Hard lesson for East as new ref discovered reputations take years to build
12:17 GMT, 3 September 2012
Good reputations are said to take years to gain and minutes to lose – unfortunately bad ones work in the reverse.
Pierluigi Collina, the superb Italian referee, told me that 85 per cent of his job was done before he set foot on the pitch. His reputation as the best referee in the world gave him self-assurance and a huge amount of credibility in the eyes of the players he was appointed to referee.
Within this country we have referees with similar, excellent reputations which gives them scope to make contentious decisions and escape censure; Howard Webb turning down a strong Liverpool appeal for a penalty against Arsenal in front of the Kop would be a good example from the weekend.
Rough ride: New Premier League referee Roger East endured a difficult afternoon taking charge of Swansea's draw with Sunderland
One man who did not have the benefit of that this weekend was Roger East, the Wiltshire based referee who was handed his first Premier League assignment at the weekend at Swansea. The players tested him throughout a tough game in which he had a lot of difficult decisions to make.
Whilst the Swansea manager Michael Laudrup appeared critical of the dismissal of his defender ‘Chico’ Flores I felt he had no option but to show the Spaniard a red card after he challenged Louis Saha head high with his studs.
Perhaps East did miss a foul when Flores came through James McLean to start the move which led to Swansea’s first goal but overall he appeared to referee well and started to build his reputation on football’s top domestic tier.
Martin Atkinson continued to repair his reputation, after last season which fell below his usual high standards, with another solid game at Wigan.
On the mend: Martin Atkinson is rediscovering his best form with the whistle after some testing moments last season
His consistency was typified with the two penalty awards, one for each team and both for hand ball offences. Some felt they were harsh but as both Robert Huth and Manuel Figueroa had their hands in unnatural positions I thought Atkinson was absolutely correct.
The other penalty awarded was at St Mary’s on Sunday by Mike Dean, a referee known for his penchant for spot kicks. I heard a commentator initially question the decision as Saints defender, Jos Hooiveld, had played the ball.
Fortunately opinions changed to support Dean’s routine decision as all now accept that tackles which wipe players out are foul challenges irrespective of whether the ball is played.
So, referees appear to have done well on the penalties given but there were some missed. Tottenham’s Benoit Assou-Ekottu should have conceded one when he clearly pulled Norwich City striker Steve Morison to the ground by the shirt.
Andy Carroll could well have been awarded a penalty when he was pushed but his reputation was clearly enhanced but a superb debut display for West Ham.
Finally back to Anfield where Luis Suarez might just be finding that his reputation to go to ground too easily will cost him all but the most blatant of penalties.
Plans: UEFA President Michel Platini
Seeing red: Tottenham Hotspur's Tom Huddlestone
Those who think that the extra two
assistants behind the goals is effective as UEFA president, Michel
Platini, says that officials from countries who introduce the system
will get priority when appointments for UEFA matches are made.
Tom Huddlestone after being sent off in
Tottenham’s draw with Norwich. Whilst the decision looked harsh as the
tackle, which could be seen as reckless, did not appear to endanger the
safety of the opponent, it would be difficult to claim a ‘clear and
obvious error’ which the FA require to overturn straight red cards.