GUS Poyet is hoping for a personal apology from Referees’ Association boss Mike Riley this week after Kevin Friend’s howler.
The Leicestershire official’s decision to send off Wes Brown in the first half of Sunderland’s important game against Stoke City was clearly, and profoundly, wrong.
And the only thing that might match it for idiocy would be if the FA does not accede to Sunderland’s appeal submitted today and rescind the red card.
If and when that happens, it will be scant consolation to Poyet who felt the injustice both professionally and personally and insisted afterwards that if Riley could ring West Brom’s Steve Clarke to apologise for Andre Marriner’s recent woeful penalty decision against Chelsea, he should extend the same courtesy to Sunderland for a decision he regarded as worse.
He hopes Friend will acknowledge that he made an error in his referee’s report but Sunderland must still go through the rigmarole of an appeal which Poyet feels the Referees’ Association should feel contrition for.
“I would like the referees’ chief to apologise to me,” he said. “Maybe he will call me during the week, I will have my phone on.
“They call a British manager to say ‘sorry’, maybe it is time to call a foreign manager, and we can make it one-one and move on.
“I think it would be a good thing in general to ring and apologise.
“If the referee involved in our game will now look at it again and say it is not a red card, then there is no discussion.
“We just talk about football, we will not have Wes suspended and our team can try to play football and we will move forward.
“If everyone accepts the mistake - no problem.”
The problem is of course that Sunderland’s hopes of getting points from a key six-pointer at the bottom of the table were ruined by what most observers regarded as incompetent refereeing of the sort which should not be tolerated in the Premier League.