What a shocker that penalty débâcle featuring Newcastle and Burton Albion was. I honestly just do not get it… how you can get four guys getting it so very, very wrong, and not one assistant has found it in himself to say, “Hang on, ref”.
Were these guys simply too embarrassed to put a flag up or tell Keith Stroud what he had done? It’s part of their job, so I see no reason why they should have been.
People seem to have settled on some consensus that justice was somehow served because Newcastle won the match, but try telling that to Brighton if a goal makes all the difference to their survival on the last day of the season. Try telling that to those with bets on the score and any number of combinations of matches and goal difference.
They say it would have been replayed had Newcastle not won, but that’s no solution for me and there could yet be implications.
Such a collective breakdown may well have been a one-off, but as I have used this platform in the past to call for bans of various lengths in the cases of players and managers, it would be wrong not to give my opinion on the punishment these boys deserve. And I’d say six games, minimum.
Don’t get me wrong, I am no expert on the Laws myself, but men in this position should not hold their position if they do not know the rules!
Another subject of intense debate was the red card given by Craig Pawson to Sebastian Larsson in the Sunderland -Manchester United match. I could actually have easily seen that decision overturned, because it was such a harsh one given that the player used to be a winger and everyone knows forwards can’t tackle!
I was actually astonished as I watched on TV and could well understand David Moyes going crazy on the touchline. I really felt for him, even though I don’t honestly feel the decision particularly influenced the outcome of the match.
There was no violence in the tackle, which was reckless at best, and I agreed with the Jamie Carragher comment about Herrera’s history being a factor because I myself remember going in higher if I felt it would save my tendons and stop me being dumped in the treatment room for a long stretch. You had to protect yourself in a 50/50 because the likes of Graeme Souness or Jimmy Case would literally take no prisoners.
Referees, just like players themselves, should do their homework and in this case I am sure that would have resulted in a yellow card.
Of course that can go for and against a forward, as my old colleague Eric Gates would find only too often when he would be denied a penalty after the officials got it into their heads he was going to ground too easily.
Eric had a low centre of gravity and had a way of twisting that gave refs the wrong idea, but players know players and referees should make it their business to get the same kind of feel for the game. Any touch and they will go down now, and heaven knows that does not make the ref’s job an easy one.
Even so, I think that, had Pawson prepared better and taken into account the characters involved, we would have kept 11 players on each side and witnessed a better spectacle all round.
Until next time you can catch me on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast every week day on TalkSPORT, 6-10am.