The Tuesday 10: Very naughty referees

Arsenal take on Porto still smarting about the referee's first-leg performance. At least they didn't get one of this lot...

Melvin Sylvester

School caretaker Melvin Sylvester was refereeing an Andover Sunday League game in 1998 when player Richard Curd pushed him from behind. Sylvester flipped, punching Curd several times, before exacting the ultimate punishment by showing himself the red card.

“I was sorely provoked. I couldn’t take any more,” said the traumatised referee said after his early bath. Possibly the nastiest school caretaker since the one who kept a donkey in Grange Hill.

Dusko Pekija

If Sylvester went wild at Curd, Pekija went one further in 2005. During a Bosnian Cup match, Pekija knocked out FC Sarajevo player Samir Saric. Moments later the ref himself was attacked by Sarajevo players for awarding a penalty to FC Zelijeznicar, who were awarded the now-abandoned game 3-0. Saric regained consciousness minutes later and Pekija received a one-year ban.

Claus Bo Larsen

Always one for bringing the best out of people, Paolo di Canio claimed the referee “used bad words” against him during West Ham’s UEFA Cup defeat against Steaua Bucharest in 1999. Di Canio alleged Larsen had called him “a b**t**d” and was told by the Dane to “Get off before I send you off”, advice quickly acted upon by Hammers boss Harry Redknapp, who knew a thing or two about difficult foreigners.

Graham Poll

In November 2006, ‘The Thing from Tring’ was accused of using the F-word after red-carding John Terry against Spurs. Terry was charged and fined £10,000, while Poll was cleared. But Poll quit the game the following May, saying he’d received little support from the Premier League over the matter and that the artist formerly knew as “JT” wouldn’t speak to him anymore… Ahhhh.

"Give us a kiss"

Danny McDermid

The then-Leeds manager Dennis Wise alleged that McDermid swore at him during United’s 1-1 draw with Gillingham in September 2007. The alleged cuss came during an incident which saw Wise sent to the stands and two of his players red-carded.

“We as a club will be reporting him,” spat Dennis the Menace, often at the centre of the refree-player-abuse triangle. “I have three witnesses who are going to back me up.” Wise was fined, but McDermid wasn't. You can't win with referees.

Stuart Dougal

Scottish ref Dougal exhibited a fine array of put-downs in 2004 when his use of “foul and abusive language” towards Rangers midfielder Christian Nerlinger was exposed on television during a game at Partick Thistle. “I sympathise with Stuart Dougal. I don't think anything should happen to him,” said the surprisingly tolerant German international. The SFA disagreed, fining Dougal £200 and giving him a hefty slap on the wrist.

Phil Dowd

Paul Jewell accused Dowd of using the F-word as Wigan lost 2-1 at the Emirates in February 2007. Jewell was told to calm down, but later suggested other Premiership clubs had requested Dowd shouldn't be in charge of their games.

In a highly unexpected move, usually publicity-shy chairman Dave Whelan also waded in, saying “If the players used abusive language to the ref, they would be sent off.” Sadly, Dowd didn’t send himself off.

"You again!"

Edilson Pereira de Carvalho

Following Corinthians’ 3-2 defeat to Sao Paulo in 2005, Carlos accused De Carvalho of swearing at fellow Argentine Sebastian Dominguez and claimed Brazilian officials persecuted Argentinian players.

Things got so bad Corinthians hired a camera crew to film the referee during a match against Atletico Paranaense, while the officials contemplated carrying tape recorders in retaliation. Nothing like a bit of trust in the game, eh?

Clive Thomas

Known as ‘The Book’ for his officious interpretation of the laws, Thomas had a reputation for being disgusted by the mere hint of an emotional goal celebration.

Gooners legend Charlie George liked his straight talking, though: “Clive Thomas was one you could say to, ‘Oh come on, Clive,’ and he'd say ‘Go on, p*ss off,’ and sometimes you appreciate that.” Evertonians of ’77 and Brazilians of ’78 may beg to differ…

Emil Lauersen

Hicham Zerouali’s nickname was ‘Zero’, being possibly the only centre forward to wear the number 0 on his shirt. The Aberdeen striker claimed Lauersen wound him up before he was sent-off for dissent in a match against Danish club Farum in 2001.

“It made me really angry because no referee has spoken to me like that before,” said Hicham, tantalisingly refusing to go into further detail.

Words by Tim Ellis

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