Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett slams 'astonishing' refereeing display during Dover Athletic defeat

When Craig Hignett met with the Professional Game Match Officials Limited before Saturday’s defeat against Dover Athletic – what followed was something he never expected.

Monday, 23rd September 2019, 16:45 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd September 2019, 16:50 pm
Hartlepool United manager Craig Hignett leaves the field after being shown a red card by referee Joe Johnson during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Dover Athletic at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 21st September 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

In a match marred by controversy, the Hartlepool United manager was sent off after speaking out at the fourth official after enduring the most ‘astonishing’ display of officiating he’s witnessed in his 31-year professional career.

“I had a meeting with PGMOL before the game,” Hignett confirmed.

“It’s ironic that I’m talking about the really poor standard of refereeing and we get that, what transpired on Saturday. It wasn’t a game of football so I won’t be talking about the football because there wasn’t one. I’ve never seen anything like it, it was astonishing.

“There wasn’t a second half. I can’t say anything but if you didn’t say [the referee lost control of the game] I don’t know what game you were at.

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“In all my years being involved in football as a player, as a manager, as a coach, I’ve never seen anything like that, what went on this afternoon. It was astonishing.

“I’m angry at the minute and I don’t want to say anything that will get me in trouble but like I say, this one has gone beyond and above anything we’ve ever witnessed.”

Pools have had several decisions go against them so far this season and Hignett has called for the standard of refereeing to be addressed.

“It needs to be dealt with seriously and we need to do it in the right way and we will do it in the right way,” he added.

“People need to take us seriously about it as well because, it’s hard to say, but the fans have paid good money to watch a game that was a non-event and it was ruined.

“The reason we had a meeting today was because we’ve had some really poor decisions go against us this year and I’ve showed them all.

“It’s all good people coming in and saying yeah you’re right but it’s costing us. For that to happen after the meeting, you’re like ‘wow!’

“Some things you can understand and put into context but on Saturday, I’ve got no idea what happened.”