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Mike Bacon: If Town want better refs, there’s only one way to do it - get out of League One!

05 November, 2020 - 12:00
Stephen Ward remonstrates with the referee after he awarded a late second half penalty against Ipswich at Sunderland Picture Pagepix Ltd

Stephen Ward remonstrates with the referee after he awarded a late second half penalty against Ipswich at Sunderland Picture Pagepix Ltd

Pagepix Ltd 07976 935738

In his latest look at life at Portman Road, MIKE BACON says the Blues must not let poor refereeing decisions determine their fate...

Andre Dozzell is shown the red card for his foul on Grant Leadbitter at Sunderland Picture Pagepix LtdAndre Dozzell is shown the red card for his foul on Grant Leadbitter at Sunderland Picture Pagepix Ltd

If ever Ipswich Town’s players needed a reason to want to hurry up and get out of League One, then we witnessed it at Sunderland.

I’m no ref baiter.

Refs have a terribly difficult job. Stupid handball rules they are asked to enforce, players diving all over the park feigning injury, managers criticising them, fans (when they are in attendance) singing derogatory songs.

However, as in all walks of life... You get what you pay for.

And when it comes to ref’s fees, I’ll wager Premier League refs get paid more than League One refs, who get paid more than Thurlow Nunn League refs... And so on.

Jack Lankester celebrates his first half goal at Sunderland Picture Pagepix LtdJack Lankester celebrates his first half goal at Sunderland Picture Pagepix Ltd

In theory, the better you are, the higher the rewards, it’s the food chain of life.

Of course it was a harsh penalty, of course Dozzell was unlucky to be red-carded. Paul Lambert is well within his right to expect better officiating.

But like players further down the football pyramid are invariably not as good as those higher up, so referees further down the pyramid, especially as they don’t have VAR to bail them out of the poo if they mess up, are likely to get more decisions wrong.

So, what’s the answer?

Well, there’s only one as far as I can see. The Blues have to get out of League One and into the Championship - as fast as possible.

This current Town squad is more than capable. There were plenty of positive signs at the Stadium of Light - Edwards, Bishop and Dozzell the three especially so far this season.

However, the bottom line is that it was another defeat against a top 10 side.

These defeats against better teams have got to be turned around. I noticed Portsmouth went to Lincoln and won 1-3 on Tuesday night. Do Town look like pulling a result like that off against a side in the top six?

No, not at the moment.... But I do believe they are getting there.

Our young players are starting to build up more of a head of steam. There is more continuity in our team selection and play.

Gwion Edwards tries to close down at Sunderland Picture Pagepix LtdGwion Edwards tries to close down at Sunderland Picture Pagepix Ltd

I’m far from convinced this is definitely going to be our season, but I do believe we are heading, slowly, in the right direction.

So, yes, let’s jump up and down and blame the officials - but only for today.

You make you own luck in football and the Blues need to make theirs. Swings and roundabouts? There will be plenty.

It’s the FA Cup on Saturday and for once, as last season, I couldn’t really give a squiggle if we win or not. It would be nice, but until we out of League One, I care not for much else.

Hope Dobra starts!

Jack Lankester plays the ball forward at Sunderland Picture Pagepix LtdJack Lankester plays the ball forward at Sunderland Picture Pagepix Ltd

MORE: Stu Watson’s 5 observations on Town’s defeat at Sunderland

So, no non-league football for a month.

I hope a month is all it is.

Gwion Edwards tries to close down at Sunderland Picture Pagepix LtdGwion Edwards tries to close down at Sunderland Picture Pagepix Ltd

Non-league clubs have bent over backwards to make their grounds Covid secure - and spent plenty of money many of them don’t have, into the bargain.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Premier League clubs decided to look over their shoulders at non-league and offer to give clubs a hand? I can only dream!

I mean it is not as if the PL hasn’t benefitted from non-league over the years.

Jamie Vardy, Ian Wright, Michail Antonio, Troy Deeney, Joe Hart, Andre Gray, while the likes of Danny Ings and Ashley Barnes have had loan spells in non-league.

Yep, the Premier League is happy to wax lyrical about these players - and fair enough.

Teddy Bishop goes for the ball at Sunderland Picture Pagepix LtdTeddy Bishop goes for the ball at Sunderland Picture Pagepix Ltd

It would perhaps be nice for the PL to remember that if it wasn’t for non-league, maybe some of these players wouldn’t be where they are today - and helping the PL brand into the bargain.


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