Cooper: This is worst season for refereeing

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Town boss Mark Cooper Town boss Mark Cooper

MARK Cooper has branded the standard of refereeing during the 2013/14 season as the worst he has ever seen.

The Swindon Town manager has had to deal with his fair share of controversial decisions over the course of the campaign – including two harsh red cards issued to Nathan Byrne at MK Dons and Crawley Town, the penalty that never was when Craig Alcock hauled down Dany N’Guessan in the early stages of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy area final second leg against Peterborough United at the County Ground and Jay McEveley’s dismissal in the first leg of the same tie.

And it seems as though he’s had enough.

With five games of the season remaining, Cooper, who has been unafraid to voice his dissatisfaction at the displays of matchday officials this term, told the Advertiser: “I will say it’s the worst season I’ve seen for referees, I think it’s been atrocious.

“I think Sam Allardyce is the latest manager to say. You see with the decisions at the weekend. Andy Carroll’s foul on the goalie, the penalty for Liverpool to win, the offside goal for Man City.

“The Southampton manager has worked all week on squeezing up and then they get done with a lad five yards offside because they squeezed up. The linesman - planting potatoes or eating a hotdog, I don’t know - I’m sure will be waving his flag this weekend.

“You don’t want to see them out of the game but how are they going to get better?

“We’re just in a dip or a phase where the standard has dropped and it’s up to the PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited, the regulatory body for referees) to sort it out and get them better.

When asked how difficult it is for managers to make their case to referees and their assessors through the media without landing themselves a fine, Cooper said: “I don’t moan, I’m just stating the obvious. The hardest thing is after a game when you know you could get in trouble and get fined by getting personal, which I’ve learnt the hard way.

“As long as you’re honest and don’t get personal you’re fine.”

Comments (11)

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7:11am Sat 12 Apr 14

tobruk says...

I sometimes wonder why the fourth official is there. They are in a much better position to see what goes on on the pitch because they are more remote from the action and can see an overall picture. I wonder too about some of the standards of those running the line. I can't remember a linesman this season calling over a ref. either to point out a foul or to query a decision. I agree with Coops, the standard of officials at the County Ground this season has fallen short. I know that it is not an easy job especially when they are constantly badgered and put under extreme pressure at times by managers on the touch line , but some decisions beggar belief.
I sometimes wonder why the fourth official is there. They are in a much better position to see what goes on on the pitch because they are more remote from the action and can see an overall picture. I wonder too about some of the standards of those running the line. I can't remember a linesman this season calling over a ref. either to point out a foul or to query a decision. I agree with Coops, the standard of officials at the County Ground this season has fallen short. I know that it is not an easy job especially when they are constantly badgered and put under extreme pressure at times by managers on the touch line , but some decisions beggar belief. tobruk
  • Score: 2

7:45am Sat 12 Apr 14

old town robin says...

I don't think it's a sudden decline, I could probably count on one hand the number of decent ref's I've seen at the County Ground over the past 3 or 4 years.

They are unaccountable and untouchable in a very tight nit club. They never have to explain themselves to Joe Public, we never see or hear anything from assessors who are probably just as bad as the people they are assessing.

it's alright saying it all evens out over a season, but it doesn't, try telling that to a team getting relegated or losing a money spinning cup match after a poor decision. Seems not to happen so much to the top clubs, I wonder why that is. It's also no excuse to say they are only human, I accept a mistake can be made, but more often than not it's down to their attitude that upsets managers and fans alike. Too many pomped up little Hitlers dictating who think they are always right, despite everyone else in the ground seeing it otherwise. Many of them lack commonsense and I agree with Tobruk the fourth official should take more responsibility and when the time comes in 50 years time when technology like the official having access to the live video it will be very welcome, I can't think for the life of me why prats like Blatter and Platini don't embrace it. .
I don't think it's a sudden decline, I could probably count on one hand the number of decent ref's I've seen at the County Ground over the past 3 or 4 years. They are unaccountable and untouchable in a very tight nit club. They never have to explain themselves to Joe Public, we never see or hear anything from assessors who are probably just as bad as the people they are assessing. it's alright saying it all evens out over a season, but it doesn't, try telling that to a team getting relegated or losing a money spinning cup match after a poor decision. Seems not to happen so much to the top clubs, I wonder why that is. It's also no excuse to say they are only human, I accept a mistake can be made, but more often than not it's down to their attitude that upsets managers and fans alike. Too many pomped up little Hitlers dictating who think they are always right, despite everyone else in the ground seeing it otherwise. Many of them lack commonsense and I agree with Tobruk the fourth official should take more responsibility and when the time comes in 50 years time when technology like the official having access to the live video it will be very welcome, I can't think for the life of me why prats like Blatter and Platini don't embrace it. . old town robin
  • Score: 0

9:31am Sat 12 Apr 14

Davethered says...

The sooner they stop players and managers moaning and shouting at the officials the better it will be for the game.
Without the officials there wouldn't be a game.
I for one am fed up with these over paid , over rated prima donnas thinking they are always right , and their stupid managers backing them up.
Play by the rules and stop the cheating , it's only a game.
The sooner they stop players and managers moaning and shouting at the officials the better it will be for the game. Without the officials there wouldn't be a game. I for one am fed up with these over paid , over rated prima donnas thinking they are always right , and their stupid managers backing them up. Play by the rules and stop the cheating , it's only a game. Davethered
  • Score: 10

10:21am Sat 12 Apr 14

Oi Den! says...

Davethered wrote:
The sooner they stop players and managers moaning and shouting at the officials the better it will be for the game.
Without the officials there wouldn't be a game.
I for one am fed up with these over paid , over rated prima donnas thinking they are always right , and their stupid managers backing them up.
Play by the rules and stop the cheating , it's only a game.
Spot on Dave. In every single game nowadays we see players trying to cheat the referee all the time, no doubt encouraged by their managers. The object is to con the referee into giving a wrong decision and most of it doesn't even attract a comment. Then when a ref actually makes a mistake that goes against them, they cry like babies. Gross hypocrisy. The day footballers stop their cheating will be the day they can begin to question the refs' performances.

Keep video technology out of football. Keep the game spontaneous. Let's shout and scream at the ref, have a moan in the pub afterwards, then go home and reflect that we are in the same boat as every other team in the country. Football is an imperfect game. It's played, watched and refereed by imperfect people. It should be a glorious escape from the regimentation and predictability that rules most of our lives. TV can be great for football, as long as it just shows it as it is, warts and all. It should not be allowed to control the game. Sadly that's how it seems to be going. If we ever get to the point where we have to sit there, freezing our knackers off in the middle of winter, while the referee examines a TV replay (which may not be conclusive anyway), that will be the end of my football watching.
[quote][p][bold]Davethered[/bold] wrote: The sooner they stop players and managers moaning and shouting at the officials the better it will be for the game. Without the officials there wouldn't be a game. I for one am fed up with these over paid , over rated prima donnas thinking they are always right , and their stupid managers backing them up. Play by the rules and stop the cheating , it's only a game.[/p][/quote]Spot on Dave. In every single game nowadays we see players trying to cheat the referee all the time, no doubt encouraged by their managers. The object is to con the referee into giving a wrong decision and most of it doesn't even attract a comment. Then when a ref actually makes a mistake that goes against them, they cry like babies. Gross hypocrisy. The day footballers stop their cheating will be the day they can begin to question the refs' performances. Keep video technology out of football. Keep the game spontaneous. Let's shout and scream at the ref, have a moan in the pub afterwards, then go home and reflect that we are in the same boat as every other team in the country. Football is an imperfect game. It's played, watched and refereed by imperfect people. It should be a glorious escape from the regimentation and predictability that rules most of our lives. TV can be great for football, as long as it just shows it as it is, warts and all. It should not be allowed to control the game. Sadly that's how it seems to be going. If we ever get to the point where we have to sit there, freezing our knackers off in the middle of winter, while the referee examines a TV replay (which may not be conclusive anyway), that will be the end of my football watching. Oi Den!
  • Score: 5

10:41am Sat 12 Apr 14

Old-Stager, Hilperton says...

I totally agree with Mark Cooper about poor refereeing and also the comments from Tobruk and Old Town Robin above.
Keith Stroud for instance, who unbelievably refused the blatant penalty in the first ten minutes of the second leg at home to Peterborough, and of course did not reduce Peterborough to ten men, actually cost Swindon Town a Wembley appearance this season.
Even the Peterborough Chairmen admitted that the decision was obviously wrong at half time on TV, and said their man should have walked.
Yet this little man ( Stroud ) walks away after the game without being made to explain this very important decision to anyone, or can admit a dreadful mistake on his part.
I totally agree with Mark Cooper about poor refereeing and also the comments from Tobruk and Old Town Robin above. Keith Stroud for instance, who unbelievably refused the blatant penalty in the first ten minutes of the second leg at home to Peterborough, and of course did not reduce Peterborough to ten men, actually cost Swindon Town a Wembley appearance this season. Even the Peterborough Chairmen admitted that the decision was obviously wrong at half time on TV, and said their man should have walked. Yet this little man ( Stroud ) walks away after the game without being made to explain this very important decision to anyone, or can admit a dreadful mistake on his part. Old-Stager, Hilperton
  • Score: 0

11:53am Sat 12 Apr 14

House with no name says...

More lame excuses for an inept unsuccessful season - wonder what the next excuse will be !

Answers on a postcard.
More lame excuses for an inept unsuccessful season - wonder what the next excuse will be ! Answers on a postcard. House with no name
  • Score: -3

1:54am Sun 13 Apr 14

harley red says...

Ffs you lot grow up if I had the little twit Pritchard moaning and abusing the ref all through the game the boy should have walked a few times then he may learn to shut up and do what he is paid for playing football . We had a penalty today and it was a 50-50 some you get some you don't . Smith hit an awfull spot kick did Cooper moan about that , no he didn't Cooper please take your moaning and do one , even people sat behind you get fed up with you . Thanks for nothing now pi?s off
Ffs you lot grow up if I had the little twit Pritchard moaning and abusing the ref all through the game the boy should have walked a few times then he may learn to shut up and do what he is paid for playing football . We had a penalty today and it was a 50-50 some you get some you don't . Smith hit an awfull spot kick did Cooper moan about that , no he didn't Cooper please take your moaning and do one , even people sat behind you get fed up with you . Thanks for nothing now pi?s off harley red
  • Score: 0

8:03am Sun 13 Apr 14

gibbo1012 says...

The worst thing they ever did was give the refs and linesman ear pieces the linesmen won't make a decision any more even for a throw in without getting the nod from the ref !!

The linesman on the don Rogers side was useless yesterday he was flagging offsides even when they were clearly a yard on side.

I totally agree the standard is getting worse year on year.
The worst thing they ever did was give the refs and linesman ear pieces the linesmen won't make a decision any more even for a throw in without getting the nod from the ref !! The linesman on the don Rogers side was useless yesterday he was flagging offsides even when they were clearly a yard on side. I totally agree the standard is getting worse year on year. gibbo1012
  • Score: 1

10:02am Sun 13 Apr 14

House with no name says...

Judging from the picture accompanying this article if someone was shouting at me like that they would definitely get no favourable decisions.

Reap what you sow.
Judging from the picture accompanying this article if someone was shouting at me like that they would definitely get no favourable decisions. Reap what you sow. House with no name
  • Score: -1

2:54pm Sun 13 Apr 14

Oi Den! says...

A question I've asked before on here: if refereeing standards really are getting worse year by year, can anyone offer a suggestion as to why that is?

Here are what I see as the possibilities:

1. Human beings, as a species, are becoming less capable of refereeing football matches. Seems very unlikely.

2. The people most capable of refereeing football matches are not applying to do it nowadays. I suppose that's possible - if so, maybe those doing the complaining are the ones we are missing.

3. Referees are not trained as well as they used to be. This seems almost impossible. I have had a look at the FA's website and it's clear that the training is far more intense and focused than it's ever been.

4. Referees are lazy and don't care whether they get things right or not. Can't believe it's this one. It's human nature to want your work to be appreciated.

Surely it has to be one of these? Or maybe not. The alternative I'd offer is that refereeing isn't getting worse at all. There is far more analysis than there's ever been, the game is much more difficult to ref than it used to be. It's faster than ever, there are more cheating players than there's ever been, and one team's view of a decision is often exactly the opposite to their opponents' view of the same one.

Those seeking the holy grail of perfection in refereeing are wasting their wishes. It's not only impossible, it's not even desirable. Refs have always made mistakes and they always will make mistakes. Does any body really want to see the day when we have some all-seeing robot that makes perfect decisions?

When the ref wrongly (I think) gave a goal kick to Brentford instead of a corner to us yesterday I was on my feet screaming and swearing at the ref. Imagine football without that.

Serious point folks - what do fellow fans think is the cause of the perceived problem? And what should be done about it?
A question I've asked before on here: if refereeing standards really are getting worse year by year, can anyone offer a suggestion as to why that is? Here are what I see as the possibilities: 1. Human beings, as a species, are becoming less capable of refereeing football matches. Seems very unlikely. 2. The people most capable of refereeing football matches are not applying to do it nowadays. I suppose that's possible - if so, maybe those doing the complaining are the ones we are missing. 3. Referees are not trained as well as they used to be. This seems almost impossible. I have had a look at the FA's website and it's clear that the training is far more intense and focused than it's ever been. 4. Referees are lazy and don't care whether they get things right or not. Can't believe it's this one. It's human nature to want your work to be appreciated. Surely it has to be one of these? Or maybe not. The alternative I'd offer is that refereeing isn't getting worse at all. There is far more analysis than there's ever been, the game is much more difficult to ref than it used to be. It's faster than ever, there are more cheating players than there's ever been, and one team's view of a decision is often exactly the opposite to their opponents' view of the same one. Those seeking the holy grail of perfection in refereeing are wasting their wishes. It's not only impossible, it's not even desirable. Refs have always made mistakes and they always will make mistakes. Does any body really want to see the day when we have some all-seeing robot that makes perfect decisions? When the ref wrongly (I think) gave a goal kick to Brentford instead of a corner to us yesterday I was on my feet screaming and swearing at the ref. Imagine football without that. Serious point folks - what do fellow fans think is the cause of the perceived problem? And what should be done about it? Oi Den!
  • Score: -1

6:02pm Sun 13 Apr 14

STFC1974 says...

As a former ref from the late 90s, I can honestly say that the managers and the staff do not make this an easy or enjoyable job anymore. I loved the time I spent doing the job, mostly because the 2 way respect was there for all to see.

I spent many a time laughing with the players I controlled and even enjoyed a drink with the managers after the games. The players these days just want to kick lumps out of one another or wave imaginary cards around.

I for one miss my time in the middle and would love to get back in the games
As a former ref from the late 90s, I can honestly say that the managers and the staff do not make this an easy or enjoyable job anymore. I loved the time I spent doing the job, mostly because the 2 way respect was there for all to see. I spent many a time laughing with the players I controlled and even enjoyed a drink with the managers after the games. The players these days just want to kick lumps out of one another or wave imaginary cards around. I for one miss my time in the middle and would love to get back in the games STFC1974
  • Score: 0

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