Or just when you thought it couldn`t get any worse!
The Manchester City v Wigan Athletic Premier League clash on Saturday will be officiated by one of the worst referee`s to have ever taken charge of a Latics game, the hapless Stuart Attwell.
The last time Attwell took charge of a Latics game was…wait for it…March 29th 2010, the opponents, Manchester City, the result, 3-0 to City, a game that turned on a crazy refereeing decision that saw Gary Caldwell dismissed when the score was 0-0 following a two footed stamp by City player Carlos Tevez. Latics boss Roberto Martinez was so incensed and protested so much that he got an FA rap and a fine. Strange how the FA can thump someone for telling the truth yet let someone go free for a stiff arm smash.
Anyway back to Atwell, the young whistle blower has been fast tracked through to the Select Group of referees in record time at the tender age of 25 he became the Premier Leagues youngest ref after just one season as a Football League referee, and it shows.
Attwell though is certainly no stranger to controversy and Latics supporters will also remember him from the 2008/09 season, he was centre stage at what was then the JJB when the Latics lost 1-0 to West Ham in a game full of incident mainly caused by Attwell`s lack of authority on the pitch
That evening Attwell issued 2 red and 7 yellow cards, sending off Carlton Cole for 2 marginal yellow-card offences, failed to send off Lucas Neill for a dangerous tackle on Latics Lee Cattermole and then subsequently failed to control the players after sending off Cattermole for a tackle on Scott Parker who rolled about like a fish out of water. Latics boss at the time Steve Bruce said: ‘The game was ruined as a spectacle… In my opinion, Mr Attwell is not ready to step up to the plate.’
He has also had several other ‘mares including allowing the Reading ghost goal that never was at Watford two seasons back and a shocking display in the Derby Vs Nottm Forest game when he disallowed a goal in the last minute only to then award a penalty, which was subsequently missed.
Any way on to this season and Attwell has been in charge of 26 Premier League games and he has issued 95 yellow cards and just 4 reds, he must have mellowed in his old age.
Although he has officiated at the Mecca that is the DW Stadium, Stuart cites Wembley as the best ground he has refereed in when asked if he could choose any stadium in the world to be in charge of a game at, he says: ‘I have been fortunate to referee at Wembley, which is a fantastic venue, and has a fantastic history associated with it. This would be my first choice. Aside from this, I would love to referee at Barcelona`s Camp Nou or the Bernabeu in Madrid.’
It`s always interesting to know how officials prepare for the big games and they don`t come any bigger than City v Latics, do they? Well our intrepid Mr Attwell says he likes to read up on the teams tactics, strange, and he always makes sure he has a butty before the game, he says: ‘I don`t have any specific rituals or habits that I need to do before a game. I just make sure that I prepare fully for the match, in terms of knowing the teams and their tactics, training appropriately and making sure that I eat correctly before the game. Knowing that my preparation has been good will help me to focus for the match.`
Stuart Attwell Card Watch 2010/11
Games – 26, yellows – 95, reds – 4
Here`s hoping for a good game from the Nuneaton official, but I won`t be holding my breath
Latics and Proud
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