By Keith Ingham
After leaving 'church' at the end of a frustrating game when Leeds United fell to their first Championship defeat of 2015 most or nearly all conversations were around the handling of the game by Graham Salisbury. "We don't arf get them" was one urinal philosopher comment and a few more with a lot more expletives in.
They say it's a lonely job but Mr Salisbury handling the game was frankly abysmal, he never let play flow and missed two certain penalties, the first was when Rudy Austin was sent crashing to the floor just before the break, if given Leeds would have had the opportunity to go into the break 1-0 but Salisbury waved away determined Leeds pleas for a penalty, but if it wasn't a penalty surely Austin should have been booked for 'simulation'. Far too many players take the easy option of hitting the dirt but I've never though of Rudy as one of them.
Every season we seem to get the poorest referees possible, especially at Elland Road. If you haven't read the excellent book 'No Glossing Over it' by Gary Edwards he does a great job of going back through the years. 1967 semi final versus Chelsea when Leeds scored from a free kick that was disallowed, the 1972 game versus WBA when a 2-1 defeat put a dent in our pursuit of the Championship. These are only a couple of matches and read his book it's very interesting and makes you think there was a conspiracy against us.
I'm not for one moment suggesting that the Football League in it's pursuit of our club (I am really) is earmarking us for the poorest referees to try and do their level best to keep us within the bottom places in the Championship but the standard of the men in the middle has surprised me, even the elite from the Premiership leave a lot to be desired. Maybe when Howard Webb hung up his red jersey for the last time he knew it was time to blow his whistle for full time on his distinguished Manchester United biased career. He knew what was left wasn't the best standard.
We still boast that our referees are the best but when the big games need a referee it's usually other countries who supply them. I think that their needs to be some lines of communication after games where managers can openly challenge decisions, at the moment any manager that dares to say anything against the officials he will be hit hard in the pocket by the Football League.
The thing that scares me the most is that in a pivotal moment in a game that is imperative to our season we again comes across Mr Salisbury or the like and he again 'does us'. The situation doesn't bare thinking about dear fans.
M O T