I will never forget attending a football match a few years ago which was played in one of the leagues below the Premiership. It was a very important match between my favourite team Birmingham City and one of their local rivals Stoke City. It was an important match because Birmingham really needed to win the game as they were in danger of being relegated in that particular season. The three points for the win would certainly have helped them in their quest to survive.
With only around ten minutes of the match remaining Birmingham were leading a tense match by one goal to nil. Then one of the Stoke players barged the Birmingham keeper, who had the ball in his hands, over. The ball slipped from his grasp and one of the other Stoke players kicked it into an unguarded net.
I was certain that the referee would have seen what was a definite foul on our keeper, as I am sure was every other supporter in the stadium. To my and all of the other Birmingham supporters horror, he did not and he let the goal stand. I am normally quite a calm person but became so angry it was untrue. The next thing that happened was one of the Birmingham fans ran onto the pitch and fully punched this referee in the face. The players were taken off the pitch while order was restored.
I remember thinking at the time that this referee had deserved to be hit, but I later changed my mind, once I had had time to calm down. We are all capable of making a mistake of course.
I really believe in the argument that video replays should be introduced in some capacity, as in this case the goal would not have been allowed to stand.
Week in week out in the Premiership many mistakes are made which have a huge impact on the results of different matches. Football is such big business these days with the players earning such huge sums of money, surely we should have something in place to ensure that some of these errors are stopped during the match and are not merely things to debate after it.
I actually feel quite sorry for the football referees these days. With so many matches on the television they are being scrutinised more than ever. Even if they only get one decision wrong over the course of the match they still receive criticism.
I personally think that the overall standard of referees in the Premiership is very good and that we should start to get off these peoples back. I would however like each referee to be interviewed after each match in the same way as the football managers are. By doing this they could explain to the supporters why they made certain decisions during the match. They could also be shown a reply of some of the bigger incidents and asked to comment on whether they think they made the correct decision after viewing the replay.