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Giving no explanations does referees no favours

Giving no explanations does referees no favours

Oct 23 2007

by Nick Smith, Liverpool Daily Post

UNLESS he had a trip to Derby pencilled in his diary, Mark Clattenburg’s ban from refereeing in the Premiership this weekend is a fat lot of use to Everton.

What would have been more helpful is if he had come out half an hour after Saturday’s derby to explain what the heck was going on.

I know it’s an age-old argument but if referees explained their decisions or admitted their mistakes straight after a game it would gain them more respect and might save them the humiliation of these public punishments.

But then nobody connected with the secret society that is officialdom seems to want to do themselves any favours.

And that was the root of Clattenburg’s calamities on Saturday.

It started with the sending-off of Tony Hibbert.

I don’t think anyone would have complained about him just receiving a yellow card for that challenge.

Clattenburg seemed to be thinking that way too initially but regardless of whether he was influenced by Steven Gerrard, with cameras scrutinising your every little move, it just doesn’t look good if you change from yellow to red and leave yourself open to that kind of suggestion.

It was one David Moyes was only too quick to make after the game. Valid or not, the constant refusal of referees to immediately answer such accusations only arouses suspicion.

Of course, Moyes might not have been moved to mention that if he wasn’t so wound up about what Clattenburg then proceeded to do for the remainder of the game.

If his first error was an honest mistake then his subsequent demise was all of his own making.

The individual decisions were one thing, but it seemed he was affected by the gradual loss of control he seemed to suffer throughout the game.

Remember, this was a derby. People aren’t playing with their brains and it can get volatile at any moment. You can’t let the players referee the game and the bottom line is he had a seriously bad day once he allowed that to happen.

It affects concentration and that’s when you get major decisions wrong.

Dirk Kuyt really should have been sent off just for the intent of that lunge towards Phil Neville, then who can explain the refusal to give a penalty at the end? Under what circumstances do you not give it?

He was close to the incident, had a good view and it was as clear a wrestle to the ground as you could wish to see in the penalty area.

Clattenburg would have made his life so much easier if he had pointed to the spot. Everton might have drawn and the sense of injustice wouldn’t have been anywhere near as deep as it was come Saturday afternoon.

Moyes himself said that he probably wouldn’t have made as big a deal over the previous decision but the last one tipped him over the edge.

Overall, it’s a shame. Clattenburg was supposed to be the next up-and-coming referee who was going to be the man for the big occasion.

They don’t come much bigger than Merseyside derbies and he got it wrong.

But I still think officials and their bosses could handle things much better both during and after games otherwise they will continue to be the main talking point.

And I thought that was what a good referee was supposed to be able to avoid.

Result may be good omen for Benitez

FOR the rest of this week, Liverpool and Everton will have to adhere to the old cliche about derbies being one-off occasions when the form book goes out of the window.

They have big games in Europe and dwelling on events at Goodison won’t help the preparation one bit.

Liverpool might have won but it was one of those days when they didn’t play particularly well and got away with it. When it was 11 against 11 they were second best and didn’t really create much.

And if you can take Steven Gerrard off for committing the heinous crime of showing passion in a Merseyside derby than I, for one, have officially given up trying to second guess what Rafael Benitez will do.

But it ultimately worked out for him and at least he knows now he doesn’t necessarily have to rely on his captain or Fernando Torres to steal a win from a tight game.

That’s the fact that will give him the most confidence when he goes for the victory he needs in Besiktas tomorrow. As for Everton, the start of their UEFA Cup group campaign couldn’t have been better timed.

Imagine if they hadn’t made it this far and the had a full week to wait between the derby defeat and this weekend’s trip to Derby. It would’ve been agony. As it is, they don’t have long to wait to get over the result and they’ll be desperate to make amends for what they feel was daylight robbery against Liverpool.

All they need to do is play at the same tempo and with the same philosophy and they should kick off with a much-needed win.

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