Saturday, 8th November 2003
Before I start, here's a sobering thought. It appears that, according to my paper today, there are now less than 50 survivors in this country of the 8 million or so that took part in the First World War. So spare a thought for all those who served and, if you see an old bloke (or indeed woman) wearing medals in your local this Remembrance Sunday, why not buy them a pint to say thanks?
Right to the match. I’ve had to look up all my old reports in order to try to find new words to describe just how bad Mike Dean is. When you get stitched up so often by the same ref it’s time for someone to start asking serious questions about the official concerned and of those who saw fit to appoint him. Whatever the reason for his appointment it was obvious right from the word go that Dean had made his mind up before kick off he was going to make a name for himself at some stage during the match.
It all started so marvellously well. As early as 51seconds gone Etherington made a superb tackle on the left hand side and fed Defoe. Defoe turned the defence inside out before driving a cross-cum shot that found the net via a deflection. Defoe’s celebration was hardly excessive but that didn’t stop Dean having a word - after all we’d all paid to see him ref rather than Defoe score goals hadn’t we?
However I was convinced that Dean couldn’t spoil things for me on 10 minutes when, following some good work from Hutchison on the left, Deane (with an “e”) sidefooted home from 10 yards to open his account. The Boleyn went into further raptures of delight on 18 minutes when Dean gave a free-kick for what was possibly the only correct decision I have ever seen him give - and it’s been my misfortune to see him ref too many times. With Albion men on the line Defoe cleverly chipped over the wall for Deane’s back header to catch Hoult unawares.
So 3-0 up and playing some blinding football. Heck, if Defoe had been able to put us 4-0 up when running on to Hutchison’s clever ball I am confident that we’d have won by a hatful. What could possibly go wrong? Well a combination of crap defending and Mike Dean never go well together. Firstly a long ball in the direction of Hulse seemed to have been well covered by Dailly only for the Scotsman to inexplicably stop to allow Hulse to get a foot in to put the ball past James.
Then Dean got in on the act. A cross from the left was aimed towards Deane who not for the first or last time in the afternoon was clearly fouled by the defender climbing all over him. Seizing his chance to do something controversial ref Dean waved play on only for the ball to come out to Defoe who had both legs taken away from him on the edge of the box. The ref gleefully took the opportunity to book Defoe for having the temerity to be fouled. The decisions were totally baffling in the light of Dean’s notable track record for awarding penalties for the slightest of infringements when they’re up the other end. Indeed the booking for “diving” was even more disgusting bearing in mind Dean’s performance in the matches against Ars*nal and Villa last season. It was clear that here was a ref with a pre-prepared agenda. Defoe was going to be sent off at some stage and there was nothing anyone could do about it. It was only a matter of time.
Somehow, despite creating absolutely nothing of note, Albion found themslves back in the game when Dailly lost out to Hulse whose 25 yard drive into the top left was a beaut.
Despite this setback I was confident that barring anything stupid happening, such as a frankly corrupt referee taking over the match for his own personal self-aggrandisment, we could outscore the opposition such was the panic instilled in the Albion defence when we went forward. So, just before half time, Dean stuck his oar in. Defoe slid in in what even the most one-eyed of Albion supporters was heard to describe as a genuine if late attempt to block the ball. Any contact with the player was minimal - indeed from my angle there was no contact at all and it certainly looks that way on the replays I’ve seen. Oh boy how it made Dean’s day. He ran 20 yards and produced the red card with such a big smile on his face as his chest puffed out with pride that he all but stole the best BAFTA from the defender whose suspiciously speedy recovery from the incident spoke volumes. Strangely a far worse challenge by Haas on Etherington a few minutes previously only met with a yellow card funny that - not.
From that point on there was only going to be one winner. The second half was largely one-way traffic as Albion‘s 12 men took advantage of their numerical superiority. Where balls played up to Deane had found a willing outlet in Defoe this avenue was closed off to us and we had little available on the bench to change things round. Deane the player was particularly unfortunate to get nothing out of his near namesake. Bearing in mind that his marker found it necessary to climb over Deane on every occasion the ref’s yellow to Deane for a collision that occurred when both striker and defender had eyes only for the ball was laughable.
It still took a fluke to equalise though. As KUMB regular Brillo reminded everyone Brian Deane always scores against us and so he did volleying a corner past James to level the scores. Worse was to come on 77 minutes when James unwisely elected to come and punch a ball that really wasn’t his to claim. The loose ball was claimed by Hughes who put the ball into the unguarded net to give the visitors a victory that they can only have dreamed of an hour previously.
Dean the ref still had time to make one final contribution to the Twilight Zone school of refereeing. I think it was Dobie who went down under minimal pressure in the box late on. Now ref it was either a penalty or it wasn’t. If it wasn’t then Dobie (or whoever it was) was guilty of a dive. You remember ref - the same sort of thing that you took great delight in brandishing a yellow card to Defoe for in the first half. You can’t have it both ways ref. Of course Dobie or whoever isn’t as well-known a name as Defoe and you’re not going to be able to get the same amount of boasting to your friends out of booking someone nobody’s heard of are you. Cynical? Maybe but we’ve suffered at the hands of this guy so often now that unless someone can come up with a better explanation, all the facts point to the suggestion that here is a ref so full of his own self-importance that he’s willing to corrupt every match he gets involved in just to make himself look good. As far as I was concerned the final straw was the pats on the back that Dean received from the grateful Albion players at full time. They knew!
This being Defoe’s second red of the season he now faces a lengthy ban, which is somewhat ironic bearing in mind that it was the same ref who decided that Bergkamp‘s elbow on Bowyer last season wasn’t a foul. On that occasion the FA overruled Dean leading to Bergkamp’s second final warning of the season and, er, no ban at all. Justice? Don’t make me laugh. If only I had a head for heights I’d dress myself up as a superhero and chain myself to a crane until Dean gets banned from refereeing ever again.
Whaddya mean its been done?
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His most hesitant performance for a while. Mix up with Dailly responsible for the first and weak punch let to the winner.
Back to right back and probably the better of our defenders on a day when none of the back 4 covered themselves in glory.
On a hiding to nothing when we were down to 10 - couldn’t get forward much and often had to battle against the extra man over.
A bit of a ‘mare. Poor defensively and dreadful distribution made for his worst game in ages.
A number of brave blocks as he had to compensate for the skipper’s off day.
Was fine in the first half where he had time on the ball to stroll about and run the midfield. Unfortunately we needed different qualities in the second half.
Beginning to find his feet in the middle.
Looked a bit ponderous in running but took his goals well. When fouled, as he was constantly, he should learn to go down as if shot a bit more - he always used to do it against us after all.
At the heart of most attacks early on - put in a lot of effort.
Seemed to disappear at the same time as Defoe.
Dreadfully unlucky to see red in my opinion - but you probably guessed that!
(Replaced Quinn, 79) Unable to have any influence in the short time he was on.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Referee: A.Wanker (aka M.Dean).
Man of the Match: Matthew Etherington.
West Ham United
Goals: Jermain Defoe 1 Brian Deane 10 Brian Deane 18
Booked: Jermain Defoe 32 Brian Deane 74 .
Sent Off: Jermain Defoe 44 .
Hoult, Gilchrist, Haas, Robinson, Gaardsoe, O'Connor, Gregan, Koumas, Johnson, Dobie, Hulse.
Substitutes: Sakiri (O'Connor 56), Hughes (Dobie 69), Clement (Robinson 85).
Subs not used: Murphy, Chambers.
Goals: Hulse (25, 40), Deane og (66), Hughes (77).
Booked: Haas (42).
Sent Off: .