Football: Ref had to make snap decision
FIRST of all I want to thank season ticket holder Andy Thorpe for giving me the chance to go to Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Sitting on the front row of the West Stand to watch Chelsea v Liverpool, I was so close to the pitch I could almost touch the player
FIRST of all I want to thank season ticket holder Andy Thorpe for giving me the chance to go to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Sitting on the front row of the West Stand to watch Chelsea v Liverpool, I was so close to the pitch I could almost touch the players - in fact, I am surprised that Arjen Robben didn't fall over when I got up to go to the toilet.
The incident involving Robben and Liverpool keeper Jose Reina took place on the other side of the pitch, and to be honest, it happened so quickly that Robben was sitting on the turf before I knew what was happening.
Having seen the incident since - about 73 times actually - I can safely say:
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1 Yes, Robben over-reacted.
2 Yes, Reina was silly to raise his hands.
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3 Yes, Reina deserved to be sent off.
OK, so it all got a bit silly and a straight red card for caressing Robben's face may seem a bit harsh.
However, put yourself in the position of referee Alan Wiley.
The whole stadium stood up and demanded a card when Reina clattered in to Eidur Gudjohnsen. With players from both sides rushing towards the incident and the crowd baying for blood, Reina raised his hands and Robben hit the deck.
This all happened in the time it took me to say 'Blimey' and stand up.
Wiley didn't have time to sit down, look at TV replays, and go into a three-day discussion about 'play-acting' or 'intent'.
He had no option but to send Reina off and it was the right decision.