Molesey 7   Chiddingfold 1 (League)

 

20th February 2005

‘Maybe I should have got my cards out – I was embarrassed by them today’

Molesey referee after the game

Due to what was the worst game Chidd have ever had to endure, the following report was sent to GSDL Divisional Sec.

 

21st February 2005

Dear Peter,

Re: Molesey Juniors 7 Chiddingfold 1

I am writing to express my deep concern at the behaviour of some of the Molesey players and supporters at the above match yesterday, and at the performance of the referee whom Molesey provided, after the appointed referee had to withdraw through illness earlier in the week.

I should say that we have played Molesey several times over the last few years with no luck and we are not in the least bit concerned about being beaten by them or anyone else. We quite accept that in a competitive game there is likely to be some rough play on both sides and, with some teams, a certain amount of verbal sparring as well.

We also accept that referees, even ones linked to the providing club as in this case, are doing their best and are as likely to make mistakes as the players and their managers are. We drum it into our boys that they should never argue with a referee, that they should just get on with the game and that if a referee makes a wrong decision which goes against them, then it is likely to go for them next time and will even itself out over a season.

This game went way beyond anything like that.

From the beginning a minority of the Molesey players (not all) were intent on trying to physically and verbally intimidate our boys in any way they could. Aside from straightforward foul play, they spent the entire match issuing a succession of verbal threats ‘to see you afterwards’, to ‘punch you in the face next time you do that’ and the like. They also continually elbowed, punched and kicked our boys away from the ball.

The referee (supposedly qualified) was completely unable or unwilling to control the game and woefully out of his depth. Some of the abuse and assaults happened out of his hearing or field of vision, but many did not, and he did nothing but occasionally give a foul. Two footed tackles, punches in the stomach, stamping on shins, all went unpunished by anything more than (sometimes) a free kick.

When we tried to draw his attention to what was going on, he said that he was ‘only here as a favour’, that ‘everyone was making his job very difficult’ and that ‘your boys are no angels either’.

The idea that our boys were as bad, or that this was in any way ‘six of one and half a dozen of the other’ is simply untrue. They kept their heads in the most admirable fashion and refused either to get involved in, or be intimidated by, the thuggish behaviour of some of their opponents. However, at half time they told us some of the things which had been going on, not all of which we had been aware of, and some of them had to be talked into going back on for the second half. They weren’t frightened – it just wasn’t any fun.

At one point early in the second half I asked the referee to keep an eye on Molesey’s worst offender, who was yet again clearly verbally threatening one of our boys. Virtually the entire Molesey team turned and told me to shut up, one of them telling me to ‘mind my own f---ing business’.

In terms of the football itself, as opposed to what the scoreline would suggest, it was a very close, tight match with our keeper keeping us in it with some outstanding saves. Molesey were 1-0 up at half time and, about ten minutes into the second half, we deservedly equalised. The match was turning into a gripping encounter and our boys began to sense that at least a point was there for the taking.

Then a Molesey attack broke down. They overhit the ball which went over the line for a goal kick, in spite of the efforts of a Molesey striker to get to it. The linesman flagged that it had gone off, our boys stopped and turned to go upfield for the goal kick, the Molesey boys did likewise, the Molesey striker got the ball and irritatingly poked it into the net (which was par for the course).

At this point the referee blew for a goal. During the protests which followed he claimed that the whole of the ball had not previously gone over the line. He over-ruled the linesman, who had been much more in line with the ball than he was.

Afterwards my son, who had been close to the ball at the time, said it was at least a foot over the line (if it hadn’t been, he would have said so). It was the worst decision I have seen in nine years of managing the team and gave the game to Molesey.

After that, our boys understandably could see no point in playing the game. The Molesey players, who had no sense of shame, celebrated as though they had won the World Cup – and continued kicking and abusing their way through the remainder of the match, getting their five other goals in about the last twenty minutes.

About five minutes from time I was called onto the pitch to treat a defender who had been stamped on, again following a tackle. The Molesey supporters, who seemed to think that he was diving (!) were pouring scorn on him. When one of our lady supporters tried to protest, she was told to f--- off and kept quiet for fear of provoking anything worse. At this point the Molesey manager substituted the boy who had committed the foul (who had been the worst offender all through the match) and she thought this boy was going to go for her. All my team wanted to know why we just didn’t walk off the pitch there and then, and to be honest I wish we had.

After the game the referee came over to us and said that he had been embarrassed by his team’s behaviour and that perhaps he should have used his cards. To put it mildly, this was wholly inadequate. His utter inability to protect those being fouled, or to control the game with anything like a consistent or fair approach was completely reprehensible.

The Molesey manager seemed to be in complete denial about what had happened. When our fixtures secretary spoke to him some time after the match was over, he said that aggression was part of his boys’ game and seemed to feel there was nothing wrong with their behaviour. Aggression is one thing. This was just thuggery.

We feel very strongly that, at the very least, an experienced and independent referee should be appointed for all of Molesey’s games in the future.

Yours sincerely,

M.C. Ward

Chiddingfold FC U15 Manager 

As of this time, we have still to have a reply back from the GSDL