|Referees' Rangers Bias - Fact not Fiction|
|Written by Harry Brady|
|Sunday, 21 February 2010 10:10|
Yesterday Robbie Keane got his welcome to Glasgow yellow card. Fouled by 2 Utd players at the same time he complained to the ref expecting the same protection you’d throughout world football. He was booked for asking – welcome to Glasgow. It’s interesting therefore that this week Hugh Dallas should finally accept that there have been dubious decisions in Scotland this term. I have wanted to write this piece for some weeks but have been waiting for an opportune period. Writing about bad decisions when we’re playing poorly or not getting the results often appears to be an “excuse piece” for the manager, and that is not what I’m attempting to do. This season I have often thought about the managers’ bad luck and at these times I also recall Gary Player’s comment that the more he practised the luckier he got. I have mixed emotions about our current situation but that cannot prevent us from reviewing a situation where, if Tony Mowbray’s team played under the same rules as Walter Smith’s, we WOULD be clear at the top of the table.
Just a few weeks ago, when Rangers were struggling at home to Hearts, Christian Nade was booked for the second time and sent off. Both offences fell under the “bookable” category but that the second was for kicking the ball away in a fashion done numerous times by diddy teams every game at Celtic Park with no rebuke only added to my paranoia about Scottish officialdom. Since that decision an edict has been sent from the SFA reminding officials of their need to deal with kicking the ball away. Other players have subsequently been booked (including two of ours) making the Nade booking look like part of a new crackdown. It wasn’t. Were I to call a phone-in with such concerns however I’d be classed as a fundamentalist, a paranoid idiot – do I really subscribe to such conspiracy theories? By using these words the panel immediately put the caller up there with nut jobs at Wako or people who believe Elvis is still alive. A good swift put down which quickly prevents debate or analysis. Should someone with intelligence get through then the ultimate defence (as often done by Keevins or Traynor here at 32 mins) is to cut the guy off and then bad mouth him afterwards. But what if there is genuine favouritism to Rangers? “So you’re telling me it’s a conspiracy, that the ref’s get together and all agree?” No! What if every part of society is so indoctrinated into this bias that even neutrals don’t notice? That would still make us paranoid – it would also make us right!
You may recall after the pen that Kenny Clark apologised for not giving at Ibrox some years back that I interviewed an SPL official. Later that same man gave me an insight into the outside pressures when officiating at Rangers games. He confirms that ref’s don’t sit down and decide to favour Rangers, but does state that outside influences ensure the same end result. Effectively pressure from a biased Scottish media ensures favourable decisions for Rangers. Am I being paranoid and conspiratorial about the press now? Yes!
Ask any Rangers fan to catalogue a list of atrocious decisions in games against us – they’ll really struggle. More importantly it’s a FACT that the written media is full of Rangers fans, Hugh (I only deal in facts) Keevins and Speirs have both told us so.
We all have got into debate at some point or another with a Rangers supporter about favouritism towards them from press and officials. It is a fruitless and frustrating exercise and, like me, you no doubt rarely bother. On those few occasions your Rangers supporting friend will use the same language as the press, implying that your are plain nuts. Also, they’ll tell you, the same things happen to them. BUT THEY DON’T!!!!
There is one simple test to see whether they suffer the same ratio of poor decisions as us – ask them to list them! Whilst I can reel off a list of legitimate goals chopped off this season and decisions SFA officials have had to apologise for, my Rangers mates start to mention the odd decision from seasons gone by, decisions where maybe this or that could have happened – I haven’t even started on those types of dubious decisions against us yet. And then there are the decisions in games involving us.
Whilst I can point to Fortune’s chopped off goal this term or the 4 pens at Ibrox, or the sendings offs Lafferty should have had in both games this season, their examples will be…? I asked a Rangers friend – the pen last season when Broadfoot rugby tackled McDonald – first contact was an inch or two behind the line. Our goal in the 1989 cup final came from a throw-in that should have been given to them. And that, my friends, is everything in a nutshell.
You and I can trot out a catalogue of refereeing apologies, chopped of goals and pens, just from two games. They have to start going back 20 years! Even at that it was a throw-in at the halfway line!
These points just re-iterate what we all know about decisions. But it’s not just in games between us as this season has demonstrated, against the rest of the SPL decisions regularly go in their favour in some games and against us in others. Not even counting those decisions I may see through green tinted spectacles, just our goals chopped off that TV has shown should have been given would have us neck and neck in the title race. Yet I do not think there is some master plan. As the link above states, the problem lies in media analysis.
Any decision which favours us (either against Rangers or for Celtic) is reviewed dissected and debated all week by all forms of the media. As our SFA mole then accepts, it’s only human nature that this affects decisions. Think about your own work. If there’s something you do on your own initiative that no-one will ever question or inspect, you’ll make that decision without thinking. On the other hand if you know that your work will be reviewed and analysed you’ll think twice. Moreover if you believe that you would be up for public humiliation if you do the wrong thing, what will you do? First you’ll pause and review everything before you act. Then if you are in any doubt at all? It’s only human nature you’ll shy away from following your actions through. This then leads onto the next question that we all know the answer to – why do the media behave this way?
A few years back, Graham Speirs commented that Harry H Smith had slightly redressed the balance in the written press. It was now 24 – 4; that is 24 former Rangers employees to 4 former Celtic ones. But don’t fret little Timmy, we needn’t be concerned because they are pillars of the community and are able to report matters objectively. They put their prejudices and biases aside and just see what they say, don’t they? Well not according to Hugh Keevins.
As we know Uncle Tim Hugh has never been one to openly back the hoops and often defends his colleagues to Clyde callers so I nearly crashed the car at comments he made, just in passing, on Clyde last season. He and Peter (Martin) Maguire were discussing the football writers’ player of the year and who may be the winner. With no outstanding candidate, Keevins suggested it would be a Rangers player. We all know his reasoning but I was astounded when he stated it. As we know, the majority of the press are Rangers fans and they can’t help themselves from voting for a Rangers player.
So just to clarify Hugh, these impartial reporters can’t even bring themselves to praise a non Rangers player in a secret ballot when none of their peers will know who they voted for? If they can’t manage that we have no hope of impartial reporting. And that is the problem. We don’t get impartial reporting, so no matter that bias or impartiality of the referees and assistants they will always be more reticent to give a decision that offers an advantage to us.
Many reading this will tell me it is forever thus or indeed that it used to be worse, so does that make it right? Certainly not.
The evidence of bias is clear, so it’s surely time we started standing up for ourselves on this matter. Indeed I believe we should start using their language back at them. Were I to call a media outlet and highlight the legitimate failures I have listed I’d be told that these things even themselves out in a season. What utter nonsense.
Does God really sit overlooking football with some luck balancing abacus? This surely is the most stupid and ridiculous concept. Even more bizarre is the idea that he intentionally skews results and “luck” one way at the start of a season so that he has the perverse enjoyment of balancing things up later. How utterly crazy – and they have the cheek to imply we’re the nutters. Then there is the conspiracy theory of their own.
If it’s not divine intervention “balancing things out” then surely the refs must do – there must be a conspiracy theory! In order for their “balancing out” theory to work, the refs must sit down (probably about Christmas) and review who has had the bad decisions. They then would have to decide to give equally shocking decisions the other way. Again the most stupid and ridiculous theory ever. How nuts are these people?
We have played poorly this season yet despite that, with fair refereeing we’d be top. Decisions following their normal trend at Ibrox in 10 days could conceivably see Mowbray lose a job. No amount of SFA apologies could compensate for that. Rangers winning the league could cost us upwards of £10m. No amount of SFA apologies can compensate for that. You and I are stakeholders in the success of our club. As a shareholder I suffer financially at these continued decisions. It will never happen, but with such matters at stake and with the Scottish games’ governing body unable to police matters due to the institutionalised bias within this country, should we not be demanding that UEFA review and take matters in hand.
One final case to illustrate our point: I will be non specific but you can probably work out the game, towards the end of last season with the league nip and tuck we were level with minutes to go. A win and the league is virtually ours, draw or defeat and well we now the know the outcome. Anyway with minutes remaining Celtic were again in the opposition box and a Celtic fan decided to seize the moment. Knowing he was leaving his current team at the end of the season he intentionally fouled the hoops man to give us a penalty. To his astonishment the ref waved play on! Rossi (of this Parish) was told this by the player.
But we’re just paranoid!
|Last Updated on Monday, 22 February 2010 18:46|