Six year we waited to get back into the Football League, and when we do we discover the level of officiating is just as bad as ever and the FA are still a closed shop when it comes to over turning appeals and sowing common sense.
We appealed the red card shown to Billy Knott on the grounds it was ludicrous, the referee couldn’t see it properly and he later ignored his own precedent by not sending off Jorge Grant for a worse high boot. What we’ve been given is a big fat middle finger by the jumped up suits that run the game. They’ve closed ranks and protected one of their own despite him being clearly in the wrong.
We now lose Billy for three games whilst Grant is fine to continue pulling the strings in County’s midfield all because one man, Seb Stockbridge, deemed it so. He ruined the game for 4,000 travelling fans and the FA don’t have the decency or respect to properly consider the case. What reason can there be for not overturning the red card other than down right stubbornness? If it is a red card, how come they haven’t retrospectively viewed the Grant incident and given him a three-match ban also?
Are the FA now saying it is up to the victim as to whether a player gets sent off or not? If we’re having trouble with a centre forward we just have to get Raggs to dive in head-first at his feet and he should be sent off. That’s what effectively happened on Saturday. Ryan Yates stooped below the acceptable height for a header and we’ve been punished. It stinks, it is a gross and damaging interpretation of the law and the suits at the FA must know that. Mind you, this is the same organisation that obtained a safe guarding report on their England’s women manager and then didn’t read it, so I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised.
I’m not lashing out at County here, we enjoyed 30 minutes of good, honest battling and endeavour. Jorge Grant’s challenge was worse than Knott’s but I didn’t clamour for him to be sent off. It’s the wild and unchallenged inconsistency that bothers me, and the pig-headed and blinkered attitude that the referee must be right.
I genuinely fear for the future of officials if this is the way the FA handle a gross and incompetent decision such as the one we saw on Saturday. How can we ever expect to respect their decisions if we get treated in this manner? How can officials tell bare-faced lies about what happened, and then when video evidence disputes this they still get backed up? We’ve been promoted into a nasty little boys club run by fools.
I’ll draw a line under this issue now, like ‘you-know-who’ at Mansfield and ‘you-know-who’ at Forest Green, I’ll call a self imposed amnesty. We’ve been the victim of a gross injustice today, we’ve been played for fools by an ignorant and stubborn FA who have sullied the reputation of the game with their tunnel vision and obtuse handling of the case. Any steps that could have been taken in clarifying the rules or in building bridges have been dashed. Tomorrow night we don’t know what height is acceptable for a boot, we don’t know what constitutes foul play or endangering an opponent. The owners of our beautiful game are ruining it for clubs. If this had been Liverpool or Man United and the videos had been in newspapers and on TV the appeal would have been successful, but we’re not and it is not.
I lost some respect for the English game today and I feel incredibly sad about that.