Andre Marriner

Hello again, what I’d really like to do is give you my thoughts on the challenge presented to a team of officials by pitch-invading beachballs. But, seeing as I’ve yet to catch up on my recording of the recent Old Firm clash, having grabbed a break in Greece which meant missing the welcome return of the Glasgow derby, that will have to wait.

The start of the season saw the revival of the debate over what referees earn, and I would draw a distinction between the remuneration a lower league official has a right to expect and the professionals at the top of the tree in this country.

I know Keith Hackett has called for a salary of a quarter of a million quid for the guys at the top, and my TalkSPORT colleague Stuart Pearce has gone even further by predicting a figure of half a million when referring to a careers discussion he was having with a teenage relative of his who was looking to get into the game.

I certainly would have no problem at all giving our top referees double what they are on now. After all, if they are the best in our country then they must be among the very best in Europe, and the levels of scrutiny and the pressure they are under are at the very least similar to what the players have to contend with.

Even average Premier League players can be on 80 grand a week, so giving the referees who share that spotlight the same per year as what the best players are on a week would be a step in the right direction.

I’m not saying they should be superstars or anything like that, but at the end of the day modern football is awash with television money and the investment which foreign ownership brings to the game, so the referees deserve more of a share. And that’s not the extent of their earning potential.

I do a lot of dinners and believe me there is a market for the punters to hear the referee’s side of the story too, because it’s all entertainment at the end of the day. As soon as the guys are out of the firing line and can tell tales of big names they refereed prior to their retirement, that’s fine with me.

Mike Riley
Mike Riley

Without fans there is no game, remember, and this brings me to the subject of current referees not being able to talk, as things stand. Mike Riley went on TalkSPORT with Mark Saggers not so long ago and made a weak case for keeping referees silent.

Personally, I think this short-changes the paying customer… just look at Andre Marriner’s recent experience. If he can come out at 6.30 or 7pm and talk to the cameras, covering everything, by the way, not just the contentious issues, then he can say why he’s given a decision and the punters would love it.

He only has to say, I believe that replays clearly show such and such, but unfortunately I did not see so and so, and I haven’t had the chance to view the same angles everyone has, and that’s that.

Everybody makes mistakes but he is not even getting the chance to say as much and it’s a pity. I don’t want to dig out Andre, the same goes for all referees: the post-match recap would allow all of us to move on and would clear up all the kinds of things that go on, sometimes lingering in the media for weeks afterwards.

Until next time you can catch me on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast every week day on TalkSPORT, 6-10am.

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