What is it with referees at the moment? There seems a common theme of former refs coming out to the media, and recalling the oddest stories; if it’s not Howard Webb saying how players used to ask for yellow cards, it’s Mark Halsey revealing how he got tossed off in a cab. Apologies for that, if you’re eating whilst reading this; the image of Halsey in the back of a cab and having that, is as wrong as it is disturbing.
Anywho, remember Graham Poll? Yeah, that slightly chubby bloke who covered far too many big games; and even managed to give a player three yellow cards during one match. Plonker. Well Mr Poll has recently piped up with regards to Jose Mourinho losing his bottle – pardon the pun – in Man United’s most recent match against West Ham.
Mourinho’s reaction to the Paul Pogba yellow card; unnecessary, over-the-top, and ridiculous. Just like Graham-deluded-Poll’s comments following the incident…
“Referees have had enough of the clear lack of respect the Portuguese displays, none more so than Moss, who also dismissed him last season.
“So now referees are doing their jobs it’s time the FA did theirs. A six-game stadium ban might just do the trick.”
We’re sorry, Mr Poll, the United boss theatrics were a joke, and it’s almost a forceful reaction which shows how the Portuguese boss is slowly crumbling. But, six bloody games?! Really, pal?!
Needless to say, it’s as if the former Chelsea gaffer is trying too hard; trying too hard to find that mojo which he could get away with when at Chelsea. It’s different at United, you’ve got to react with a cooler head and be more pragmatic in your media delivery.
However much Poll, or John Moss for that matter dislike Mourinho, the refs comments and actions show how Jose used to effectively work in between the lines and how the former Porto boss used to be able to manipulate officials over his career; that has completely gone now.
Poll said this of Mourinho over three years ago…
“He was very charming and introduced me to the team as ‘the best referee in Europe’. (I had refereed Porto three times and they had won every game which probably helped).
He works with such a charm that you don’t think you’re being worked. Before the game he is lovely, too.”
The sly tactics, and under the hand movements to get in referees ‘good books’, is made evident as Poll recalls the time he came back to Stamford Bridge after taking charge of Mourinho’s first game in charge…
“Five weeks later I returned. The referee’s room had two new showers, complimentary toiletries and a flat-screen TV.”
There’s a clear undertone to this. A clear way of being within the rules, by tweaking the ones on the surface. Mourinho used to do it brilliantly, but he’s now lost that touch, lost that charm. Rather than a flat screen, it’s a bloody grumpy Portuguese man in a post-match interview. A man sent off twice already to the stands this season. A man with an FA fine, greater than his own room service bill.
That banter, that rapport, the Chelsea boss used to share with these officials has completely been shattered, that now every Tom, Dick and Harry are after him, whether they are a former or current ref. The same goes for the way he could woo a press room. There’s no more banter, no more chicken and horse references, but a forever ringing ‘unlucky’ message, and subtle/ridiculously obvious jibes at players.
Take a look at Ryan Giggs ultimate Man United XI…