In the latest edition of “Know Thy Enemy”, we turn our attention to referee Rob Styles, one of the Premiership’s most controversial referees until he retired last year. Styles screwed numerous clubs over with awful decisions, notably Liverpool back in 2007 and suffered so much abuse by Premiership players and fans that he had to call it a day last year and retire.
Liverpool fans will remember Styles’ day of infamy in August 2007, when he wrongly awarded Chelsea a penalty and then booked Michael Essien twice without sending the Chelsea midfielder off. Fiercely criticised over his officiating of the game, Styles was forced to apologise to Liverpool over his penalty decision.
Other high-profile gaffes include Styles awarding Manchester United a penalty last season after he adjudged Jlloyd Samuel’s tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo to be a foul, which video replays clearly show was not the case. Then Bolton boss Gary Megson described the decision as a “cataclysmic cock up”.
Styles also alienated Man City and Newcastle fans in his career, awarding a penalty for Birmingham in 2008 against Man City that was debatable at best, when Sun Jihai brought down Birmingham striker Gary McSheffrey, but it turned out to be a perfectly good challenge. Also in 2008, Styles awarded City a penalty against Newcastle and sent off defender Habib Beye, despite the then-Newcastle manager making a perfectly good tackle.
Styles retired in June 2009, reportedly disillusioned with the demands of top-level refereeing. Just don’t expect Styles to be welcomed to Anfield or any ground with open arms any time soon, or any one of the multiple clubs he alienated with his often-baffling decisions.