Rhead’s antics: Fair play or foul?

Rhead loves a wind up

This weekend not only saw us thoroughly humiliated at home to Crewe, but it also saw an otherwise decent referee put a stop to Rhead’s habit of standing in front of the keeper at the direct free kick.

The harsh truth is that for all of Rhead’s antics, our direct set pieces have been beyond dire this season, but that doesn’t change the fact Rhead is trying to break up the organisation between keeper and wall. However, Carl Boyeson felt it was something he should put a stop to, moving Rhead on. Was he correct?

It seems to be quite a grey area. If Rhead is just standing in front of the keeper, then there’s no issue, but whether his movement causes an offence is going to depend on the referee at the time. I’ve consulted a couple of ‘ask the ref’ websites for their views and have got the following answers.

“I have no problem with an attacker standing in front of the keeper. It’s when that player moves to block the path of the keeper, or makes distracting gestures to distract or block his view, then that’s an issue. The former can be penalised as impeding or charging, the latter would become unsporting behaviour (cautionable). As long as he stands there that’s fine – I’d expect most keepers would try to get in front of the attacker, potentially leading to a bit of jostling – if the ball isn’t play, then hold up the restart and have a quick word with the players involved before it escalates – the last thing you want is to be forced into a controversial decision moments after the ball has been put into play.”

So is Rhead’s behaviour unsporting? Well, according to another referee, no. They take the view that a player can stand where he (or she) wants prior to the ball being in play and the issue only occurs if the ball comes into play and the player is still impeding the keeper.

“It is a general principle underlying the Law that players are not permitted to “play” the opponent rather than the ball. Except under certain conditions spelled out in the Laws (such as at a penalty kick or throw-in or goal kick), a player is permitted to stand wherever he or she wishes. After the ball is put in play, a player who — without playing or attempting to play the ball — jumps up and down in front of the goalkeeper to block the ‘keeper’s vision or otherwise interferes with the ‘keeper’s ability to play the ball is committing the foul of impeding an opponent. Before the ball is in play, the referee can simply allow the opponent of the ‘keeper to impede, wait for the restart to occur, blow the whistle, award an indirect free kick coming out, and card if needed. This is the “harsh” approach and it carries the danger, provided the jostling doesn’t sufficiently enrage the goalkeeper (or any other defender), that the tensions or violence will escalate to something more serious.”

It seems that the current laws leave it to interpretation as to whether an offence is committed or not. I can see the ‘unsporting’ element from Carl Boyeson’s point of view, but I’m not sure there’s an issue until the ball is put into play. I don’t think he was correct in moving Rheady out of the way before the kick was taken, but until we can actually get them on target, it really doesn’t matter one way or another.




  1. Fair to play for trying to move him!
    Don’t think the ref should have tried to move him, if Rheady had put his hands on the ref he’d have been in big trouble! Smacks a bit of double standards to me.

  2. Rheady doing this has proven to be an utter waste of time and actually makes him look like a fool. Maybe his energies and concentration would be better spent getting into goal scoring positions.
    Our dismal free kicks this year make you wonder what we do practice. There has been no quality or variety. Very disappointing part of our play.
    Maybe Rheady should try taking one.

  3. Whether Rhead is right or wrong I think his behaviour demeans the club. It is blatant gamesmanship and should be prevented by the manager. Whilst on the subject of gamesmanship I’m a little disturbed by the injuries to our goalkeeper that occur when Danny needs to speak to the rest of the team. At least one opposition manager has commented on this and referees must be realising it’s a ploy.

  4. I’m fed up with these antics and the late goalkeeping injuries. The Cowleys seem like a breath of fresh air in terms of a professional hardworking analytical approach, as such why cant they apply the same professionalism to antics like this and players/managers moaning at the ref. We would get more credit for this than discredit for the dodgy antics refferred to. Lets aim high in terms of behavior and drive to drive change for the better.

  5. Rheaddeee Rheaddeee. He’s just having a bit of banter with the goalie – no harm and lightens the mood with the crowd. Imps 4ever

  6. I’m not sure I’d be particularly impressed if an oppositiom player did this to our goalie, amusing or not.Ref. should not have physically moved him however.

  7. I thought it was funny last season. I find it a bit unprofessional now. Ditto the regular goalkeeping injuries mentioned in another comment. Let’s win within the spirit of the game, not just the narrow rules of the game. We rightly complain about the cynicism of certain other managers. Let’s be better than that.

  8. I’m assuming Rhead is doing it with the managers’ blessing, so they must see a point to it. What do people think about the tactic of standing in front of the keeper when he’s kicking out from hands? Its not unique to Lincoln but we seem to do it more than most?

  9. I don’t like Rheady’s antics, he’s representing all of us when he’s wearing the red & white.
    It’s not the only thing we do that pushes the boundaries either.
    We can do without it & lets be honest, if the oppos did it we’d be crying foul.

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