It has been revealed that Newcastle United consulted Mark Halsey before deciding to challenge the Fabricio Coloccini red card against Sunderland.

The FA appeal decided that the red card should be rescinded as an obvious error had been made by referee Robert Madley, leaving Coloccini able to play on Saturday against Stoke City.

The choice of Mark Halsey is a very strange one for Newcastle United, considering just how much bad feeling he created with his shocking decision making in March 2013.

Halsey being the referee who didn’t even give a free-kick when Callum McManaman assaulted Massadio Haidara, a ‘challenge’ which could potentially have ended his career, rather than just cause him a lot of pain and to miss a lot of matches.


Talking to the Bolton News, it is Mark Halsey himself who has made public that he was consulted by Newcastle United in recent days.

The former referee saying that Bolton should also have challenged their red card last weekend, just as he advised Newcastle to do when consulted.

That Bolton match was of course Shola Ameobi’s debut on his pay as you play new deal, the former Newcastle striker scoring after only 20 minutes of coming onto the pitch as a substitute, before that red card incident leading to a penalty and equaliser for Leeds – the match ending 1-1.

Mark Halsey talking to the Bolton News:

‘If (Bolton) Wanderers had picked the phone up and asked if they should appeal Prince-Desire Gouano’s red card on Saturday, I’d have said: “Yes!”

Newcastle United asked me my opinion on a very similar incident involving Fabricio Coloccini and after reviewing the footage I advised them to make a case saying he hadn’t denied a clear and obvious goalscoring opportunity.

Yesterday afternoon, shortly after I’d landed back in the country after a busman’s holiday in Doha on the Keys and Gray show, I got a text saying the Toon defender had got off his ban.

There’s very little difference between the two situations, yet Neil Lennon will be the one who’s missing a defender next weekend.

In Newcastle’s case you simply could not guarantee that Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher was going to get the ball when Coloccini made the foul, therefore you can’t say for sure whether it was an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

Referees, in this case Robert Madley, are all too eager to show a red card. It’s too easy to send a player from the field but the benefit of the doubt should go to the defender if he’s going to give a penalty anyway.

The double punishment law is something I’d like to see gone from the game. It serves no purpose.

It’s the old cliché about Rule 18: Common Sense. It seems to have disappeared from the referee’s handbook.’