MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Newcastle United Manager Alan Pardew reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on November 26, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
The Daily Mirror has a story on Alan Pardew out today that, quite simply, makes him look like a lunatic. Here are the relevant quotes:
The biggest problem from the weekend, and perhaps the decision by the referee that changed the game, was that we put in more effort against Chelsea than we've done in any other game this season, and that's cost us injuries to Guthrie and Taylor. It just goes to show how important those decisions are. It's interesting to see both the referee at our place, who admitted to the mistake, and the Bolton referee have got games this weekend.
I have two major, major problems with this quote.
First, the referee's decision did not force Newcastle to work harder. Yes, it could have been 11 on 10 for 85 minutes, but instead it was 11 on 11...just the way it's expected to be. To say that the two center backs were injured because one of the opposing center backs played all game is a completely untenable position. Perhaps if Mike Dean had signaled to the sideline and told Chelsea they were allowed to play 12 or 13 players, Pardew would be able to make the case that the referee forced them to "put in more effort," but even then I wouldn't buy it as an excuse for injury. This smacks of deflection; if Pardew can blame somebody else for Newcastle's injury crisis, he won't have to answer quite so many questions about why the team has no depth to speak of.
Second, football managers need to lose the mentality that they should be able to control refereeing assignments because they're outraged about a call. I thought that Sir Alex Ferguson's red-faced, spitting mad temper tantrum over Mike Jones' decision two weeks ago was despicable, and I think this is as well. It's disheartening to me that the gaffers who throw the most intense tirades have the most influence over an official's immediate future. The FA should not stop at fining or even suspending managers. They could stop this cycle by making and announcing assignments well ahead of time. Punishing officials by sending them to do League One games immediately after making a mistake sends the wrong message, which is that they are the ones being controlled by the clubs, not the other way around. I'm not suggesting referees shouldn't be accountable for their decisions, but when a Premier League manager expresses dismay that the person who made the decision he didn't like still has a job, there's a problem.