EXCLUSIVE: Blunder linesmen shelved until next season
Published 21:31 13/04/12 By Alan Nixon
Linesmen Dave Bryan and Ceri Richards are being axed for the rest of the season – in a crackdown on recent awful decisions.
Bryan was the assistant who missed two offside goals in Chelsea’s win over struggling Wigan last Saturday, to the fury of boss Roberto Martinez.
TV evidence showed both Branislav Ivanovic and Juan Mata had goals allowed by Bryan that should have been ruled out.
And Richards made it a bad couple of days for the men who run the line by failing to spot Ashley Young was offside prior to Manchester United’s controversial first goal against QPR.
Young was brought down by Shaun Derry, who got the earliest of early baths in the confusion that followed and Wayne Rooney scored from the ensuing penalty.
To add insult to injury, Derry lost his red card appeal and had to sit out Rangers' midweek win over Swansea.
But now the Premier League heirarchy have suspended the duo for the remaining games as they react to intense criticism of some recent key blunders by officials.
The linesmen are the fall guys in both of these incidents – a move that has shocked some in the game and even brought the pair some sympathy from the managers who suffered.
Wigan chief Martinez said: “Bryan has been a linesman for 15 years. I don’t know what happened to him on Saturday.”
Many bosses are now of the view that the three men in charge at each game need more help from the sidelines.
Both Blackpool boss Ian Holloway and Wigan’s Martinez think that the fourth officials should be drawn from the ranks of experienced, recently-retired referees.
The current pool of fourth officials include some Football League referees and even young Stuart Attwell has been called from a Premier League demotion to fill that role.