Let's play the pro way - Royle

FED-up Joe Royle is so disillusioned with the treatment his side have received from refereeing officials this season he is considering telling his players to lose the club's traditional Corinthian spirit.

By Derek Davis

FED-up Joe Royle is so disillusioned with the treatment his side have received from refereeing officials this season he is considering telling his players to lose the club's traditional Corinthian spirit.

Royle was angered by Tyne & Wear official Eddie Ilderton's decision to dismiss Richard Naylor on Tuesday, and his general handling of the game, and has been left 'exasperated' by the way his players have suffered at the hands of officials falling for opponents' 'professional' way of gaining an advantage.

The Blues lost their appeal for wrongful dismissal after Naylor's 10th-minute red card at Preston and he will miss the game at Crystal Palace tomorrow and the home match with Hull City next week.


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Royle said: “I'm very disappointed that the appeal was not upheld but not surprised bearing in mind the nature of how these things tend to go. Still, it is onwards and upwards for us now, and we have to get on with it.”

Despite the five red and 56 yellow cards so far this season, the Blues are not perceived as a dirty team or any worse-behaved than four years ago when they qualified for the UEFA Cup via the Fair Play League, a year after getting into the competition for finishing fifth in the Premiership.

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Royle said: “It is laughable that we have had five red cards this season.

“Us and Crewe are the least physical sides in the country so to get five players sent off is baffling.

“If you ask anyone in the league if we are physical you will get a lot of smiles and head-shaking.

“All our sending-offs have involved simulation/diving. We have lost four of the games when we have been down to 10 men. If only we had a fair crack of the whip, not only with those decisions but others, then we could have been in the play-offs - even with all our injury problems.

“At the same time I can't remember too many decisions where I have smiled and thought 'We have had a break there'.”

Although it would go completely against the grain for Ipswich Town, Royle is becoming convinced that perhaps the team need to adopt an attitude that 'if you can't beat them - join them.'

He said: “The foreign players may have introduced simulation to our game but it is not just the imports who dive now and it is a worrying trend.

“As we saw at Preston with the Naylor incident, there is a growing trend among players to harass the referee. We don't do that but perhaps we should start.

“We may have to reconsider our Corinthian attitude to the game. It is sad to be saying that and I will be writing to the Head of Referees explaining that.”

Royle is livid at not just that sending-off, but three of the other four red cards the Blues have received this season - an unwanted club record.

He said: “We had the card shown against Sito in the Norwich game rescinded but it was too late because we had already lost a derby game.

“I would not argue about the sending off for him at Sheffield United for two bookings and we didn't contest it.

“I'm sure Bam Bam would have got cleared in the Millwall game and I was surprised the card against Fabian was not rescinded after seeing the video evidence.”

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