Referee Roger East fucked it in today’s Manchester United/Sunderland match, clearly sending off the wrong player after a foul in the box on United Striker Radamel Falcao. Fine. It’s a fast game and mistakes get made, even by the best of officials.
But no, that’s not good enough.
Two hours after the match, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) issued a statement which explained East’s actions.
“From his position Roger East, the match referee, believed he saw contact from John O’Shea and Wes Brown on Radamel Falcao,” the statement read.
You know, there’s an absolutely blinding degree of ineptitude involved in all this. Not only was the actual call terrible, but that you’d come back after the game and double down – that says something about the state of the shit-show that is Premier League officiating.
It’s like on Family Feud when Uncle Fred, asked to name a thing you might find in a refrigerator, answers “spare tire!” The whole family looks at each other, thinking I knew we should have locked him in the closet and brought Cousin Bubba instead, and then claps madly and says “good answer, good answer.” No matter how obviously a ref fucks up, no matter how indisputable the replay evidence, the mentality is circle the wagons and refuse to admit that mistakes are even a possibility. It’s ex cathedra – officials are infallible when they have a whistle in their hands.
I think we all get that refs are human. We all make mistakes and football is a tough sport to call. We understand that and respect it. But you erode that respect quickly when you look us in the eye and make clear that you’re either barking morons or pathological liars. It’s hard to know which is worse – the dishonesty or the credit you’re giving our intelligence.
In the end, any ref who thinks that Wes Brown was the one who should have been sent off – after reviewing the video – should be immediately demoted to League 12, and any front office official who agrees needs to be in back making my fries when I drop by McDonald’s on Monday.