Was it just yesterday that I complained that there wasn’t enough drama in the Arsenal v Man U UEFA Champions League semi-final to keep me interested? Well, evidently Tom Henning Øvrebø was reading while (possibly) getting instructions from various betting syndicates across the shadier parts of Europe. And he offered me some lovely Stilton to go with my previous evening’s chalk.
I don’t think I have ever seen a more biased or inept refereeing performance in my life. Well, not one that didn’t involve Sheffield United or a match I was playing in, anyway. The refs always seem to be bent in those matches.
For me as a neutral to have been so disgusted at it tells you what the Chelsea fans must have thought. As does the fact that there are death threats against Mr Øvrebø all over the internet and the fact that he had to be smuggled out of the UK by police.
He must be thanking his lucky stars that the annual gathering of the Uncle Fester Lookalike Organisation was held in London this week, affording him some form of protection.
Now, I’m certainly not condoning the death threats, nor do I support the antics of Didier Drogba, who turned dramatically to the camera as he left the field at the end of the game and shouted, quite audibly:
“It’s a disgrace! It’s a [naughty word] disgrace!”
But I can quite understand why he felt that way. Because it was a [naughty word] disgrace. I mentioned this whole thing in February, when Peter Walton made mistakes in the Blades cup tie at Hull City. Once again, a referee has not done the job he is paid to do. And it’s cost Chelsea millions of pounds. Sod the fact that Roman Abramovich can afford it – that’s beside the point.
Drogba and teammate Michael Ballack will surely face disciplinary hearings over their actions last night. I would guess that Bosingwa and Lampard, who have also spoken out will be in trouble too. But what of the overweight baldy from Norway, smuggled back to Oslo by police overnight? What action will he face?
Well, if Euro 2008 is anything to go by – not much. Øvrebø refereed one match there and made so many errors that he was removed from the referees list for the rest of the competition. But UEFA still obviously trust him to have another go at making costly errors in big games. Surely that’s got to be it now, though?
Til next time, right?
EDIT: I was on John Maytham’s show on Cape Talk last night discussing this point.
EDIT 2: Drogba has issued a formal apology.
EDIT 3: 5fm reporting that Chelsea will dump Drogba at the end of the season and not renew his contract.