You're lying if you say you've never called him a wanker. And if you think saying 'good shout' the one time he's whistled for offside in your favour, when you're right-back's standing on the goal line, that doesn't make you a level-headed purist.
Most of you reading this have (I hope!) suffered an amateur dicking at some point. And if you're in your first season, like we are, how can you blame the players? (“We've only been a team 6 months; we're too new to be blamed!”)
So it *has* to be the ref, right?
I've only managed a dozen league games so far, but I've already identified the main categories of referee – and just how much they're to blame for a shit result…
Used to manage at semi-professional level: so you're in the 4th division, but for some reason you've got a guy who once refereed a 1st round FA qualifier. He stole the kit from that encounter, and makes sure it's vacuum packed between each Sunday game. A little pompous and has only disdain for the proletariat players he's overseeing.
Blame him for losing? No, he once sent off a Congleton Town FC player.
Too young to be there: his first season, he's got the bored bystander girlfriend watching from beyond the corner flag, tries to might light of the fact he’s bricking it, “only my 2nd game lads”, and the unconvincing fluff he’s grown on his top lip, in preparation for his debut season, means you can’t really take him seriously.
Blame him for not getting the right result? Nah, a knock to his confidence at this early stage might rob us of a half-decent ref for the future.
On the 'top table': this guy sits with the league management, on the top table at those monthly management meetings. Maybe he’s the league secretary, possibly the ref representative for the league. Of an evening the club crest badge sits proudly on his tie. Come the weekend, he dons the black strip and runs pigeon-chested amongst you. He loves how he’s the only ref who doesn’t really get any shit, but ignores the fact it’s because on the top table.
His fault you’ve dropped points? No, the league actually needs old-school multi-tasking like this.
Rickets-riddled oddity: where do you start with this guy? You think it's the cold making him stammer but instead it's the drug-dependency. Unable to stand up straight, legs like the outline of a cello, you feel cheated when offside's given 50 yards from his (probably impaired) line of sight.
Blame him for losing? No, he's got enough on his plate.
Why oh why is he refereeing? He does know that amateur football involves 22 knackered blokes doesn’t he? And that at least half are going to have a bad day. Jumps at his own whistle, flip-flops on decisions, and finally when there’s nowhere left to retreat, and the only defence left is attack, he beefs up his retaliation with a couple of belting swear words: “If I say it’s a penalty, it’s a wankshitting penalty. You bells!”
Bollock him for an unhappy result? It wouldn’t be fair, unless you want some comedic vulgarity.
Dead man walking
Ruddy-faced, obese and confined to the centre circle. His match fee is required purely to pay for lunch afterwards. It’s not like he’s got a missus to keep him in bed on a Sunday either, he makes John ‘Portsmouth Football Club’ Westwood look like one of the male dancers from Strictly. Weirdly though, he seems to get on with the players better than other refs; probably because he’s still pissed on Scotch.
Is he dead to the team because you lost? Nope, he’s actually an alright bloke.
So, although there have been times where I’ve genuinely blamed a ref after the final whistle has gone, soon after I’ve realised that it can’t just be because he’s a wanker. Plus I know I’ve never blamed a ref for winning us a match!