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[Archived] The Big Club / Little Club Ref Debate


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I have had this debate with my friends on many, many occasions and it always seems to go the same way. I argue that, all too often, the big four in the Premiership, and sometimes whoever the home side might be, are given a clear advantage, at the expense of the smaller, or away side, through the decisions of officials. My friends call me a fool for thinking so. One is a Manchester United fan and another an Arsenal, so you can expect it from them, but another is a West Ham fan!

One of their main arguements is that the bigger teams get more penalties, because they get in more goal scoring positions and get the ball in the box more than their opponent. Because there are more penalty shouts and decisions to be made, there are more controversial decisions and more penalties awarded than there should have been. This is also why the top sides are generally given infinately more penalties. I actually agree with this, although I firmly believe that the top four would, quite often, be given a decision when any other team wouldn't, unless it was in front of a large and aggressive crowd. I think that a fair few bad decisions in fornt of a particularly large, motivated crowd are just down to human error - if a ref doesn't see something clearly, or even if he does, he is naturally going to be influenced by the sound of 20 - 70,000 fans screaming in his ear. The prerssure is immense, and I can sometimes understand this, especially if the ref does not appear to be a particularly strong character. (I remember a ref in my college league that gave the one team a free kick and after the opposition yelled at him, he blew his whistle and gave it the other way - against me!)

However, when it comes to giving big decisions against the top four, refs will all too often, with want for a better term, "wuss out" because of the uproar a mistake might create. If Chelsea had have been defeated in Extra Time by a penalty, even if it were legit, there would probably still be uproar! If it turned out to be a mistake from the ref, Mourinho would have complained and complained and complained to every member of the press he could find until the headlines all carried the story of how Chelsea were cheated out of the cup. The ref's reputation amongst the fans and his respectability within football and liklihood of him reffing a big game in the future would be lessened and he'd probably find himself reffing a load of Championship games for the next few weeks. Contrast that with Blackburn being knocked out by a dodgy penalty and I don't think anything would come of it at all. We wouldn't get any press exposure whatsoever.

The point I am making here, is that refs do not want to risk what is their profession by giving the smaller sides decisions against the bigger teams, because of the possible ramifications.

What I really struggle to understand though, is how the ref can seemingly wish to influence the entire game, decision by decision by being so shockingly biased against the smaller side. It is as if the result has been predetermined and he is there to make sure it happens. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that this was the case with us, but yesterday, I thought that Chelsea got almost every decision going, while we were stopped for some, frankly, bizare decisions. A fair few times when we would try to break, the ref would bring play back for a foul that had happened previous, but I never once saw any reason why one should be given. It wasn't crowd pressure, because we were by far the more vocal of the two sets of supporters, and because we outnumbered the Chelsea fans.

Was I too far away from the pitch to see things clearly yesterday, or is what I am saying how things went? I will never stand down in my general arguement, but I could accept that maybe yesterday I was seeing things somewhat distortedly.

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The thing that has always angered me is that a few seasons ago David Ellary got relegated for giving Robbie Keane a booking for a sending off offence when Leeds met Manure at Old Trafford. Many poorer decisions went against "smaller sides" during that season but a referee was never relegated for making them.

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What typified the Chelsea bias yesterday was the farce with the Chelsea wall at a free kick, I think late on in normal time. Wiley strode out 10 yards and then spent a minute trying to get the 4 man wall back. Eventually he got one man back and then walked away apparently contented. This man then went to join his colleagues exactly where he was before, about 8 yards from the ball. Lo and behold the free kick went into the wall. I can't help feeling that if Rovers had done the same we would have got at least one booking if not four. Then Drogba had the cheek to endlessly complain about a Rovers wall in extra time.

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It's little consolation, but, even 'The Sun' said Wiley favoured chelski.

So he must have been even worse than we thought.

If you listened to the ESPN broadcast you would have thought Chelsea was playing a team of thugs, and that the thugs were getting away with almost every under the sun. :angry:

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Refs also are biased in their sending offs and bookings of players of the big teams. For example, when Henchoz got sent off against Newcastle on the half way line, would the same have happened to Rio Ferdinand and John Terry if they had brought him down? I don't think so.

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:rover: never mind the reffing debate,i reckon whelan was right when he said the money from the premier league must be divided fairer,poorly supported teams like,wigan-us-pompey-fulham etc need to get a fairer share off the pot.i'm all for prize money for league position's but the smaller side's will have no chance whilst one get's 76k gates plus xyz sky money,whilst others get 20k gates plus xyz sky money,the money must be shared better,and more fairer for the sake off football,the premier league is heading the way off the scottish premier :brfc:
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:rover: never mind the reffing debate,i reckon whelan was right when he said the money from the premier league must be divided fairer,poorly supported teams like,wigan-us-pompey-fulham etc need to get a fairer share off the pot.i'm all for prize money for league position's but the smaller side's will have no chance whilst one get's 76k gates plus xyz sky money,whilst others get 20k gates plus xyz sky money,the money must be shared better,and more fairer for the sake off football,the premier league is heading the way off the scottish premier :brfc:

It's obvious to anyone that the top four get the most appallingly favourable treatment from refs when playing the other sixteen clubs.

However I'm not having it that there is any particular conspiracy against Blackburn Rovers as between the other 16 clubs. Those decisions do generally even themselves out as they say.

Just been watching Man Ure v Sheff Utd tonight. Sheff Utd player clean through on the hour mark, 0-2 down.

Heinze brings him down from behind. Blatant penalty and obvious red card.

Rob Styles looking right at it, couldn't wait to wave play on.

It makes you sick. Might have been a totally different game. :angry:

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It's obvious to anyone that the top four get the most appallingly favourable treatment from refs when playing the other sixteen clubs.

However I'm not having it that there is any particular conspiracy against Blackburn Rovers as between the other 16 clubs. Those decisions do generally even themselves out as they say.

Just been watching Man Ure v Sheff Utd tonight. Sheff Utd player clean through on the hour mark, 0-2 down.

Heinze brings him down from behind. Blatant penalty and obvious red card.

Rob Styles looking right at it, couldn't wait to wave play on.

It makes you sick. Might have been a totally different game. :angry:

Is the game corrupt ?

Do more numbers mean more money, meaning more favourable decisions to make more money?

The Fa.con

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It's not just the penalty descision. Whilst you could argue, quite convincingly I believe, that the ref would've given a penalty had the same challenge been at the other end, it's just opinion and there's no way of proving it absolutely.

The more clear cut example of bias, for me, came shortly after when Scholes, having brought someone down on the edge of his area with a late challenge, was told quite clearly that that was his 2nd such foul and one more would result in a booking. About 60 seconds later a Sheff Utd substitute, who'd only been on the pitch for about 5 minutes, commits a similar foul, his first of the game, and is shown an immediate yellow card.

One set of rules for the big teams and one for the rest of us!!

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Heinze brings him down from behind. Blatant penalty and obvious red card.

Heinze would also have been banned for 3 matches.

Not that the referee was aware of United's defensive problems in the title run-in : perish the thought.

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If you try to bring up incidents like Heinze's let-off last night for discussion, I guess you will be met with "stop moaning", "you are just jealous of Man U/Chelski...", "big teams will get the benefit fo the doubt sometimes , thats how life works, so just shut your whining " from fans of the "big teams".

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The reason why the big clubs remain big , is due to the fact that the referees favour them it is all part of the inbuilt advantage they have over the rest. I wouldn’t bet against some FA compliance within the decision making framework of referees. Think about if the big clubs with large crowds or in clubs like Chelsea’s case rich catchments area’s, keep on winning in benefits everyone’s pocket including refs and certainly the FA , so there is a definitive notion that the Big clubs need to remain dominant are else their will be people out of pocket including the FA, the written and broadcast media.

It’s the same with any business market, the big companies they will always be bigger than the competition by squeezing them out of the market and because of the affiliates they have and the all-round benefit they bring to them

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West Ham - Chelsea tonight. Chelsea need the win to keep up with United. What are the odds on a terrible and convenient decision costing West Ham?

Actually, the odds are probably quite low seeing how badly West Ham are playing at the moment, but you get my point. ;)

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Could the lack of a penalty given for Sheffield United then be considered a bad decision for Big Club Chelsea? Or is that too complicated?

I have no doubt that referees favour teams like Manchester United purely because of the power wielded by RFW. Getting on the wrong side of him can be an extremely bad career decision.

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There are few things in life I am more convinced in than the fact that the FA and the refs hate Rovers and just don't want us winning or doing good in anything. And it's not even a big club/small club thing, as I think all clubs suffer from the ref from time to time, but nothing like what we have had to endure over the years.

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I think all clubs suffer from the ref from time to time, but nothing like what we have had to endure over the years.

Tommy Tooright! I hate sounding like a bitter whingeing git but we have endured way too much biased / poor refereeing decisions. I spend most of the matches I watch shouting "REF!" or "REFEERREEEEE!!!" at the telly and last Sunday was no different. I'd like to think there is some FA conspiracy behind it all cos if there isn't we really do have some appalling bad refs.

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If it's all just big club little club bias how do you explain the fact that Watford didn't get players booked last night cos they're definitely smaller than us so either it's an anti-Rovers thing or you also have to include big clubs and those we feel sorry for because they're rubbish but know their place against small clubs who are actually rather good and just might upset our nice cosy cartel long term

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I thought the lino on our side (Bolton Road Side) last night was visually impaired. He gave virtually everthing the wrong way, missed about 15 fouls on and by Roberts and pointed his flag to the six yard box for every single goal kick like somebody being marked on a test...

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