Deadman walking..

Yesterday’s refereeing performance (which probably contributed heavily to the length of match report – sorry!) is still consuming my every waking moment.  I was infuriated during the game – and it seems that mostly people are thinking along similar lines.  Whilst I rarely have praise for match officials, I’m struggling to think of a poorer or less consistent performance for some time – so I decided to do some digging.

It would seem that Darren Deadman is a yearly affliction that strikes the City Ground every January or February – he officiated home games against Swansea in 2007/2008, Queens Park Rangers in 2008/2009, Reading in 2009/2010 and finally of course against Preston North End last night.  He has risen from the lower leagues, so it would seem that promotion is our only likely vaccine against getting another dose of the Deadman this time next year.

My main issue with him was his awarding of fictional fouls repeatedly, playing advantages for Forest where no advantage existed, and inconsistencies like booking Morgan for kicking the ball in the air after we scored, but ignoring the more devious kicking aways the likes of St. Ledger et al were performing throughout the game.  He didn’t clamp down on timewasting and, whilst this was to our benefit, he missed two cast-iron penalties for Preston in the second half (and one for us in the first half on Ando that I wasn’t so sure about).

Trawling through old match reports, he didn’t warrant much mention for our game with Swansea in 2007/2008, however by the time we reach the QPR game in 2008/2009 certainly I point out some issues with him.  He ignored an incident which saw Tyson withdrawn needing stitches to his head, he gave us a penalty – but didn’t red card the offender who was the last man – that man then went on to score both QPR goals.  He later booked Wes for a tackle in which he won the ball when operating as an emergency striker.

Against Reading in 2009/2010 we won 2-1, but were denied a penalty for a hand-ball in the area (that’ll sound familiar to Preston fans!), in this game he also sent off Nicky Shorey and gave a penalty to Reading when the offence looked outside the box (certainly Billy Davies thought so in his post-match comments).  Didn’t have much issue with the red card at the time, although other fans in the comments called it harsh.  Lee Camp saved the penalty.

So when next year’s fixtures are out, cast your eye for home games in January/February time and mentally steel yourself for the City Ground once again falling foul of a nasty case of Deadman.  Hopefully the assessor at the game last night saw enough of his nonsensical decisions to perhaps recommend he get bumped down a few leagues and we never have to see him again!

According to his profile page on RefWorld, Darren Deadman believes that to be a good referee requires man management and leadership skills.  I think perhaps a hasty refresher in these areas, as well as basic observation, the rules of the game, dealing with timewasting and spotting a dive are probably in order.  Am I being too over the top or was this refereeing performance one of the worst we’ve seen in ages? (And there’ve been some bad refereeing performances for us in recent years!!).

I’d be very interested to hear your collective thoughts too – indeed, those from any passing Preston fans too as I can’t imagine you guys were too happy with some of his decisions either!