If it had been any other referee then you might be prepared to write the decision off as one of those that never go the way of small clubs away from home, but it wasn’t any other referee, it was Phil Dowd (Staffs). This is the same man that could have cost us a place in the Carling Cup final and the one that did cost us what could have turned out to be a vital point (or more) at Ewood Park.
Whilst it’s hard to believe that we are the only team that has been affected by his poor decisions, Mr Dowd seems to have something against our club. A more likely explanation is that he’s got something against our manager. Jewell’s reaction to the matches already mentioned was hardly restrained, and his statement that another manager had told him that Dowd was “the worst referee in the Premier League” won’t have helped.
Yesterday’s revelation, that referees’ chiefs deliberately try to avoid having Dowd referee Latics games only adds to the conspiracy, but the simplest explanation is still that he isn’t very good at his job. The frustrating thing is that it is hard to hold him to account. The current system protects referees from criticism and woe betide you might want to actually vent your frustration at the end of the game.
As much as you can understand Jewell’s reaction at the final whistle, you have to accept why the FA, LMA and the likes don’t want it to happen. The thing is that if the referees were men about it, recognised the frustration and anger that they’ve caused, even accept that they could have made a mistake, and let these spats ride then the ‘authorities’ would struggle to do anything about it.
If the key is Jewell’s statement, to Dowd, that he “wants locking up” for his decisions then someone really needs to get a life. Whatever ‘industrial’ language surrounded that phrase, surely people need to be a bit more adult about things. For a man like Dowd, who has just spent 90 minutes effing and blinding at players to the report a manager for foul and abusive language stinks of double standards.
The counter claim from the club may seem a little childish but it raises an important point. Why should referees be able to run to mummy when all clubs, players and managers can do is defend themselves when the inevitable charges arise.
If there is any good to come out of this situation it’s that it may go some way to re-establishing the “us against the world” spirit that fuelled, Little Wigan’s rise last season. Combined with our improved form it could be an important piece of the jigsaw that sees us stick two fingers to the establishment that were all too glad to write us off a couple of weeks back.
And if it doesn’t work, we can always blame the referee.
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