13 June 2009

Thank You Baby Jesus

A day late (and a dollar short, but that's another matter), but this couldn't go without a mention. And yes, it's also an excuse to employ the underused "Rob Styles is an imbecile" and "schadenfreude" tags.

Rob Styles retires to escape demands of officiating

There just might be a God after all.

Naturally, the Guardian can't resist mentioning the infamous Liverpool/Chelsea match where Styles decided that Malouda flinging himself to the ground in a bid to reenact Saving Private Ryan was a penalty.

Referees, no matter the sport, have an utterly thankless job. I know. I try not to criticize officials, even with the wonderful anonymity that the Internet provides. And I'd like to point out that this is coming from a guy who's had rec soccer teammates get mad at me for sticking up for calls against us.

But Rob Styles is, well, Rob Styles. The aforementioned Malouda incident. Those two awful decisions this year - the "penalty" leading to a United win over Bolton and the Beye sending off against City (which, if we're nitpicking, probably cost Newcastle two points that would have seen them stay up). And, yes, he's helped Liverpool before; Neil Warnock (a jewel of a man in his own right) still curses his name because of a penalty given which led to a 1-1 equalizer against Sheffield in the the first match of the 06-07 season. There are probably more egregious examples in Styles' catalog, but I've neither the willpower nor patience to seek them out.

I almost feel bad writing it, given we're discussing a man's livelihood, but frankly, the league will be better off without him. There is a dearth of good officials in the Premier League, and it's something that needs to be rectified - better wages, more emphasis on recruitment (which would come with better pay), some actual weight behind the "Respect" campaign, and improvements in technology (which will help them do their jobs). But Rob Styles has proven time and time again he's not one of the "good" ones.

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