Date:Sunday January 15 2006
Referee Graham Poll had what can only described as a very good game. While that may come as a surprise to many it was a game that was tailor made for him. With the absence of a high profile team, manager or stars Mr Poll is likely to referee fairly and effectively. Pleasing Steve Bruce or Alan Curbishley is not going to gain him any kudos so if you are not playing one of the big boys then Mr Poll is probably the man to have.
Throughout the game he was consistent which is what any spectator wants from a ref and also reasonably inconspicuous. If there was a mistake he used the 'make up call rule effectively. There was only one contentious issue when Izzet through on goal in the second half, was brought down. Poll issued only a yellow card and thankfully for him Match of the Day nor Sky’s Football First bothered to show it.
Strange that Ronaldo’s lunge at Man City and Robben’s ridiculous celebration at Sunderland have been dissected a million times already with respective managers and Andy Gray ‘bemused’ at the decision. Well lads read the Laws of the game or better still this column and you might have some idea at what’s going on!!
Those decisions were spot on but at the Valley where England’s number one official (Mr Poll’s opinion not mine) may have got something wrong, not so much as a viewing, let alone a replay.
The stats of the game bear out Mr Polls fairness in that the possession 56% in Blues favour was also reflected in the free kick count. (21 against Charlton to 13 against Blues) A free kick awards possession to the non offending side therefore it follows the two figures should be in similar proportions. It is usually the side not in possession committing the fouls so the more fouls they commit the less possession they can expect.
The game began with 3 quick offences against Chris Sutton. With the camera obviously on him on his debut Mr Poll managed to get along side him early to ensure his face on the goggle box too.
Mr Poll is a self seeker and full of himself and as a referee he is entitled to be. That is the very nature of the beast. No one but himself on that football field is going to do a thing to make him look a better referee. They talk about the officials being a team but nothing is further from the truth. When a linesman flags for an offence then the onlookers assume that the ref has missed it. Equally the reverse is true. Referees are not team people. They became refs because, if the actually had any mates, they wouldn’t let them play.
They will go to extraordinary lengths to get up the ladder and stepping over a colleague is always fair game. Mr Poll lives in Tring in Hertfordshire. This idyllic village remarkably had as many as three League officials. London has two.
Geography has a lot to do with a ref’s progress and the FA like people who live away from the football centres. With a dozen or so teams in London a London based ref could never ref a quarter of any league programme. Some of them move out to places like Tring to accentuate their neutrality and improve their availability. Mr Poll for all I know may have lived their all his life of course and would have made it wherever he came from.
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