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Just book me ref, I want a holiday


charierre

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PREMIERSHIP stars are getting booked on purpose to miss matches and skive off, the News of the World reveals today.

The astonishing betrayal of fans by prima donna players was exposed by top Premier League ref Steve Bennett. Last night the league’s bosses launched a probe and said: “We will be asking Bennett for an explanation.â€

A top international Premier League star asked to be booked so he could get suspended and go on holiday with his family.

ANOTHER tried the same trick because he wanted time off over Christmas.

Top ref blows whistle on ban scam

And a THIRD wangled a booking so he would miss a match at a far-flung ground where he didn’t fancy playing.

The astonishing allegations were made to undercover News of the World reporters by top referee Steve Bennett.

The ref, who took charge of the 2007 FA Cup Final, glanced from side to side, lowered his voice and whispered to one of our men: “Never repeat this.â€

READ: ANDY DUNN'S VERDICT ON SCAM

He said of the players: “As a fan, they f*****g rip you off. You don’t know half the things that go on . . . if they knew that, you’d be absolutely gutted, trust me.â€

Last night, after we put our findings to the Premier League, a spokesman said: “Those comments do not reflect the opinion of the PGMO (Premier Game Match Officials) and as such we will be asking Steve Bennett for an explanation.â€

Bennett’s sensational revelations, involving current and former stars, were made at a conference of UEFA referees in Spain this week.

The ref also INSISTED the practice was well used by foreign players who get suspended over Christmas because they are used to a winter break.

He also BLASTED one current ace, calling him a “cheating bar stewardâ€.

His astonishing claims came at the five-star Hotel Torrequebrada in Benalmadena, venue for the six-day convention to improve ref standards.

Bennett, a Crystal Palace fan from Farnborough, Kent, flew in from Gatwick to Malaga on Sunday at around 8pm before being chauffeured to the hotel 15 miles away. Premiership colleagues Mike Dean, Andre Marriner, Stuart Attwell, Howard Dean and Mike Riley were also there. At midnight the English refs, plus former official David Elleray, enjoyed a nightcap in the hotel bar.

It was then that Bennett, who refereed the match between Blackburn and Aston Villa yesterday, made his mind-blowing allegations.

We have decided not to divulge the identities of the players involved for legal reasons. But the News of the World has taped records of Bennett making his astonishing revelations and video footage.

Still in his UEFA training kit, Bennett recalled one occasion when a player on four yellow cards told him he wanted to be booked to miss a far-flung game. Players who collect five yellow cards automatically get a one-match ban. A straight red card can earn a player up to three matches off.

Bennett, 48, said: “XXXXXX certainly said it to me. ‘I ain’t, I don’t want to play against f*****g XXXXXX’.â€

Crude

The player, who has pocketed millions in transfer fees, then launched himself into a crude tackle, forcing Bennett to give him a yellow card. The player missed the match he told Bennett he didn’t want to play in.

Bennett then told our men about another player, who wanted Christmas off. Glancing from side to side, Bennett whispered: “He’s come in the dresser beforehand . . . he came into the dressing room on my mother’s life and said I need one more yellow card. So I gave him a yellow card and, ‘No, no, no, no,’ he says, ‘On the pitch’. It’s up to you.â€

Here is a transcript of our conversation with Bennett. It is sure to disgust fans, struggling with the credit crunch, who pay the wages of players earning up to £150,000 a week.

REPORTER: And players do that?

BENNETT: And they go straight through a bloke, to get a yellow card so that they don’t have to play over Christmas.

REPORTER: But as a fan . . .

BENNETT: I know and if they knew that, you’d be absolutely gutted, trust me. XXXXXX certainly said it to me, ‘I ain’t, I don’t want to play against f****** XXXXXX’. And what about XXXXXX’s tackle at XXXXXX?

REPORTER: Did he want Christmas off?

BENNETT: When you watch that. He comes in and you think what the f*****g hell are you making a tackle like that for?

REPORTER: But, as a fan.

BENNETT: He did. It’s Christmas, that’s three games. Absolutely. You don’t realise that. When you think about it now. You watch. Every year.

REPORTER: Cos they want Christmas off with their families.

SPILLING THE BEANS: Bennett in hotel barBENNETT: They want a rest. What p***** off XXXXXX, I know for a fact, so does everybody else, he had a family holiday booked to go to XXXXXX for Christmas, right?

REPORTER: And he didn’t get booked?

BENNETT: Yep, he got sent off against XXXXXX. That’s why he made that tackle right? Right? But the manager says, ‘You ain’t going f*****g walkies. You are staying with the team and you will turn it in, f*****g good job. I was at XXXXXX on XXXXXX and XXXXXX sat in the box. He did not look happy. Between you me and the gatepost.

REPORTER: Mate, I can’t, like, look, as a fan, right, if if anyone . . .

BENNETT: As a fan, they f*****g rip you off. You don’t know half the things that go on. You don’t know half the things that go on.

Just metres away, colleagues Howard Webb and Mike Dean were singing Liverpool anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone, unaware Bennett was letting slip the shameful secrets that will rock football.

Fingers

Bennett went on to claim a number of foreign stars, used to a winter break in their own countries, stick two fingers up at their fans by getting Christmas off.

BENNETT: All I’m saying is the foreigner players probably do it more because they are never used to playing games over the Christmas period, because all over Europe there is a three- week, four-week gap.

On the tape, which you can hear above, he also calls a top foreign star a “cheating bar steward†for diving to win a penalty.

BENNETT: He (unclear) the ball, takes one step, two steps, turns his body and just f*****g launches himself. I mean two XXXXXX players go like that. But they are nowhere near him. If are in the wrong position, you’ve a penalty. So I got into a position and thought, ‘You cheating bar steward’. That’s what you say to yourself.â€

NOTW

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I read about this in the swedish papers and I think it's appauling.

Now I can understand if someone wants time off to spend some time with the family, especially over christmas, but it's no excuse to f*ck the team and the fans over like that. Disgraceful.

Now, two things kinda jumped out at me:

1. "He also BLASTED one current ace, calling him a “cheating bar stewardâ€."

- Well, I guess we can conclude that has to be either Gerrard or Ronaldo. :angry:

2. "Just metres away, colleagues Howard Webb and Mike Dean were singing Liverpool anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone"

- WTF!? Webb and Dean secretly supporting the scousers? Why else would anyone in their right mind sing that song? It would be like Gerrard singing "Celery" or something.

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I think a little perspective is needed. I have heard this reported on the radio and people seem to think that if a player is suspended for a game or two they can take the week off and spend time with the family. That just isn't the case. If a player is suspended they are still in for training including on the day of the game they are missing (if they are not actually at the game). They don't actually get more time with the family so that angle is paper talk.

My guess is this is a storm in a teacup and if there is any truth to it then it relates to one or two players, not a stack of them.

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2. "Just metres away, colleagues Howard Webb and Mike Dean were singing Liverpool anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone"

- WTF!? Webb and Dean secretly supporting the scousers? Why else would anyone in their right mind sing that song? It would be like Gerrard singing "Celery" or something.

This seriously disturbed me when I read it. I hope more is made of this story, alot more, so those two get sacked. Something like that calls into question the whole process.

As for the players, I cant help but think about the JT tackle against Everton. And I hope to god the ace is the Starfish. But really, the fact that some players do this is no shock. You can tell most of them are selfish bar stewards who dont really give a toss about their teams or fans. If they are not on title winning sides (or in Drogba's case if they are) it really doesnt matter if they miss one or two fixtures and end up in 10th rather than 12th come may. Its probably all the same to some of them.

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This seriously disturbed me when I read it. I hope more is made of this story, alot more, so those two get sacked. Something like that calls into question the whole process.

As for the players, I cant help but think about the JT tackle against Everton. And I hope to god the ace is the Starfish. But really, the fact that some players do this is no shock. You can tell most of them are selfish bar stewards who dont really give a toss about their teams or fans. If they are not on title winning sides (or in Drogba's case if they are) it really doesnt matter if they miss one or two fixtures and end up in 10th rather than 12th come may. Its probably all the same to some of them.

A dozen Chelsea players and the management were on holiday this weekend, but unfortunately chose to wear their full strip and stand on the Stamford Bridge pitch during their day off

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