Finally, Mark Clattenburg has got a decision right. It may have taken him 20 years but it was a great success. For those confused and thinking “there is no way Clattenburg got something right,” let me explain. You see the decision made was not made on the football pitch. Suddenly it all makes sense.
Mark Clattenburg will now be “refereeing” in the hot bed of football. Yes, Clattenburg is leaving the English Premier League and joining the Saudi Arabian league. It looks like he will be replacing Howard Webb who was, apparently, Director of Referees in Saudi, but he has since moved to the MLS to lead the development of video technology. That’s like out of the frying pan and into the fire for the Saudi Arabian league.
But wouldn’t it be nice to look back at his career and revel in his work?
Would it hell, there is no chance that is happening when there is a chance to ridicule a referee.
So where to begin? Oh Mark, there have been so many moments of ridicule.
Let’s all go back to 2005, Tottenham against Manchester United. Pedro Mendes hits a hopeful shot from way out. Roy Carroll is safely underneath it and manages, somehow, to catch and then spill the ball yards over the line, only for Clattenburg to miss it completely and fail to award the goal. The players saw it, the fans saw it, the tea lady saw it, even Arsene Wenger saw it! But poor old Mark did not.
How about his conversations with the Manchester City bench in 2009, asking them how they can work with Craig Bellamy all week, only to then send him off after two yellow cards. Mind you, he might have had a point on that one. Bellamy day in, day out would lead to some serious earache.
In 2014, Clattenburg found himself dropped for a game after travelling to a fixture on his own and not with his assistants as per Premier League rules. Mark had a valid excuse of course, and who could blame him, when he had an Ed Sheeran concert to go to. Yep no one bought that Mark, no one!
Clattenburg definitely isn’t on Crystal Palace’s Christmas card list either, after disallowing their goal in the FA Cup Final last year with Manchester United going on to win the Cup. The rumour that he is yet another refereeing closet United fan have, so far, still not been proved.
Of course, you may be thinking anyone can make mistakes and yes they can, but the tattoos Mark, really? I mean, if he appeared on “tattoo fixers” no one would bat an eyelid. But what made him think getting tattoos to mark the two finals he refereed in was a good idea?
But it’s ok, surely no one can make any more errors of judgement than what we have discussed so far. Oh hold on, yes they can. Mark Clattenburg was the face for a hair transplant advertising campaign. Not only was he the face, but he also had his own lines to deliver in the ad. He delivered the truly memorable line of “The hardest decision to make is to pick up the phone and make that call. But I did it and it changed my life”. Brilliant Mark, just brilliant. I think we’ve already pointed out that you are not the best at making the hard decisions and picking up the phone is something you were told not to do after the Neil Warnock chat, no?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge people earning a little extra money or even gaining some extra hair, but he really didn’t help himself. We always want our referees to be invisible. Unfortunately for Mark Clattenburg he obviously took a read of Mike Dean’s ‘How to Referee’ manual.
So the question is, will the Premier League miss Mark Clattenburg?
Some teams, without a doubt, will be glad to see the back of him. Most supporters will too. But for Manchester United, today is a very, very sad day. I mean, that lot have only just got over losing Howard Webb!