Mike Riley has been dropped from refereeing Premier League matches this weekend. Instead, he’ll have to make poor calls in the Championship and League One: for a week.
Before you get too excited, Manchester United’s favorite referee is only getting a slap on the wrist. It’s the Premier League’s equivalent of a three match ban, except he gets to work and gets paid, but other than that it’s almost exactly the same!
What really strikes me about this is how long it took for his poor performances on the pitch to catch up to him. Some of you might remember back in 2004 when he was the referee who handed United a penalty that sealed the win that killed Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten streak. At that time there was a huge flap over his bias, with the record books showing that Riley gave an astonishing 12 penalties in 23 matches for United.
It wasn’t like he went on to clean up his act after that. He just kept making poor decision after poor decision.
There was Middlesbrough v Arsenal where he gave a penalty to Boro (and was quick to book Jens Lehmann for protesting.) There was the time he sent off the Reading mascot, poor Kingsley. Or the time he gave Arsenal two penalties against Manchester City, one of which led to the infamous “Pires penalty.”
Shall I go on or can you discern a pattern here? Mike Riley loved to give penalties. I don’t know what he career total for penalties are but I do know that if you read through all the stories about his glorious career, you’ll see that managers across the country are pissed at Mike Riley, because he gave the opposing team a penalty.
Other than that, he’s just completely farking nuts. He has no problem giving Jens a card for dissent but three years later can’t muster more than a yellow when confronted with Ashley Cole’s spectacular defiance. He’ll even send off your mascot for “obstructing” him!
But I guess the last three weeks had been too much: the week before the Chelsea debacle he’d been suspended for his poor handling of the Blackburn v Fulham match.
And so the Premier League drops him for a second time this season and speculation is that he won’t be allowed to work any of the big games for the rest of the season. Fans alike from Geordies to Gooners to Wanderers will all rejoice in the news that the Wicked Witch of the North is finally dead.
Well… Man U fans will be sad, after all, they’ve lost one of their staunchest allies. But don’t worry your pretty haired heads; he’s only being relegated for a week, there’s a chance he might come back up and give you a penalty call or two.