Tony Craig was cruelly sent off in a crucial match against promotion rivals Sheffield United. Brentford’s appeal against his sending off was subsequently rejected and he now faces a three match ban. Journalist Jim Levack describes how he feels continually let down by the football authorities who’s lackadaisical attitude to sub-standard match officiating threatens to ruin the beautiful game.

Brentford’s failure to overturn Tony Craig’s red card should come as no surprise to anyone connected with the club… or League One football.

I have lost count of the times in post match press conferences where I’ve asked Uwe Rosler about the shambolic performances of match officials

He is the perfect diplomat though and always refuses to be dragged into anything which could land him a hefty fine or sanctions.

But the latest decision, if the club’s assertions on the video evidence are to be believed, flies in the face of the facts.

In a world where David Luiz’s assault on Jake Reeves goes unpunished, where linesmen usually haven’t the guts to make their own decisions and where consistency of refereeing ranges wildly within 90 minutes, facts are apparently the last thing the FA is concerned with.

We can only hope that Greg Dyke’s imminent arrival drags them kicking and screaming into the real world, but I don’t fancy his chances against the old boys brigade, most of whom will not have set foot on a football pitch in their lives.

Around 23,000 people saw first hand a referee out of his depth, panicking and giving decisions that baffled both sets of fans. He brought what was never a filthy game into disrepute.

Dave Kitson should have seen red for barging Dave over the hoardings, but escaped with a yellow – and that only for reacting to the Brentford player’s protests.

When he refused to get the 10 yards later on with the clock ticking, the bewildered official failed to produce a second yellow.

He did though give a baffling free kick and another red card for a ‘foul’ on Sam Saunders that never was – by now he was little more than a laughing stock.

But what repercussions will there be for his handling of what was admittedly a fairly frantic and breathless affair, largely fuelled by his own ineptitude?

Don’t hold your breath. The mysterious match assessors will slink back into the shadows, defending ‘their man’ to the hilt and then move on to another sloppy, inconsistent battle.

These often overweight, sluggish and ageing officials are in charge of professional athletes who know every trick in the book – just as Kitson did.

I’m frankly sick of watching games where the man in black believes we have come to watch him strutting and preening before being given a VIP film star–style escort from the ground.

I know the only answer is former players becoming refs and have heard all the Respect campaign arguments, but to my mind respect hs to be earned.

If it ends up costing us promotion (which I don’t think it will) the FA won’t care, the match official won’t care and the linesman who thought he saw a punch where no one else did won’t care. They’ll be back at work in their office or school come June.

Rosler is a shrewd cookie at motivating his team and I’m sure will be telling his players to win promotion despite the FA and atrocious officialdom strangling our game.

From my perspective, and I know most others, whatever this squad achieves now is a bonus.

They have, to a man, done us proud and are where they are on merit… I’d love them to take the next step and stick two fingers up at the perverse, common-sense free zone that repeatedly tarnishes the good name of Wembley.

Jim Levack
@jimblee1