The Man in the Middle: Sunderland

There are only a few names that I really worry about popping up as our match referee.

Huxtable is obviously one, Stockbridge another, and sadly for us, the third you are about to read all about.

Referee: Carl Boyeson
Assistant Referee: Mark Cunliffe, Chris Isherwood
Fourth Official: Simon Clayton

We have been seeing Boyeson since 2002, so the first question I ask you is this – if he was a strong referee, would he have stepped up to the Premier League by now? Maybe he doesn’t want to, I might be harsh, but what I do know is a search on my site brings up two recent instances where I have been forced to criticise. The most obvious was Bristol Rovers at home last season, where he awarded them a soft penalty for a Tom Nichols dive and denied us one in the first half too. He’s worked for us by the way, he gave us a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Grimsby the same season which was soft, to say the least. He gave us a helping hand against Tranmere at home last year too, sending one of their lads off in rather soft circumstances. Boyeson is a landmine, waiting to be stepped upon.

Lost 4-1 against Crewe – Credit Graham Burrell

In total, he has officiated 20 Lincoln City matches, and to be fair, he isn’t one to flash a red. Some matches have passed without a yellow, including our 4-1 defeat at home against Crewe. I have always found him to be a referee who gets the basics wrong, which is easy to say when you wear rose-tinted spectacles (and think Akinde’s foul was only a yellow this weekend)

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe Boyeson has just irked me and isn’t a bad referee at all. However, there is another element of his appointment that has concerned a blog reader, who emailed me this:

“I have just seen who the referee for Saturday is and I am gobsmacked – Carl Boyeson. Now aside from the fact that he is one of the poorest referees we have seen in recent years, he is based in Hull. I do not know if he is a Hull fan, but even if not he must come into contact with plenty who are.

“Given the respective positions of Hull, Sunderland and ourselves, is this a sensible appointment- I think not. Even on a subconscious level his decisions could have a huge bearing on who gets the points. Some may argue that in the current positions that may favour us, but it cannot be right.

“We saw on Tuesday what I considered to be the worst refereeing performance of the season so far. Whilst Ross Joyce didn’t make any single game-changing decision it was clear that Evans had got to him. I am not suggesting bribery, but his mind games worked. Possibly subconsciously, but that is what I fear for Boyeson. I hope I am wrong.”

Are these fears founded, or are we just grasping at excuses for what we know is a season-defining game away at the biggest club in the division. the biggest side we’ve played domestically in fifty years? Probably the latter.