So that was the game we were hoping to win. The game that would springboard West Ham onto greater heights. The game that would announce the arrival of – the Moyesiah!

But this is West Ham, we don’t do things the easy way!

But I am here to talk about Andre Marriner, today’s match Referee. To give some background, I am a Level 5 referee which means I can referee to Senior County Level. I can run the line at Semi Professional Level. I have been fortunate enough to officiate on FA Cup and FA Vase matches.

So although I am not a Premier League Referee I have had a decent level of experience and have also worked with two Premier League officials. So hopefully I can provide a balanced view.

To start with I need to say that I am not Mr Marriner’s biggest fan.

When I saw he was appointed to todays game I sighed, we never seem to do well with him in charge.

Having said that I thought he had a very good game, there were some big decisions and barring one I thought he got them all right.

We start with the Andy Carroll ‘incident’ after just 6 seconds.

Carroll of course has previous. But both the referee and his Assistant we well placed. The big thing here is that Carroll never looked at the player behind him. He was always looking for the ball. Although intent is not in the Laws it is still taken into consideration.

Andre could have given a free kick and a stern talking to at this stage but he chose to let play go on as he felt there was no incident to address. Bare in mind that referees are taught to crack down in the first and last 5mins of each half, this showed strong leadership from the referee. He wasn’t going to be soft!

This was also true of the Zabaleta ‘penalty’ claim.

Zaba caught the player, no doubt about that. But from the referee’s position there was not enough for a penalty. Again, strong match control.

There were a handful of yellows in the first half which to be fair were spot on. No arguments from me.

And yet……….. Watford’s second goal, oh dear!

It was handball.

Sorry Andre, you missed that one. Hughes hand clearly moved towards the ball, plus it was in an unnatural position. Deliberate Handball.

Had Andre been two yards further back he would have spotted this and I feel he would have blown for the free kick.

He wasn’t, he was up with play as he had been all match.

But this time his positioning let us down. You can’t blame the referee for this. Instead, I do wonder if his assistant had a word in his ear. If he did then it is the referees fault. If not then the assistant needs to be stronger.  From what I have seen he had a clear view of the incident and although he was too far away to flag he should have said something.

Alas we will never know. For some reason referees are not allowed to face the press. I believe they should, but only if the press behave themselves!

The second half was largely uneventful.

There were a couple of cards, again perfectly acceptable.

Andre Marriner, one incident aside, had a largely trouble free afternoon.

No doubt he will be pleased, as he should. But that one missed handball could have changed things. We will never know of course. But such is the impact that one decision can have. We saw it yesterday between Arsenal and Tottenham (hahahahahahaha).

Mike Dean got a free kick wrong, the assistant failed to see an offside and Arsenal went 1-0 up. I don’t care what anyone says but no referee does things deliberately.

He (or  she) will give things as they see them. It’s a hard enough job with just 20 blokes and a dog watching you. It’s almost impossible with 50000 people, 30 cameras and millions worldwide watching your every move.

I will always try and be objective with my referee reviews. If anyone wishes to question decisions in law then I will happily answer.


By Philip Fisher



By Gonzo

West Ham fan for as long as I can remember. I was flukey enough to watch The Irons beat Bury 10-0 in my first ever game . . . True to form, West Ham then went out and signed their central defender 😬

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