Graham Poll: Move on Ian Holloway, Martin Atkinson got two out of three right

26 April 2011 01:24
Martin Atkinson has missed three clear penalties - that waswhat I heard on the radio commentary on my way to Stamford Bridge for the lategame on Saturday.

I feared that the 'cup final curse' had struck Atkinson, whohad performed superbly well in his first game after the announcement that hehad been selected to referee this year's FA Cup Final at Wembley on 14 May.

He wasn't happy: Blackpool boss Ian Holloway screams in the direction of referee Martin Atkinson on Saturday

Yousee, referees still covet the FA showpiece final more than any other indomestic football. Once the appointment is made you are showered with congratulatory messagesand it is hard to focus on the games leading up to the 'big one'. As a resultyou tend to try harder and strive for perfection although you are aware that isseeking the impossible.

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I remember as if it was yesterday my first game in 2000after I was appointed to the last final at the old Wembley between Aston Villaand Chelsea. It was a key relegation game for West Bromwich Albion at FrattonPark.

I gave a scandalous penalty to the home side which stunned even thePompey faithful. I still feel bad that the Baggies were relegated that season -you see referees do care.

Atkinson by contrast was excellent in one of the games ofthe season at White Hart Lane in mid-week as Spurs came back for a 3-3 drawagainst arch north London rivals, Arsenal. So I watched MOTD intently and wasdelighted that, not for the first time, the radio commentators had misled me,and the listeners, as Blackpool were not denied three penalties.

The mostobvious, we were assured, was when Danny Simpson got not one hand but two ontothe ball. In fact Simpson hands were struck by the ball as he desperatelysought to avoid illegal contact with the ball - not an offence and certainlynot a penalty as the act must be deliberate.

Of the other two claims oneshould have been a penalty when DJ Simpson was caught by Williamson, but theother incident was a great decision as goalkeeper Tim Krul clearly palmed theball away first as Campbell again threatened the goal.

Spot on: Atkinson got the penalty decision involving Newcastle's Danny Simpson (left) correct on Saturday

Overall another good performance and one step closer to Wembleyfor Atkinson but sadly another slight on his integrity from the ever popularBlackpool manager, Ian Holloway who once again suggested that his team were notbig enough to get the penalty awards.

Like most people in football I likeHolloway and his amusing and forthright comments. However, he needs to wake upand accept that referees do not mind who win games but care about accuratedecision making. This morning Atkinson will be disappointed that he missed onepenalty decision but will know it was an honest decision made in a splitsecond.

It's time Holloway was big enough to accept that and move on.

 Bad week for. Mark Hughes

The Fulham boss was dismissed from thetechnical area by referee Michael Oliver for improper conduct. Hughes,strangely incensed by a correct decision to award a free kick against Hangelandtried to show his displeasure by kicking a water bottle - and missed it threetimes. Sparky by name, sparky by nature?

Pure frustration: Fulham boss Mark Hughes kicks a bottle

Good week for. Jose Mourhino

He led his Real Madrid sideto victory in the Copa del Rey in Spain. Mourhino set his team up in typicalfashion to commit cynical tactical fouls and place the referee under intensepressure. It is his darker side and it prevailed so expect more of the sameagainst the same opponents, arch rivals, Barcelona, on Wednesday evening.

Happy days: Mourinho celebrates after victory for Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final

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 Explore more:People: Ian Holloway, Mark Hughes, Danny Simpson, Martin Atkinson Places: Barcelona, London, Spain

Source: Daily_Mail