Referees, the bane of every supporter at least once during the season. Consistency, fairness, and general intelligence seem to be beyond the enforcers of the beautiful games rules.
It’s a challenge in itself to determine five of the worst to have ‘refereed’ a football match, the possibilities remain endless, but here are five who take the ‘prestigious’ title of being the worst referees.
- Graham Poll
Not the worse ever referee, doing fairly well in his 26 years of officiating, Poll managed to effectively ruin his reputation worldwide in a matter of minutes during the 2006 World Cup game between Australia and Croatia. Booking Croatian Josip Simunic not once, not twice, but for a third time before sending him off the pitch. This rather monumental gaffe at the biggest tournament in football ended Graham Polls chances of officiating the final.
- Mark Clattenburg
Mark Clatternburg, a name that still brings out the derision of Tottenham fans everywhere for an incredibly stupendous error in a game he has officiated with them. The most famous being the 2005 Premier League contest between Spurs and Manchester United, as Pedro Mendes sensational 45 yard strike was laughably fumbled by United keeper Roy Carroll one metre into the back of the net. Such a goal was noticed by the players, the benches, the crowd, and the TV cameras. But not to Clattenburg, who ruled the goal to have not crossed the line and allowed play to continue. Perhaps going blind is part of the job?
- Martin Hansson
Mr Hansson certainly won’t be going to the local pubs in Dublin for the foreseeable future, not after crushing an entire nations dreams of qualifying for the World Cup. With the second leg of the tie locked 1-1 on aggregate, Ireland were well within a chance of qualifying for the tournament at Frances expense. However, just outside the Irish post France striker Thierry Henry, a worldwide idol for his talent and typical sportsmanship, displayed a juggling act that would have made Maradona proud, controlling the ball with his hand and laying a pass to William Gallas to send France through 2-1 on aggregate. Such a blatant foul was seen across the world, but Hansson let it stand.
- Lee Mason
To many fans, referees seem to take bias towards the bigger clubs in matches, especially when such clubs are playing at home. Mr Mason providing a blatant example of this during Manchester United’s home match against QPR last season. With United gunning for another league title, Ashley Young was brought down in the 14th minute by Shaun Derry, and despite the rather easy nature in how Young went down, and the fact he was in an offside position at the time. Mason sent of Derry anyway and awarded a penalty. A decision that could have drastically altered the title race, and the relegation battle a few weeks later.
- Howard Webb
Howard Webb, leading English referee, counted as one of the best at his profession, closet Manchester United fan. Webb has been selected for many of the most important games in recent football history, including the 2010 World Cup final. That doesn’t however, make him exempt from some of the worst gaffes in recent times, a notable one being Kenny Dalglish’s first game in charge of his return to Liverpool against Manchester United.
It didn’t take long for Webb to make his first error of the game, mistakenly deciding that Daniel Agger had fouled Dimitar Berbatov inside the box inside the Liverpool box, and awarding United a first minute penalty. Later on Webb continued to make a farce of the match by sending off Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard for an alleged two footed lunge, leading to Dalglish to criticise him after the game for such a harsh decision. This led to Liverpool being knocked out the FA Cup 1-0, and Ryan Babel to famously post a picture of Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt.
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