Daily Mail

MARTIN SAMUEL: David Coote upsets fans again but who cares?

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 22/11/2020 23:31:13 Martin Samuel - Sport for the Daily Mail
a group of young men playing a game of football: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily MailMailOnline logo

Never mind, it's only West Brom. David Coote may have been at the centre of more controversy this weekend, but at least he didn't upset the supporters of any big clubs.

Indeed, how relieved must he have been that every one of his significant calls on Saturday favoured Manchester United.

The penalty that he turned down; the one he gave; the one he ordered to be retaken. All went United's way. So no big social media storm there.

a man standing on a baseball field: David Coote overturned his decision to award West Brom a penalty against Man United © Provided by Daily MailDavid Coote overturned his decision to award West Brom a penalty against Man United

Nothing that would cause the PGMOL administrators to start fiddling with their appointments list again. And if the rule of the mob is the way forward for football, then this was a positive weekend for the Premier League.

Coote was initially supposed to be VAR at Liverpool's match against Leicester on Sunday night. But that was the role he had performed for the Merseyside derby last month, when he missed Jordan Pickford's foul tackle on Virgil van Dijk. 

So a social media backlash from angry Liverpool fans followed - at which point the PGMOL announced a switch, with Coote made referee of United's game against West Brom instead. And some of us wondered what message that sent, if the large fan base of a club could influence the selection of senior officials.

David Coote holding a football ball: Every one of Coote's significant calls on Saturday favoured Manchester United © Provided by Daily MailEvery one of Coote's significant calls on Saturday favoured Manchester United

And we will never know for sure, but if a referee was looking for a quiet life he would have called the Old Trafford game exactly as Coote did.

He would have reversed his decision to give a penalty to West Brom, even though what Bruno Fernandes got of the ball when tripping Conor Gallagher was negligible enough to be of no consequence. 

He would have given a penalty against Darnell Furlong for handball, even though it looked very unfortunate, and he would have ordered a retake because goalkeeper Sam Johnstone had advanced from his line to make the first save. 

United were awarded a penalty after a Darnell Furlong handball in the second half © Provided by Daily MailUnited were awarded a penalty after a Darnell Furlong handball in the second half a stadium with people in the court: Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone strayed off his line when saving Fernandes's first attempt © Provided by Daily MailGoalkeeper Sam Johnstone strayed off his line when saving Fernandes's first attempt

And while the Furlong judgment, and certainly that against Johnstone, involved the application of modern rules, few neutrals agreed with ruling out West Brom's penalty. It was a foul. A foul committed by a big player for a big club, with a very big need for a home win. What good fortune that problem went away, then.

This is not to doubt Coote's integrity. His VAR, Peter Bankes, alerted him to the possibility Fernandes may have got a slight touch on the ball. Yet given that escape route, who knows what pressure he felt subconsciously, the PGMOL having made it clear that upsetting large fan bases was to be avoided. 

Some may suspect the PGMOL's clumsy handling of this case is just another example of elite club advantage. But who cares about them anyway? It's only West Brom.

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23. marraskuuta 2020 1:31:13 Categories: Daily Mail

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