With Crystal Palace at 5/4 to retain their Premier League status we look back at Freddie Sears’ phantom Eagles goal back in 2009, as well as four other terrible decisions from the men in charge over the last ten years.
The truly bizarre aspect of Freddie Sears’ struck-off opener against the Robins was that neither the referee or the linesman – who were both in great positions from different angles – saw the ball as it hit the back of the net and bounced back out. Neil Warnock’s snarling protestations were justified on this occasion as Palace ended up going down 1-0 to a late Nicky Maynard effort.
Opposing managers Aidy Boothroyd and Steve Coppell were both baffled with the goal that put the Royals in front, with Boothroyd sent to the stands after legitimately lambasting referee Stuart Atwell for allowing Noel Hunt’s header into the side-netting to stand.
Poor Graham Poll’s last action as a World Cup referee was to show a third yellow card followed by a red to Croatian defender Josip Simunic, having initially failed to send him off against Australia in the last game of the group stages. The mistake prompted FIFA to relieve the ‘thing from Tring’ from any further tournament duties and Poll retired from refereeing the following summer.
Nani’s disgraceful fakery when out-foxing Heurelho Gomes three years ago could easily have made this list, but few things stir the blood at White Hart Lane like the sight of Roy Carroll scooping the ball from half a metre behind his goal-line after Pedro Mendes’ audacious lob to rescue a draw at Old Trafford eight years ago.
The Irish only had themselves to blame after missing a glut of clear-cut chances to put Raymond Domenech’s wretched French side out of its misery and take their place at the tournament, but the former Arsenal legend’s unlawful intervention was a bitter pill to swallow and prompted FAI Chief Executive John Delaney to canvass FIFA for a discretionary place in South Africa, which was loudly laughed off by President Sepp Blatter.