Opinion: Referees union close ranks
Feature by Paul Farrington
Updated Tuesday, 2nd October 2012
Fresh from removing his Manchester United shirt, Howard Webb may aswell have been sporting a Sunderland shirt for Saturday's game with Sunderland.
Clearly Martinez's remarks about referee Michael Oliver's performance in the game with Manchester United have hit a nerve with those in power.
The Latics boss has a charge to answer from the FA in relation to his remarks about the performance of Oliver who gave what can only be described as what appeared to be a very one-ided performance at Old Trafford.
Penalties and red card decisions only ever go one way when the Latics face the big clubs and following a defiant first half performance this became to much for Roberto Martinez who chose to speak out.
In a move that smacks of a put up and shut up, the Football Association have not praised the remarks of Martinez but rather given him a charge to answer.
The Spaniard was not derogatory in his remarks about Oliver and neither was he suggesting a deliberate bias from the referee. Martinez merely stated facts about how he perceives the way decisions went.
Fast forward one week and Howard Webb's performance appeared to be that of a man sticking up for his colleage Oliver by way of awarding the Latics very few decisions.
Sebastian Larsson's two footed lunge at Arouna Kone in the last minute was a clear red card offence given Jordi Gomez's one footed red card earlier in the game.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the debacle is the fact taht those in power are so detached from the realities. Niether Webb nor Oliver will be subject to a meaningful performance review and instead Martinez will be forced to keep the Old Boys club at the FA going by way of a significant fine.
This is another reason to add to the scrap-heap of why football is growing more and more detached from the grass roots and those supporters who make it the global force it is today.
The flip side of the coin is that the Latics and Roberto Martinez would be much better focussing their attentions on the factors over which they have control.
The refereeing decisions which have been the cause of controversey are not the sole reason for our present league position.
Despite the fancy football and promising performances, the results have not been there. Injuries and suspensions have played their part but after three years in charge Roberto should be well aware of what it takes to pick up the points.
We're fast sliding towards the wrong end of the table early on in the season yet again and it would appear that the players are determined to plough the furrow of miraculous escape once more.
Perhaps a little more focus on results in the early season and a drive up the table would then allow such show-boating and fancy football later in the season.
Fulham at home is not a game we should be losing.
To summarise, the season is still very young and the referees are still seemingly blind (despite their now £100k+ salaries). Perhaps we should better focus our attentions on performing to our best and putting games beyond the bia or incompetance of referee.
Instead of looking for those to blame the players need to look at themselves and step up as a collective. Everton at home on Saturday is going to be a very tough game and we'll need to be at our best to take anything from it.