Cheating and Spineless Refereeing


Having been to only a few games this season, i have become increasingly frustrated by the amount of cheating and spineless refereeing that we are continually subjected to in the lower divisions. The game against Bristol Rovers at home was the extreme case where even from the first minutes of the game, Rovers sought to spoil the game at every opportunity - delaying throw ins, free kicks, goal keepers taking an eternity to get the ball back into play - and then my pet hate is players not retreating 10 yards from the ball. I always used to think that running the ball into the corner in the last 5 minutes to run the clock down was pathetic, but these current tactics far outstrip anything in the past.

This then leads to the spineless refereeing we see, where the issue is not addressed at the root - yellow cards not brandished until the closing minutes at which point it is too late. This along with players feigning injury (the goalkeeper on Saturday in the dying stages another shocking example), diving and a general inconsistency with decisions. The pinnacle of which on Saturday was the referees decsion not to award a penalty for the challenge on Oteh - anywhere else on the pitch he would have brought the game back and given the foul as there was no advantage. But basically he bottled it - all because Oteh didnt go down!

When are we going to get a decent ref - i would like to give them the benefit of the doubt as it is a hard gig, but they need to start helping themselves


Understand where you are coming from. The standard of refereeing gets steadily worse season after season at League One level and as you say the cheats and play-actors are never controlled. The referees would be more respected if they were consistent within the 90 minutes for both teams on a balanced decision level but rarely does that happen. It is no wonder that Managers and Coaches lose their heads.
We as a team for many years play the game properly and don’t play act and don’t surround the referees after every decision. But do we get plaudits for that? No is the answer.
It does appear that you are better to cheat.
Noticed that a Rochdale player walked off at half-time with the referee all the way from the centre circle talking in his ear. Disgusting really.
Just think how we didn’t get a decision in our favour in the second half?
It is staggering to see the announcement last week by the EFL that if the referees in League 1 and 2 are to be professionalised and brought up to standard then the clubs in those Leagues have to pay for it!
Thanks EFL. With all the money sloshing about in the game they make that statement. You couldn’t make it up.


Good post . I agree with you. One of the issues is that the “best” referees are now almost exclusively used in the top two divisions so we get the “never wassers” or the the young ,inexperienced lads like the one on Saturday. After the performance of the referee in the Doncaster match(one of the worst I have ever seen) we have a succession of poor performances from the men in the middle.The only exception being the two matches against Sunderland and even in one of those we were denied a clear penalty when Cook was brought down in full flight. I don’t know what the answer is to be honest but it is certainly an issue that needs looking at.


Funny you should raise this issue, as with the Early Bird offer looming, one of the factors playing on my mind is the standard of refereeing - at best mediocre, at worst abysmal - but no doubt we’ll all put up with it indefinitely. And while we’re at it, it’s a definite no from me regarding VAR and goal-line technology.


Questions are, if the “never wassers” consistently under perform how do they get to be a “best” referee? Were the current “best” referee`s ever as bad as the current “never wassers”? If they were, when, how, and what did they do to change from a “never wasser” to a “best”?
So many questions, too few answers.
Going for a lie down now, got a headache.:weary:


Ha! ha!..I said I didn’t have any answers!!!


Refs are on a hiding to nothing every time they blow their whistles.Half the crowd thinks he/she is a spineless cheat,the other half think it was an inspired decision.It’s all a matter of opinion,always has been,always will be.I think they do an impossibly difficult job,very well.What would people talk about on UTS or in the pub after the game if refereeing was an exact science?


How to get an ambitious chairman to buy our football club for one :+1:


Agree. It’s an impossible job in impossible conditions.

Refs always get the blame for poor decisions, but what about the 22 players, both sets of coaching staff and thousands in the crowd trying for 90+ minutes to con the ref? Are they not even more to blame?

Either accept the flaws or have the entire refereeing system changed with a panel of refs sitting in front of screens. I know which one I’d prefer.


Completely agree with how difficult a job it is - having done it myself you get an appreciation for just how difficult it is to get a proper view on incidents. We need to help refs - the game is much quicker nowadays, and the impact of poor decisions even higher - i dont have a solution, but we have to do something different whether that is making them professional, VAR, another ref on the pitch, another 2 linesmen …

I’ve always been a great believer in things equalling out over the course of a season - but i cant recollect the last time i can think that we had a good ref - or that we got something that we shouldnt have got.

Irrespective of that, the refs should still be able to prevent the stalling or spoiling tactics that are killing the game - or the questions on consistency. It could be a lesson from the rugby - during the England game on Saturday the referee clearly instructed Ireland to play the ball and stop delaying. They understood quite clearly the repercussions if they didnt!


I am good friends with a former top flight (and very well respected) Scottish referee. He has some very interesting stories…

He is in favour of VAR because of the idiots in the game who threaten refs if they make a wrong decision. On the flip side he knows about examples (including at the world cup) where the ref was deliberately not shown all the camera angles that were being broadcast to the public.


why wouldnt you want goal like tech? at least that way we’d see the correct decisions


Taking incidents out of the heat of the moment, I can forgive the officials for getting decisions wrong and missing things. It happens in every workplace across the country every day.

The thing that winds me, and I’m sure most other fans up is the inconsistency in decisions. Play is allowed to continue one minute, the next it’s stopped for an identical offence. We also seem to get punished a fair bit on accumulated fouls. Two or three challenges will come in from the opposition that probably warrant a yellow card but are let slide due to the time in the game. One of our boys goes in in similar fashion and picks up the first card of the game

Not just at our level, but a common theme is fouls not being given due to their location on the pitch. A high foot in the box from the defending team is hardly ever punished. Anywhere else on the field it’s a no brainier. You can bet if Oteh was anywhere else on the pitch last week when he was tripped when he went through, we would have won a free kick, yet because it’s inside the box it’s not judged so

And breathe…