Wigan Athletic Vs Manchester United tomorrow at the DW Stadium will be refereed by Rotherham born Howard Webb who is in his 6th year as a Premier League ref.
38 year old Webb began refereeing in the Rotherham local leagues before progressing through to Northern Counties League and then becoming a Football League assistant referee in 1996, he became a fully fledged Football League ref in 2000 and got further promotion to the Premier League when on the 18th October 2003 he took charge of the Fulham – Wolves 0-0 draw.
Last season Webb took charge of 47 games issuing 155 yellow cards and 6 reds.
Webb recently gave an interview with the Independent newspaper below is an excerpt.
Should diving or simulating be punished retrospectively if the referee misses it? That’s a difficult one because even afterwards, with the benefit of replays and slow motion, it’s not always obvious if it was a dive or not; if a player is going full pelt even the slightest of touches can send them flying. Also a lot of referees rely on a mixture of gut instinct and experience when judging these types of incidents and the temptation to think, ‘Oh well that will get sorted later’ could prevent critical decisions being made in a match when, let’s face it, it could really make a difference for the team that has been sinned against.
Do you think technology – ‘a third referee’ – should be used to assist the man in the middle? I think the place most referees would like to get some help from technology is on goal-line incidents. The Spurs goal against Manchester United the other season [when Pedro Mendes’ long-range volley clearly crossed the goal-line but play continued] was a case in point. Most of the ground, and certainly everyone watching on television, could see it was clearly a goal but because of the position of the match officials it was impossible for them to give a goal with any certainty. Some help there, either with video replays or some form of chip in the ball, in my view would certainly improve the game.
Who was/is the best player you have been lucky enough to watch from the middle?
At the moment it has to be Wayne Rooney – his pace, power and uninhibited style of play make him an extremely exciting player to watch. He must be a nightmare to play against because you’re never sure what he’s going to do next. For that reason he’s not always the easiest of players to referee!
Have you ever sworn at a player? Not so that he can hear me.
How do you wind down on a Saturday night after a game? It’s difficult because you’re really hyped up after the game and you tend to replay certain incidents in your mind, plus there’s the admin of getting your referee’s report done and submitted. But I’ve got a great wife and kids and there’s nothing better than spending time with them to put things in perspective.
What do you have on your iPod? An eclectic mix which is too embarrassing to go into any detail about.
Lets hope he has one of his better games and doesn`t give United, who appear to be his favoured club, any advantage by being over protective.
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