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Mowbray irritated by 'pally' refs

Tony Mowbray

West Brom boss Tony Mowbray believes referees are being too "pally" with managers and players of big clubs.

Mowbray expressed his concerns to BBC Radio 5 Live following Tuesday's 5-0 home defeat by Manchester United in a game refereed by Rob Styles.

"It can irritate you them calling their players by the first name and trying to calm them down being pally," he said.

"I'm not questioning the integrity of referees, yet you should always feel that there's a level playing field."

During the Premier League match at the Hawthorns, Styles sent off Baggies defender Paul Robinson - a red card that has been subsequently rescinded - and booked five other home players, as well as two for United.

I firmly believe the management styles of officials needs to improve on the football pitch

West Brom boss Tony Mowbray

"A yellow card instantly comes out for our players and he (Styles) hasn't got a clue what his name is," added Mowbray.

"It's not something you have to be a lip-reader to do; referees genuinely are on first-name terms with some of these players.

"We had Mr Styles at Chelsea. It was, 'Frank (Lampard) this and Frank that'.

"It's almost as if refs want to be friends of the stars.

"I hope it doesn't come across as paranoia. I find myself sometimes feeling, when we play the likes of Peterborough (as they did in the FA Cup third round), a team lower down the pecking order currently than we are, that it's almost as if the referees try to help them along.

"Surely, if we play Manchester United that would work in the same way. But I don't feel it.

"Maybe officials, because they've had to referee Manchester United for so long they get used to it and there's a feeling they know their players better and we're just a newly promoted team."

Mowbray was also left feeling uncomfortable by the familiar way Styles appeared to treat United boss Sir Alex Ferguson when Tuesday's game was delayed due to traffic problems.

"Our game got delayed and the referee gets to call me and Sir Alex into the corridor to have a chat," said Mowbray.

"I don't think he even saw me and yet it's 'Sir Alex this' and 'Sir Alex that'."

Walham Green

Mowbray was keen to distance himself from any suggestion there was a genuine bias amongst officials, but suggested there was plenty of room for improvement.

"I firmly believe the management styles of officials needs to improve on the football pitch," he said.

"Sometimes you wonder if the equilibrium is right in the way the game is being officiated.

"I would just like referees to referee what they see with their eyes and respect the players as the players should respect the referee."

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see also
Robinson has red card rescinded
29 Jan 09 |  West Brom
West Brom 0-5 Man Utd
27 Jan 09 |  Premier League
FA to look into Ferguson remarks
17 Sep 08 |  Man Utd

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