Utd a free-kick. Clattenburg’s view of this one - ‘appallingly wrong decision’.

Before we mention Toney’s antics, let’s not forget Kleivert’s leg-breaker on Diaz that went unpunished in the Bournemouth/Liverpool game. It was just like Disasi’s in the Chelsea/Fulham match the previous week, that had Marco Silva in a fury. Antony Taylor got that one wrong. This time it was Andy Madley who failed to do his job. What is it these guys don’t see - even with the help of VAR?

As for Toney’s antics - I’m torn on that. On the one hand you’d have to say ‘top marks’. Who doesn’t remember Gary McAllister moving the ball 10 yards nearer Everton’s goal when he nicked a late winner for Liverpool in a Merseyside derby? It’s clever of you can get away with it.

The difference between that one and Toney’s is that we didn’t have VAR when McAllister got up to his antics. Toney was smart, but I can understand Forest’s complaints. VAR should’ve intervened and ruled the goal out. Having said that - Forest were asleep.

I have to thank our bustling and busy stats dept for this one - having made a goal for Nunez at Bournemouth, Joe Gomez now has as many assists this season as £100m Jack Grealish at City - one. I know. 🤷‍♂️.

And how about this from today’s (Monday’s) Telegraph, which deserves a wider audience……

‘The Government is adamant Manchester City’s PL financial charges were not discussed during a meeting between the club and the sports minister last spring.

Stuart Andrew held talks in May with Simon Cliff, City Football Group’s general counsel, to discuss football governance reform’.

Really? Do we believe that? I don’t. But the Department for Culture, Media and Sport could prove me wrong. How? They could publish the minutes of the meeting. So far they’ve refused to do so. Why? What have they got to hide?

Keep going Russell Scott, who the Telegraph reveal is the investigative journalist asking the freedom of information questions.

And finally….a word of warning for those both hoping - and writing Jose Mourinho off. He is far from finished.