Royle blasts officials

BLUES boss Joe Royle has called on a number of footballing bodies to do something about the standard of refereeing in the Championship after the Blues suffered a record sixth red card in a season.

By Derek Davis

BLUES boss Joe Royle has called on a number of footballing bodies to do something about the standard of refereeing in the Championship after the Blues suffered a record sixth red card in a season.

Royle said: “Yet again we have finished with 10-men and yet again we are puzzled. I have written to the head of referees, the League Managers' Association and the Professional Footballers Association complaining about the standard of refereeing in this division.

“We are not a dirty side yet we have six sending-offs this year for absolutely nothing.”


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Although Town won't appeal over Fuller's dismissal, Royle sympathised with the Jamaican striker and added: “I feel for Ricardo although he was silly. The fans had been giving him a hard time, on top of the centre halves pulling and tugging and him never getting a foul awarded. In frustration he has put two fingers up to their crowd - but if that is a sending off then, my God.

“Alan Lee has burst through and was pulled back, yet the referee has given them a foul.”

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Although it was a good point for Town at one of the play-off contenders, Royle admitted the results over the past 10 days have made what was already a hard job even tougher. But given the changes he had to make last summer, and the catalogue of injuries since, the team has still done very well.

Royle said: “We needed the win against Palace to be back in the hunt but now it is difficult. Unfortunately we have taken two points from a possible nine, in a big seven days for us.

“I'm very proud of the players who have faced great adversity. If we had been offered a top-10 place at the start of the season I would have accepted that. But you can't tell fans that at the beginning of the season, although I knew it was never going to be easy.

“That said if we had not had those six sending-offs we would probably have been 10 points better off.”

Although the red card and two lost points cast a shadow over the day, Royle was still delighted with much of the afternoon's work.

He said: “I can see why Palace are very direct, as their pitch is hardly conducive to passing football but we did manage to play the better, more considered, football.

“With a bit more luck and maybe one or two decisions we might have won it.

“I was delighted with the performance with five senior players missing.

“The young players were terrific. Chris Casement has come on at right back and made his debut and looked totally at home. Shane (Supple) has been excellent.

“Matt (Richards) was arguably our best player although our front two also gave them a torrid time without quite getting the support from the referee that they needed.

“The players are upset about both fouls that led to the goals and are talking simulation - but that is nothing new.”

Palace boss Iain Dowie concurred: “I wish our pitch was like Portman Road. It was hard to play on Saturday, and some of my players were not quite at the level required.

“Ipswich are a good side, and they came to play football, and to gain a win.”

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