Derek Davis' Football Chatter

THERE has been quite a song and dance about Graham Poll apparently tipping the wink to Alan Pardew that one of his players was close to being sent off - but surely it is no bad thing if referees are going to be open and try to cut red cards?Charlton boss Pardew caused consternation when he was nice about Poll after an incident in Monday's game against Reading at The Valley.

THERE has been quite a song and dance about Graham Poll apparently tipping the wink to Alan Pardew that one of his players was close to being sent off - but surely it is no bad thing if referees are going to be open and try to cut red cards?

Charlton boss Pardew caused consternation when he was nice about Poll after an incident in Monday's game against Reading at The Valley.

Pardew claimed he went to the officials' room at half time to get an assurance that he would be warned if Alex Song was about to get a second yellow card, and so be sent off, and that the man affectionately known as 'The Thing From Tring' did indeed give him 'the look', enabling Pardew to substitute his man.

Now, on the face of it a referee warning managers about a player to save them a red card, as they do in friendlies, is a good thing and to be welcomed.


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But does anyone really believe Poll did that? He of course denies it via the Premier League, but as usual refuses to speak to the media about it - I mean why would a referee explain his actions or inactions even when they could affect the lives of thousands, cost a few their jobs and be worth millions of pounds?

The man who showed a Croatian player three yellow cards in a World Cup match is not about to start showing hitherto unprecedented commonsense and be helpful.

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Of course Steve Coppell, the opposition manager may not think it was helpful, nor may the managers of Charlton's relegation rivals - West Ham's Alan Curbishley, Wigan's Paul Jewell or Sheffield United's Neil Warnock - unless all referees did it all the time.

As for Pardew and Song, did they not think that after one yellow card the player was actually in with a chance of being dismissed if he carried on his fouling, and so there was no need for a 'look'?

YOU won't believe this but some people actually scoffed when I revealed that Jim Magilton was in with a chance of taking over as the Northern Ireland manager.

Fair enough, it may be a little soon given 'Magic' has barely completed a year as a Championship manager - still a year more than Steve Staunton, I hear your cry - but stranger things have happened.

Now Lawrie Sanchez has taken over as caretaker manager at Fulham and Nigel Worthington, also in the frame, has got the same role at Leicester City.

Of course nothing has really changed, because Sanchez remains the Northern Ireland boss and they do not have a game while he looks to steer the Cottagers away from the relegation zone before they get sucked into the bottom three.

But his contract with the IFA runs out at the end of the year and even though they may be happy for him to carry on in a part-time role, if he is offered the Fulham job full time, will they be happy with him having two jobs?

More pertinently, will Sanchez want to do both or will he wait until after Northern Ireland have completed their qualifying campaign for the 2008 European Championships, and if so will he have to stay on there if the team qualify for the finals in Switzerland and Austria?

No doubt Worthington - and talking of football coincidences, fancy his first game in charge of the Foxes being against Norwich - will be keeping a close eye on what is going on at Windsor Park, or will the lure of trying to get City back in the Premiership be too tempting?

Meanwhile, who is that whistling Belfast Boy at Portman Road?

WE all know football has a marvellous way of throwing up fantastic coincidences, so it seems blindingly obvious that George Burley, the last manager to win a play-off final at Wembley, will be at the new stadium for the Championship play-offs this May as Southampton manager.

And to make it a fairytale day Tony Mowbray, the man who scored the first goal for Ipswich Town against Barnsley in the 2000 final, will be the in opposition to Burley as the boss of West Brom.

And of course after missing out with Town a couple of years ago and then seemingly being dumped by the Blues, Darren Currie playing in the Premiership with Derby County going up automatically - who says romance is dead?

Well done to Chatter readers Deborah Sewell of Bramford Tye and Colin Mayes of Ipswich for winning a pair of tickets each to enjoy An Evening With The FA Cup, at the Corn Exchange, next Thursday.

And congratulations also to Mike Hall of Kelvedon, who won the two tickets to see Town take on Derby County, on Saturday.

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