ding dong the witch is dead

Good game Mike

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.

Until tomorrow.


  1. Good article.
    I posted about this on our forum today, and am surprised it has not made more of a noise in the UK press as yet (only a couple of the mainstream papers are headlining it).
    The Ashley cole incident, when the pictures are looked at, compared to the Mascherano incident the following Sunday are very different – both in terms of the animosity towards Referee, and in terms of the actual crime committed. Unreal how this can affect a title race, and yet these referee’s are left in charge again and again.
    Good Riddance to this one !!!

  2. I saw your piece on the footie forum and was going to reply there but didn’t have time to register so, I’ll just say it here.

    I have only seen one article about the Mascherano incident but it’s a pretty good one.

    The Telegraph (p) details everything he did to get kicked off and I have to say, it looked like a fair sending off to me.

    My first reaction to the sending off of Mascherano was that it was unfair, but after I saw that article, I have to say… it looks like a fair deal to me. Mascherano CLEARLY went over the line, the ref knew it, his captain knew it, and his manager knew it. It seems the only one who felt like he did no wrong was him.

    Anyway, thanks for the comments and keep up the good work with your blog there!



  3. They should suspend him for the remainder of the Premier League season, or just go ahead and fire him. He’s godawful, and even I, as a Man United supporter who has seen the team benefit from his largesse, can see that.

    And BTW, in the case of Mascherano, when you sprint halfway across the pitch to bitch at the ref about a play that you weren’t even involved with, and you already have a yellow, I have no sympathy for you.

  4. Oh, and Tim, you should check out the front page of FARK this morning. There’s a story on Lehmann giving his two-year-old beer. Idiot.

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