The calmest person on the planet, aka Daniel Farke, said following the Brentford match…
I am still annoyed about several decisions against us. My feeling is we were more or less not allowed to win.
Strong words from our Daniel indeed. And very atypical of the man, it must be said.
When you have three then surely you should get one, but I can live with those (penalties not awarded). I can’t live with the situation with Teemu (Pukki). That was 100 per cent a penalty, a foul, and (if we score it) we go into the lead. You might also speak about a red card. I am not here asking for cards, but you have to be honest
So that’s three refs in a row for us who have been less than exceptional. From what I can ascertain the Bees’ fans were equally scathing about the performance of Gavin Ward, Short of demanding Lee Mason every match I don’t know what we can do about it.
Yes, I know we lost in that crazy game against WBA but Mr Mason was excellent that day.
With all that considered I think, deep down, most of us will be happy to have returned from West London with a point given the stresses of collective tiredness and individual injury under which we have been operating of late.
I am sure fatigue was a contributory factor to the muscular injuries picked up by both Marco Stiepermann and Alex Tettey. And from what I’ve seen (which is quite a bit) Brentford looked a very decent side indeed.
Farke stuck when he might have twisted in terms of team selection, but with nearly two weeks until the next Championship match, he must have thought it was worth the risk of putting out the team that he did.
However, I have to agree with the many calls that are already coming from every type of media for Farke to give what’s left of our first-team regulars a break against Portsmouth in the FA Cup this Saturday.
It’s not as straightforward as saying “it’s only the Cup – we’re concentrating on the League and if we devalue the integrity of a knock-out competition by fielding a weakened team, so be it”.
By his own definition, Farke is a big fan of the cup competitions but some of our regulars need a rest against Portsmouth.
Stiepermann and Tettey will definitely be getting said break but we are yet to find out who else might benefit. I would suggest that with Jordan Rhodes, Grant Hanley, Michael McGovern, Ivo Pinto and Tom Trybull all more than capable and in need of minutes and Kenny McLean previously pencilled in to return in this fixture, there is plenty of scope to allow a bit of R&R.
And why not pop a few Under-23s on the bench, even if only to give them some experience of the big match atmosphere. I have only seen Adam Idah play once and would love to see him again, even if it is only a late cameo.
Those to benefit from aforementioned R&R might well include Teemu Pukki, Todd Cantwell, Timm Klose, Christoph Zimmermann, Max Aarons and… Tim Krul.
Now Krul has come in for a largely unjustified amount of stick from certain quarters ever since his arrival in NR1. Sure he makes the odd mistake – what keeper doesn’t? – but he pulled off a couple of worldies at Griffin Park. If that performance doesn’t silence his detractors, then nothing will.
They say things come in threes and that occurred once again on Tuesday in that we had three of the back four booked before half-time and ended up with three strikers on the pitch in Pukki, Rhodes and Dennis Srbeny, who of course could have snatched victory right at the end but instead dragged a tame shot wide of the far post.
On reflection, this match was an exemplary case of a well-deserved draw for both sides and I have no complaints.
And talking of complaints Farke did add that he felt that referee Ward did his best, so I don’t expect any FA charges to follow.
I wonder what our buddies Chris and Colin would have said. Hmm.
At the risk of gloating and being repetitive surely there can never be a better time to conclude with Mind the Gap.
It’s 34 points now I believe. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.
Good piece Martin – you echo many of my thoughts. Regarding refereeing, I’ve got to say that the standard in the Championship this season has been particularly poor. As a fan and spectator, the best compliment a refereeing performance can get is that their performance isn’t really discussed or scrutinised after a game – I’m not sure that can really be said for any of the games over the past 6 weeks. In the interests of being fair and balanced, its a need for the officials to get the decisions right for both sides. Yet we seem to have these ongoing scenarios in games where perhaps an official makes a wrong call, recognises it and then spends the rest of the game trying to balance them out for both sides. That said, as a Canary-fan living in relative exile here in the land-locked East Midlands, I do get to see some of the local sides League 2 sides in action. The refereeing standard further down the tree is even worse so Ipswich fans be warned 😉
As for Saturday and the FA Cup tie against Portsmouth I think its going to be a bit of strange game. On paper it should be cracker given that both sides are going well in their respective divisions but I suspect Pompey will also have one eye on their league priorities. For Norwich, resting players would be ideal but given the current injury situation I’m not entirely sure realistically how it will pan out – needs must and all that. However, I for one am interested to see Ben Marshall and Felix Passlack. Marshall hasn’t really been seen since early on in the season. Passlack remains a bit of an enigma, very highly rated by Dortmund but been surpassed by the amazing progress of Max Aarons and subsequently, one of the main fall-guys to accommodate the home grown rule….
Would also like to take this opportunity to say all the best to Matt Jarvis on his loan spell at Walsall. He has had a torrid time with injuries this past couple of years and it will be great to see him get back out on the pitch and playing.
Michael D says
The refereeing might not have been good, especially missing a stonewall penalty. At the same time, going into that match with fatigued legs and muscles with no changes at all to a side playing its third match in a week, was Daniel’s decision alone and an obvious bad call when he was two injuries down soon after half time. And Hanley still not on the pitch. Sorry Daniel, that was not just about the ref, it was self-inflicted too.
martin penney says
Fair point Michael.
I still think Farke backed the right horse but the flak comes flying thick and fast at this stage of the season.
I’ll forgive the error, which with 20:20 hindsight was a mistake indeed. He knows the condition of his players which us supporters truly do not. Sure, it backfired on him – and us.
We must regroup after Portsmouth and go again with what we have left. I’m seriously hoping Stiepermann and Tettey will recover safely from their strains.
Don Harold says
Sometimes I can’t imagine why refs miss glaring and obvious penalties like Pukki’s but then I’m reminded that Raab was surprised that a lot of stuff travels between Calais and Dover and realise incompetence isn’t restricted to football officialdom.
I am annoyed of the criticism of Krul, more so in other places rather than here. I think he was absolutely the best we could have got at the time-I had wanted to see Remi Matthews given a chance but he has failed to break through at Bolton so it seems that the coaching staff (who saw him every day) knew what they were doing. Krul is trying to re-establish himself after an injury plagued couple of years and is improving, I think that the Tim Krul of 4 or 5 years ago wouldn’t have been available to a side that had just finished below halfway in the Championship. He’s certainly saved us more points than he’s cost us.
I also hope Matty Jarvis does well at Walsall. The landlord of one of my local pubs is a Walsall season ticket holder and is scathing about Russell Martin (I did warn him), so the quality of my pint may depend on Jarvis being decent.
martin penney says
Your comments about Tim Krul and Remi Matthews are equally valid.
As for Russ I believe you are equally correct. The writing was on the wall quite a while ago now and it his time for him to adopt the coaching role he has clearly been planning for.
I hope your Walsall-supporting landlord friend doesn’t serve Banks – the worst stuff I have imbibed since the days of “Norwich Bitter”. and that’s really saying something.
Don Harold says
It is a Banks pub but they’ve merged with Marstons since the days you’re referring to. You can always get a decent pint of Pedigree-Sunbeam is pretty good too. Norwich Bitter was truly terrible, like tea leaves that gave off about 2.5% abv.
Happy New Year to you and all at MFW
Dan Rear says
I’ve always loved Banks Mild & Bitter. My pre-wedding pint, or two, back in 88!!
martin penney says
Yes retrospectively I should have included Marshall and Passlack in my list of “able deputies”. You are so right when you say the home-grown rule doesn’t do Passlack any favours but I am wondering if he will stay until the end of the season as he is getting no game time here at all plus we also have Ivo Pinto and Marshall as cover for Max Aarons.
As for the Refs I would agree with you. It’s a thankless task in many ways, but they do get paid pretty well for their trouble. Gone are the days when they had to make do with their petrol money and a largely inadequate match fee. Consistency is what seems to be missing.
When supporters of BOTH sides are moaning about the ref it’s fair to assume he had a pretty poor game.
I wish Matt Jarvis all the best also – I’m sure nearly all of us do.
My sense is that Passlack was probably brought in to be number 1 RB given that Ivo Pinto fell out of favour towards the end of last season. Then the phenomenon that is Max Aaron’s stepped in. I guess neither Passlack or Dortmund will be content by the lack of game time so like you it wouldn’t surprise me if he returns during January. An interesting transfer plot at RB not just with the Aaron’s situation but you’d suspect that given Pinto’s contract is running down, Norwich may entertain selling him if a cash bid was on the table….
As for being a ref – who’d be one?! Not me for sure! Would be quite an interesting read from MFW if a ref could be enlisted to write a guest blog!
martin penney says
Leave it with me Jon.
Unfortunately MFW doesn’t have a fistful of fivers to wave under anybody’s nose but I might be able to prise an article from a qualified referee at some point in the mid-term future.
Hearing their side of the story would be good for all concerned. It is never easy for them – the abuse on the pitch, let alone from the crowd means I wouldn’t officiate for all the proverbial tea in China.
I learned my lesson when reffing a few under-12 matches for an old Head Teacher mate of mine called Nick back in the 1980s.in Essex.
The abuse I got from some “parents” congregated on the touchline was unreal – and some of the kids tried it on as well.
Referees have to be so careful about what they say that it might not be possible. But it’s a great concept so I’ll have a word with editor Gary and see what we can do.
He’s not exactly a high end ref but spud would probably have a fair amount to say on the matter, if not I think theres somebody who sits near my grandparents who’s son is a linesman at a decent standard
john d f says
Good read Martin as always.
Agree with your comments regarding another poor ref but I also think DF also went a bit ‘Mourinho’ on the ref to protect his players for, well, being fatigued & a rather flat performance?
However, that said, to use a well used football cliche any point won away from home is…..
As for Saturday’s cup game, definitely time for some squad rotation and to give the players who are not making the cut at the moment a chance to prove their worth, as I think DF did in the league cup match against Stevenage earlier in the season.
martin penney says
Shame you mentioned Stevenage – it’s where we lost Kenny McLean!
I go back to my original statement that if both sets of supporters bemoan a referee he MUST have been sub-standard.
Sure the performance was a little flat. These guys are running on fumes just now and a rest couldn’t have come at a better time for several of them.
Let’s get Portsmouth out of the way and see how we’re fixed afterwards.
Jim Davies says
Martin, to say that the last three referees have been “less than exceptional” isn’t strictly true – their refereeing has become the rule, rather than the exception that proves the rule. Maybe it’s because not many of them have really played the game at any sort of level, but rather have seen refereeing as a career. It’s notable that one of the best officials around, chosen as a World Cup referee’s assistant, is Darren Cann, who as a youngster was a youth team player for (I think) Crystal Palace. He doesn’t get many decisions wrong when running the line.
martin penney says
Good comment John.
I believe aforementioned Darren Cann is a local lad and totally respected throughout the game.
I can only imagine that any referee currently on the PL/Championship rosters simply MUST have played at some level – I wouldn’t dream of writing about football if I hadn’t played it myself, for many, many years.
If you’ve never had a knee in the nuts or your shirt pulled how would you know what to look out for when your matchday “charges” are at it?
It would be a bit akin to criticising a band when you’ve never picked up an electric or written any lyrics.
I’m honestly not hammering refs in general – it’s just that some are better than others and many of us can tell the difference between the seasoned and the raw.
As per usual, you’ve summed it up perfectly for me Martin.
Like the players,the referee and assistants should surely be a team, but I understand that they get chopped and changed regularly. What to me seems pretty unforgivable is that in both the Forest and Brentford games, both referee AND assistant missed what appeared from the iFollow highlights to be nailed on decisions. Also, in the Forest game when Pukki and Fox had their handbags, Pukki is booked as it’s his first offence in the game, but Fox (for the same indiscretion) somehow stays on as he’s already on a yellow. Perhaps the clubs could/should insist that the referee’s reports are published for all to see so that we could at least see things from their point of view.
Yes, the players seemed fatigued for the first half at Brentford, but had Farke made changes for the game it could have really dented the confidence of those dropped, who, after all, had been pretty impressive for quite a while beforehand. It was noticeable that once we equalised, Rhodes and co couldn’t wait to get going again while the home side appeared rather deflated.
I do think though that we will see a number of the fringe players on Saturday against Portsmouth……now what exactly happened after we tried that away at Cardiff????
And along with others, I wish Matt Jarvis all the very best in good luck, health, and fitness for the rest of this season.
O T B C
martin penney says
I also understand that the referee and his assistants get mixed around a bit unless it’s a World Cup or the Euros, in which case the selected referee is allowed to export himself and his favoured assistants to the tournament. And quite right, too.
Just to repeat I’m not really having a go at any individual official – it’s just the inconsistency that gets my goat.
If Lee Mason and his assistants can officiate a match in a spot-on fashion, why can’t the rest of his colleagues?
And don’t forget I’m praising Mr Mason in a match we somehow contrived to lose. That doesn’t really matter that much as the referee’s integrity was there. Every decision on the nail and no moaning from WBA or ourselves in a see-saw match. That standard of officiating is what players and supporters are entitled to.
Nice to see another good wish for Matt Jarvis.
Colin M says
The Ref’s job became so difficult once TV replays from every angle came into play.
I helped put the tree up prior to Christmas, (unheard of previously) and thought I’d done okay until I sat down on the other side of the room, I was quickly banished and banned from going near it, (perfect outcome) my point is that the different view gave a different result.
The crowd watch from 360 different angles and TV replays can be frame by frame. The Ref gets one chance and their decision is final and any errors of judgement are just part of the game in the same way mistakes made by players are. The problem I have is ‘in the moment’ I want to banish the ref and inflict great harm upon him/her. However, when they punish an opponent and things go for us aren’t they just the best ref ever?
This won’t change and can’t change and we/I will go on having all the same feelings. As an 11 year old I witnessed a German Ref sending off the Argentinian Captain in the 66 World Cup quarter final and the Swiss ref in the final allowing Hurst’s 3rd goal, moments I’ve never forgotten.
Who needs penalties anyway, we’ve been rubbish at penalties to date this season. We are doing just fine.
Pleased you mentioned Tim Krul he was brilliant for us and great to hear Angus Gunn was given his chance at long last and had a fantastic game last night.
martin penney says
First up the Argentinian guy was Rattin and he squared up to either the Ref, the Lino or both before he reluctantly walked. I was eight at the time but I will never forget that match either.
I believe the Hurst bar-rattler was actually ratified by a Russian linesman. It was his second, not his third. There was no doubt about that further one! What a joy it was to watch such a match with your Dad and uncles way back then. Just like the Muhammad Ali fights we also all watched together, willing him on like he was “one of our own”. Which he sort of was and sort of wasn’t.
Yeah, refs are a conundrum I can’t solve. Your view is an honest one and equally as valid as mine.
I reiterate that I’m not too sure what we can do.
My only consolation is that the PL has the same problem with officials that we in the Championship do.
If they would only get the basics right more often than wrong I would belt up on the topic – hence my praise for Mr Mason and team.
Alex B says
A very good read as always.
Ref where do you start or want to start if at all they are damned by the players who try to influence every decision and for once they should man up at the start of the book the first one that argues and the rest will soon stop moaning.
A few years ago the Premiership and the FA tried to fast track ex pro’s into being Refs but not many took it up and Rodney Marsh called it Poacher to Gamekeeper, I just think they didn’t have the guts to do it.
Merson and a few other pundits also said explayers recognise when a player is trying it on they get as many calls wrong using play backs as a ref without VAR.
In someways teams have sussed city out being a bit aggressive at the start of games seems to knock them off their stride and it is in that period Ref are less likely to card a player as was reported by PEP later as city are finding out you get silly bookings.
Matt Javis has finally departed the manor like all I would have liked to see more of what he could have done for the team so I hope he proves he can still play at a reasonable level and get a contract somewhere.
Ref’s just like players have had a hard festive period and unlike the players make 100 or more fast decisions during a game that gets analysied over and over again and also can’t or must not be seen to correct a bad decision but it happens, very few assistant get the blame if he misses something and doesn’t tell the Ref it is always his fault.
lets have a few fringeplayers use on Saturday and send the injured to Hemsby Beach for a relaxing weekend.
martin penney says
I pretty much agree with you on your refereeing synopsis.
To me it’s a horrible job I would never be prepared to do at a senior level. Who wants to be a panto villain in April or September?
You are dead right when you say a senior “name” player has never gone into officiating. Why would they with all things considered? Better to do your own thing with a fair bit of cash left over from your career and your cred intact.
Despite snide remarks from other quarters I feel folks like Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and so many others have done the right thing. I’ll be a pundit, not a referee. Fair enough.
I played enough to be able to spot the obvious, but if I were to referee now I bet I would miss absolutely loads of stuff happening off the ball on the flank where there is effectively no Lino.
It’s genuinely a tough gig, is refereeing.
Jason R says
Any Correlation between comments on radio about it being bad for English football if we go up and some dodgy refereeing since?
martin penney says
Jason I seriously hope not. Although it’s spooky that Leeds (our co-victims of the ridiculous Moose statement) are also in short-term decline
The way we play we would thrive in the PL – if only we can get there.
Refs are incompetent and “dodgy” but I doubt they’re buyable. In this country, anyway.
Keith B says
The majority of players, with the backing of their managers, spend a lot of time trying to persuade officials to make mistakes.
They claim throw-ins or corners they know aren’t theirs. They ask for handball when the ball clearly hits a chest or a thigh. They fall over trailing legs trying to win fouls or penalties. They roll around in mock agony hoping to get opponents carded for the softest of fouls. And when they are winning they fake time-wasting injuries.
Then, when referees do make the mistakes they’ve been craving – except that they’ve actually gone against them – they whinge about it bitterly.
martin penney says
And there Keith, speaks a wise old soul.
Sure the modern stage doesn’t make it any easier for the officials. I guess we all know that.
The falling over the trailing leg act is one that particularly irritates me. You know you’ve lost the ball fella, so get up and get on with it. But they ever-increasingly don’t.
I’m not saying we as Norwich are pristine in non-indulgence of this kind of behaviour but we are nowhere near as bad as some – no names, no pack drill. Eh Mr Wilder?
I think the refereeing is more a case of the Football League telling them to be harsh on those at the top. Ironically, Leeds and WBA suffered from terrible refereeing performances over the festive period too. The poor decisions throughout were too obvious to be a coincidence. The penalty shout against Forest being more obvious than any you’ll ever see.
martin penney says
I don’t do conspiracy theories but if I did I think you might have a point.
The Forest pen should have been given and Pukki got wiped out at Brentford. No doubt about that one.
As a retired referee (and Brentford fan) I agree with the comments about the quality of decisions on January 1st. From my perspective Brentford were not allowed to take quick free kicks, Norwich were not penalised for so called professional fouls with yellow/red cards, legitimate penalty claims were ignored on both sides and – consistently – B’s goalkeeper Dan Bentley was blatantly obstructed at every corner. Have officials always been this bad?
martin penney says
Thank you Peterwey.
Here at MFW we always enjoy receiving comments from what we would call “the oppo”.
I admit we quite deliberately spooked Bentley and eventually it paid off for us. He’s a good keeper, he really is, but he got a bit of a “seeing-to” I agree.
If the match-day referee doesn’t crack down on that sort of stuff he’s making a rod for his own back. imo.
Obstruction of defenders at corners – let alone GKs – seems to get worse game by game. Every old trick in the book comes out at set pieces and many players realise they will not be punished and exploit it to the full.
I truly believe there was less pressure on officials, say, 30 years ago when the money wasn’t as up front as it is now.
You’re a genuine side and so are we. No animosity from here to you mate, believe me.
You lot are always welcome at Carrow Road.
Dan Rear says
Of the 23 men who start a game, only 1 is independent and won’t cheat. They may be bad, as are any number of the other 22, but at least (in the UK) they’re honest. And over a season I’m still naïve enough to believe decisions even themselves out.
Gary Gowers says
Tend to agree. Dan. We may have been on the receiving end of a couple of stinking decisions of late, but I too am naïve enough to believe that these decisions even themselves over a season. I’m also naïve enough to think that supporters of *every* other team – even the Prem’s top six – feel exactly the same over the ‘unfair’ hand they have been dealt by the refs.
I will try and find a referee to pen us a guest blog at some point in the future to give us the perspective from the other side.
Tim Ball says
Great piece Martin, but surely its mind the chasm now !!!