Former referee Mark Halsey, the man who was in charge of Manchester City’s legendary Wembley playoff win over Gillingham in 1999, has labelled Anthony Taylor’s actions when sending off Fabian Delph against Wigan last night as “weak”.
Delph’s challenge was arguably worthy of a red card, but in his mind Taylor had determined that a yellow card was sufficient, taking the yellow out of his pocket and writing Delph’s name on it.
Then, the Mancunian referee was clearly influenced by Wigan players and staff, leading to him changing his mind and instead brandishing a game-changing red card to Delph.
And Halsey has criticised Taylor for this moment of weakness in comments made to Yahoo!.
“The moment Anthony Taylor pulled out a yellow card out and started the cautioning procedure and writing Fabian Delph’s number on the back, that should have been his final decision, but he was influenced by the protests of the Wigan players and coaching team and that appeared to change his mind,” Halsey said.
“That can never happen. You have to stand by your decision whatever pressure you may come under and stay mentally strong. A referee looks weak if it appears he is being influenced by players surrounding him on the field.
“When a player make a challenge of the nature Delph did, he runs the risk of being sent off when he went into that challenge and he gave the referee a decision that could have gone either way. It was between a yellow and red card, maybe an orange card you could say, but that does not explain the way the referee handled the situation.
“The first mistake he made was pulling the yellow card out so quickly. The referee should have taken time to assess the situation, replay the incident in his mind and seek additional information from his colleagues to come to right conclusion.
“Instead, Anthony Taylor appeared to get confused by the Wigan players around him and maybe even influenced by the Wigan bench, who were very vocal in their protests to the fourth official Jeremy Simpson.
“Both the referee and the fourth official have to be strong despite the pressure of that situation and on this occasion, both appeared to lack that conviction to stand by the initial decision, which was a yellow card.
“The fourth official could have added to the uncertainty in the mind of the referees by giving him additional information after his initial decision was made. Once the referee is going through a cautioning procedure, the fourth official should not give any additional information, but it appeared that protocol was broken on this occasion.”
“I wouldn’t have disagreed had a red card come out after that challenge, but the way we got to that decision was not satisfactory.
“Anthony Taylor has just been appointed to the elite UEFA list and if he changed his mind in the manner he did in the Wigan v Man City game during a Champions League match, he would be in big trouble with UEFA.”
Manchester City fans were disgruntled on social media last night, not necessarily because of the red card, but because nine challenges of a similar nature, most of them more graphic than Delph’s, have not been punished with red cards by referees this season.
Despite last night’s disappointment and more inconsistent officiating against them, City must now regroup and begin preparing for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley.