Communication missing at crucial moment for referee
IN a weekend spoiled for Yeovil Town fans by an over-zealous official, retired Premier League referee Mark Halsey spoke refreshing sense.
With officials - both past and current - so rarely allowed to speak to the media, Mr Halsey's discussion in a national Sunday newspaper screamed honesty.
The ref refused to sign a confidentiality agreement that would have seen him receive £50,000 upon his retirement, instead speaking openly about his career.
One point stood out more than any other a day after Trevor Kettle had yet again ensured he hit the headlines rather than the football in a Glovers' match.
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That point debated the merits of referees being able to defend decisions deemed most contentious post-match, in a similar fashion to the instantly familiar routine with managers.
At present, they are quite simply not allowed. But if ever there was a time when there would have been considerable benefit from the media being able to quiz a referee, it was following a particularly infuriating final 15 minutes from Mr Kettle at Huish Park.
Even ten minutes with Gary Johnson left us all with more questions than answers with regards to a match dominated by the hosts but settled by a controversial decision.
Would the media have wanted Mr Kettle to defend himself? Unlikely. I personally would have wanted five minutes with him just to work out what he had seen and what he had thought.
The Rutland man is no stranger to the wrath of Glovers' supporters having climbed the leagues with the team in green and white.
But against Reading, with the stakes at their highest so far with him in charge, he is unlikely to have received a more vociferous send-off at Huish Park.
Not one but two decisions enraged the home supporters. The first was the Reading penalty. Was Adam Le Fondre actually tripped or shoved by Luke Ayling? Or did the striker affectionately known as Alfie make a meal of it?
The second came just minutes later. Yeovil's Liverpool loanee Michael Ngoo appeared to be upended in the Royals' area just as he went to pull the trigger. Did Mr Kettle whistle in a near-identical situation? Barely a peep.
The more I watch back the two incidents, the more annoyed I become, even when I should be occupying a position of relative neutrality.
On Saturday evening Reading fans quite rightly pointed out that Yeovil's dominance meant little in a game they lost, with pressure not leading to the chances one would expect.
But at the same time, a team relegated from the Premier League just months ago and boasting a former Real Madrid attacker in their starting XI can feel very fortunate to have headed east on the A303 with all three points.
The game was destined for a goal-less draw until Mr Kettle - a man who awarded 14 penalties last season - ruined an otherwise good personal display by making his presence known in inimitable style.
Yes, once again Yeovil Town's lack of cutting edge in front of goal was brought into stern focus and they were taught a harsh lesson in not only the intelligence needed to succeed in the Sky Bet Championship but also the fine line between a point and none.
However, we could discuss until blue in the face about how a team that should ooze goals isn't cutting the mustard in the final third. The powers that be know that fact more than anyone and we must trust them to address it.
The Glovers are learning at a double-quick pace and after impressing against Birmingham City they again did their loyal faithful proud with an exceptional - if not perfect - display, dominating and bossing one of the teams tipped for glory.
I still have no doubt the goals will come and Yeovil will upset the largest of odds in the second tier of English football. It just does not help when they are let down by forces beyond their control that they are supposed to trust.
Communication is deemed a key skill in football, with managers and captains encouraged to discuss respectfully incidents in a game.
It just seems unbalanced that when the boot is on other foot the man with the whistle cannot publicly account for his actions.