A message to Referees’ Chief Mike Riley: get your house in order

Once again I find myself driven to pen an article about the one person you shouldn’t notice on a football field – the referee.

In this instance it’s a chap called Robert Madley from Wakefield who has raised the hackles.

You may well be familiar with this fella’s work. He has a penchant for giving ridiculous red cards in high profile games, and generally giving the home team all the decisions under the sun.

He’s already faced heavy criticism from Mourinho this season for one of his performances, though Jose’s recent whining is in itself totally over the top. But he does have a point on the refs.

If you’ve not been on Mars you’ll know that Madley took charge of the derby. This was his first game with this sort of profile and despite Lee Cattermole basically doing a hatchet job on Colback, he showed no yellow card. No mackem players went into his notebook for that matter.

He failed to award us a pretty clear penalty and then caps it off by dismissing Coloccini. If he’d done that to Chelsea or Arsenal, Man Utd or City, there would be a media outcry.

Mags are just left to lump it. Mr Madley will have driven home to Wakefield on Sunday night doubtless in fine fettle, while we’re left to drag our weary bones into work the next day, reeking of the injustice and frustration. Six in a row comes to pass.

When are the powers that be going to get a grip and appoint a team of match officials who can get the big calls right, take the blinkers off, and not bottle it when the pressure is on?

Mike Riley is the man at the helm. Remember him? I can recall his days taking charge of games at SJP and he was bit of a ninny quite frankly, so lord only knows how he got to run the whole show.

He has already admitted that the standards have dropped. The media reported in August this year that the number of incorrect decisions directly impacting top-flight matches had increased. They are characterised as incidents involving goals, penalties and red cards.

Riley was even widely quoted at the time, so there is pretty clear proof that the situation is a mess.

This is what he said:

‘It’s small margins at elite level that makes a difference. We made 20 more [major] errors last season than the season before – over the 380 games. In Premier League football, 20 errors has an impact.

‘If you look at last season, I think we had a good start, there was a middle part where we didn’t do as well as we should have done and made some errors. Just like a team, you try to analyse your performance, we regrouped and I think we finished the season stronger.’

Mr Riley you need to get grip on this. Fans want to see officials with the right skills and judgment. Refs who aren’t influenced by crowd pressure and can see past the end of their nose. Surely that’s not too much to ask.

The game is awash with so much money and yet officialdom remains mired in the dark ages.

NOTE: The above is not a raft of excuses for losing so many derby games in the past.

Derby day postscript

It’s important to retain a sense of humour in defeat. Some fans find it hard, I know I do, but at the end of the day it’s only a game, right?

We have won derbies, many of them down the years, and it’s been great fun. Now we’re left to reflect on yet another loss. For the record, our sixth in a row against the club on Wearside.

Each defeat has been characterised differently.

The 0-3 in 2013 came just two days after a Europa League quarter final.

The 2-1 was a late screamer from Borini after a throw in was wrongly awarded their way.

The second 0-3 was in the aftermath of Cabaye’s sale and was hindered by the ‘tactical acumen’ of some bloke called Alan Pardew.

The 0-1 at SJP was simply a terrible moment when we got caught on the break at the death. It was also hindered by the ‘tactical acumen’ of some bloke called Alan Pardew.

The 1-0 came amid a regime of pure folly under Carver, with players unable to put in a performance, cue Defoe whacking home a scorcher.

And now we have this latest affair, another 3-0 reverse. This one falls fully into the refereeing shambles.

Not seeking to make excuses – there is one constant in this litany of disaster: the Newcastle United players. We need them to stand and deliver in this most brutal of fixtures.

They’ll get another crack at it again on March 19 (unless moved for TV…). A seventh consecutive reverse would be astoundingly bad.

And of the Mackems themselves , they can bask in the ‘glory’ which was once ours for now.

Constantly changing manager before the derby and now seemingly enjoying the luck of the devil himself.

Football eh, it can be such a cruel mistress.

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