Football managers seem to be itching for the opportunity not only to pick their own teams – but to have a say in who referees them as well, writes John Payne.
Jose Mourinho became the latest manager to suggest someone was not fit to officiate his team after Chelsea's 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa on Saturday.
Chris Foy sent off two Chelsea players and allowed Villa's Joe Bennett to escape with a yellow for a so-called professional foul. By general consensus, he had a bit of a shocker.
Mourinho used his words carefully, but the message to the FA was clear: “I think from now on, the next time we have Mr Foy, I have to work my people in a different way.
“They need to analyse the situation and see if every time he has Chelsea... problems are there. I just think maybe it would be a good decision.”
Mourinho’s words were not a surprise, but what did shock was that, in their respective newspaper columns, former referees Mark Halsey and Graham Poll reserved their sympathy for Mourinho rather than Foy.
Poll described Chelsea’s request as “understandable” and says he would be surprised if they saw Foy – who also sent off two Blues in similar circumstances at QPR last term – again this season.
Whatever you think of Foy’s performance on Saturday this is an incredibly slippery slope that further undermines the role of the referee – and let’s face it, their job is nigh-on impossible in the modern game.
If Chelsea are seen to succeed it could be Fulham, AFC Wimbledon or our non-League teams trying to deselect a referee next because, in most given matches, one side or the other tends to feel hard done by to some extent.
I think the FA needs to respond the opposite way to calls for certain referees not to officiate certain clubs – and Chelsea should get another visit from Mr Foy very soon.
Perhaps that would persuade one or two managers to concentrate about the performance of their own players.