Letters To The Referees From The FA
By Dave Houlgate
From Issue 44, Autumn 1999
From: The Football Association (est 1862) FUNNY FARM, ROAD TO NOWHERE, Cloud Cuckoo Land, NO 1DEA
To: Phil Din, Referees Association, 2, Noteven Close, Brainlessan Nr Sighted, Redcar D1 0FF
4th October, 1999
I am writing once again to you concerning the ‘Liverpool Solution’. I am sure you know what I am talking about, and as ever I am grateful to you because it doesn’t happen all that often.
As you know the FA has a policy towards Liverpool Football club that has now been in place for some considerable time. I would, on behalf of my colleagues at the FA, like to take this opportunity to thank you and your lads for last season. The red cards for the upstarts Dominic Matteo and Jamie Carragher were superb and no more than Liverpool deserved. The opportunity to drag that bug-eyed manager into Lancaster Gate was an added bonus. Please pass on our special thanks to Mike Reed for his sterling work. How does he do it with all that acting he does on Eastenders? An added tribute should be paid to Mr Durkin and Mr Gallagher, plus their two linesmen for their wonderful ‘selective myopia’ at Stamford Bridge. This gave Gordon and myself the chance to “steam in” as it were on the old moral high horse, thus pissing off the Scousers even more! A beautiful piece of work all round.
It is good to see that you have not slackened off in the current campaign. The basketball clearance from Nicky Butt was a nice touch from Graham Barber – and 4 red cards by the first week in October! We have also taken note of the extension to the persecution. Uriah’s total indifference to the assault on Owen at Leicester was brilliant. Boy wonder, indeed. If it weren’t for the inevitable drop in the sale of replica England shirts, we wouldn’t put up with that crap a minute longer. Of course, we had to be seen to be doing something when TV started showing it over and over again, but rest assured we are right behind you and your lads.
A word of caution, though. The new lad, Rolf Harris, may need reminding that it will only work if it doesn’t become too obvious. 50/50 challenges in Merseyside derbies is one thing (well done to all concerned, especially for turning a blind eye to crippling that Kraut) but we do feel Villa Park was pushing it just a little too far. We will probably get away with the booking of the Finnish bloke, but the sending off of Stilton will be a bit of a hot potato. When all the newspapers and John Gregory start showing sympathy for Liverpool that should be a warning to all concerned not to get carried away. Still, there are numerous opportunities for mixing it still further; I thought your “Rolf had a good game” quote was priceless, and we got Steve Doubletalk to actually praise the referee for being big enough to (get this) “admit his mistake”. The other 77 ‘mistakes’ he made in the game we’ll casually ignore. I love this job, I really do.
Finally, and I need hardly add this is in the strictest confidence, we are pushing UEFA for one or two rule changes for next season. It is still all rather hush hush, but basically we are hoping to make the following “red card” offences.
Any one player per game playing in all red at Anfield (at the referee’s discretion).
Any Liverpool player who doesn’t tuck his shirt in – compulsory.
Any one Liverpool player who tackles an opponent – provided one actually does put one in.
Any one Liverpool whom the referee deems is looking at him in a funny way – at the referee’s discretion.
Any Liverpool player who looks to be having a good game – at the referee’s discretion.
We will, of course be looking to increase the permissible number of sendings’ off for the above offences from one to two. If the initial proposals are accepted that is. Fingers crossed. By the way, we are having a quiet little meeting very soon. Just me and a few fellow sympathisers. You are cordially invited. I know Alex and Gordon are dying to meet you.
Keep up the good work!