Refs heading in right direction

FAR from slaughtering referees who had a stinker over the weekend, I'm going to say well done. Not for the mistakes they made, of course, but for standing up and speaking out.

By Derek Davis

FAR from slaughtering referees who had a stinker over the weekend, I'm going to say well done. Not for the mistakes they made, of course, but for standing up and speaking out.

For a long time now I have called for officials to explain their actions publicly and all credit to Mark Halsey and Steve Bennett for doing just that.

Rob Styles also deserves a pat on the back for rescinding Didier Drogba's yellow card, which he flashed for diving instead of awarding Chelsea a penalty against Aston Villa - an honest mistake admitted too late.

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We know referees are only human so it is great to see them actually appear so.

As for recriminations - well, Mr Styles has been handed the West Ham v Ipswich game on Saturday - I'm not sure if that is a punishment or not.

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IF anyone is to be punished over the incident on the West Brom team bus as they waited to leave Anfield after losing to Liverpool on Saturday, it should not be Thomas Gaardsoe.

The former Ipswich defender was reportedly squirted with water by a member of the Baggies backroom staff and lost his rag.

He is one of the nicest blokes in football and a real gent but he is not the happiest of people after losing and would not exactly have been game for a laugh as, I'm sure, Gary Megson will well understand.

TRAVELLING the world to watch football and be paid for it may be many people's idea of a dream job but you need to stay on your toes.

A couple of our more well-known football people were caught out a little while following our home nations last week, but came out alright in the end.

Paul Goddard, wearing his England scouting hat, was watching Wales in Azerbaijan, went for a wander around Baku but when he got back to his hotel found his match ticket had been stolen from his jacket.

And over in Poland, Graham Taylor got a shock when he went to pay his hotel bill and found fans had been charging food and drink to his room.

Fortunately he was able to prove he was on the media bus going to the stadium at the time of the feast and didn't have to pay up.

HAVING had broken ribs myself I can empathise with Barry Hayles, who has two cracked ribs.

Mind you, the sympathy is limited as the Millwall striker's injury was pretty much self-inflicted.

If you are going to charge into Kelvin Davis you really need to be ready to be clattered.

Hayles could be out for up to a month and, of course, will miss the Lions' UEFA Cup tie on Thursday. Mind you, Danny Dichio should be back by then after missing the Ipswich defeat due to illness.

BLUES supporters will be delighted to know that the club has no plans to introduce some cheeky new advertising.

The Football League has now allowed sponsors to utilise space on players' shorts and the back of their shirts.

With the season underway and the new away kit only recently being sold, fans would have been forced to shell out even more cash if the space was sold.

But sales and marketing director Andrew Goulborn was quick to reassure fans and explained that not only was it not fair on them but they weren't sure if Powergen would take too kindly too it, or indeed the players.

Scunthorpe United are the only club so far to cash in and they have got Jeep emblazoned in a 100cm2 space on the back of the Iron players' shorts.

QUIZ fans will be able to flex their brain cells on Thursday when The Ipswich Town Supporters Club hold another of their famed football quizzes.

The first of the season kicks off at the Centre Spot at Portman Road on September 16, at 8pm.

Entrance to the quiz is £2 per person, teams of two-to-four players, with cash prizes for the winning team.

ALUN Armstrong could well be on his way to Darlington in his search for a new club.

The Geordie forward was unfortunate to get injured just before he was due to sign for Bristol City last month and, although fit again now, has yet to find a club since leaving Portman Road, with the Quakers his next stop.

BOSTON chairman Jon Sotnick has given his full support to manager Steve Evans, who is considering whether to quit the club because of a family illness. Evans was in charge for Saturday's 2-2 draw at Lincoln but is now considering his future with the Pilgrims after his eldest daughter was diagnosed with cancer.

RUSHDEN midfielder Gary Mills could miss the whole of the season after suffering an horrific leg injury against Oxford.

The 23-year-old sustaining a broken and dislocated ankle, a broken leg and significant ligament damage.

BURNLEY have signed French midfielder Amadou Sanokho on a short-term deal after a successful trial. Sanokho, who was most recently with Italian side Sanguistese, will be available for Tuesday's trip to Wigan after problems receiving international clearance delayed his signing.

YEOVIL have sold midfielder Simon Weatherstone to Conference South leaders Hornchurch for an undisclosed fee.

Weatherstone, 24, joined Yeovil from Boston United for £15,000 but only made 11 league appearances for the Glovers after his arrival in January.

He becomes the third Yeovil player to join the Urchins this year, following in the footsteps of Lee Elam and Kirk Jackson.

CHESTER chairman Stephen Vaughan admits he would not stand in Ian Rush's way if he was offered the Wales manager's job.

Rush, who has been in charge of Chester - his first managerial post - for only two games, might become a contender to replace Wales boss Mark Hughes, should Hughes leave for Blackburn.

CELTIC stars Bobo Balde and Momo Sylla have become Tractor Bhoys, but they have not joined fellow Guinea international Drissa Diallo at Portman Road.

The duo have been gifted two tractors and a plot of land as a reward for their World Cup exploits. The Parkhead pair helped Guinea to the top of their African qualifying section with a 4-0 victory against Botswana.

President Lansana Conte was so overjoyed that he decided they should receive presents, but not the usual cash bonuses.

The minister did not say why, but Guineans speculated that the gift fitted with Conte's appeal to his countrymen to work the land at a time of rice shortages.

The price of a 50kg bag of rice, the staple diet in the West African country, has more than tripled since April, putting it beyond the means of many of the country's eight million inhabitants.

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