Premier League Referee Review #2
Mark Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear)
Season 2011/12

By Alex Byrom
Referees Editor



Name: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear)

Total matches refereed (2011-12) 36

Total Premier League Matches refereed:  24

Total Penalties awarded:  55 in Premier League

Card Count:  115 yellow/8 red74/7 in Premier League

Average Number of Cards per game:  3.42 3.38 in Premier League

My Season Rating:  6.5/10

What a season it's been for the Tyne and Wear whistler. His first cup final - the Carling Cup - plus the usual inconsistency and lapses in concentration. Now a senior referee, he took charge of many high-profile matches - at both ends of the table. A good season? Or bad? Lets have a look...

Now a senior referee - for both the Premier League and UEFA - it was no surprise to see him get the fourth highest number of games in the league. He was selected by UEFA to referee at the UEFA U20 European Championship finals in Colombia along with other well known officials such as Willie Collum and Bjorn Kuipers, therefore his domestic season didn't start until September 3rd 2011 where he was eased back into the fray with an Npower League One clash between Carlisle and MK Dons in which he dished out his first red card. 

His first Premier League match of the campaign came a week later when overseeing Stoke City against Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium, and he was involved in controversy straight from the off: Inside twenty minutes he - correctly - awarded a penalty to the home side; Jamie Carragher tugging Jon Walters to the ground. However, with Liverpool bombarding Stoke's goal, he missed a blatant handball by Stoke City defender Matthew Upson in the closing minutes as Liverpool, consequently, lost the game. 

The match between Arsenal and Bolton at the Emirates Stadium began a chain of dismissals. But he was having another good game, justifying his selecion as a top FIFA referee. He played an excellent advantage for the opening goal for the Gunners, before he sent off Trotters defender David Wheater for a foul on theo Walcott as he ran through, so he called it, again, spot on. 



Clattenburg dismisses United defender Jonny Evans in Manchester City's 6-1 thrashing in the October match at Old Trafford


October. It turned out to be a key month not only for the whistler, but for both ends of the Premier League. Lots of firsts, and a last. 

September had ended with a first trip to the Santiago Bernabeu in Spain in the Champions League, as Real Madrid thrashed Ajax 3-0. He returned to Saturday action with an easy day on paper anyway as Aston Villa swept aside Wigan 2-0 at Villa Park. But it was towards the end of the month that would have repercussions. 

Refereeing continued to be a dolly, as he eased his way through the match between Finland and Sweden in an international friendly. His next two Premier League matches would have bearings on title and relegation even in May: first QPR and Blackburn was heading towards a respectable stalemate, when he inexplicably denied the home side a stonewall penalty when Michel Salgado pulled down Adel Tarrabt. A week later was the biggest game of the season; of the decade; of the Premier League era. 

Manchester derbies were commonly big, but with both sides undefeated and playing everyone off the park, it added an extra spice to the game. The 37-year old, also a qualified electrician, took charge of the season's first meeting between the two big rivals in the city of Manchester. It was the second time has been in the middle for a Manchester derby fixture following a 2007 clash at Eastlands. His controversial afternoon began inside the opening five minutes when Micah Richards and James Milner were both let off despite some hard, late, heavy tackles which should have seen them receive yellow cards. But that was just the start. At the beginning of the second half, Jonny Evans was rightly sent off for stopping Balotelli running through, with Manchester City now extending their lead to 3-0.

Richards was finally shown a yellow card for a challenge similar to the one that he should have been booked for in the first half and he would have been sent off as well. He then, at 3-1 to City, missed a blatant foul by Evra on Silva. It wasn't turning into the greatest match for Mr Clattenburg. I bet he happy just to come through it. 

The next week, it was Bolton again, and another red card was handed out to the Trotters: this time it was Ricardo Gardner dismissed, correctly, for two bookings, before he awarded a penalty to the Swans and Bolton were now being cut adrift at the foot of the table as Brendan Rodgers' side came out on top at the Liberty Stadium going on to win 3-1. The end of October, and we not see him again until the end of November. 

Two games before Christmas, two red cards. He is now starting to rival Martin Atkinson on the red card chart. Dynamo Zagreb 1-7 Lyon in the Champions League, a red card and a penalty for the French side who had to win by that scoreline to progress. Coincidence? UEFA investigated the thought but it was inconclusive. Less than a week later, another big game, and more controversy. It never leaves him does it?

Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City. An early goal for the visitors, and then came the turning point. A foul on Silva? No said Mark Clattenburg, and it was close. Then, a red card for left-back Gael Clichy. Spot on, and a penalty for Chelsea for a handball by Lescott, again, not a problem. A very good decision. Penalty converted by Lampard and City's first Premier League defeat of the campaign. On Boxing Day, Clattenburg took charge of a bore goalless draw between Stoke City and Aston Villa in the Premier League at the Britannia Stadium where he was knocked to the ground by Gabriel Agbonlahor accidentally as he looked to run up the pitch when the home team were counter attacking. The Villa forward apologised to the official next time the ball left the field.

A rather quiet, and profound delicacy was what awaited Clattenburg as the New Year came. He also managed to not get his cards out at all, a feat he hadn't achieved since September 2010. On 21st January, Clattenburg took charge of a goalless draw between Norwich and Chelsea which was a record-breaker- it was the first Premier League match in five years in which the first half had passed without a single free-kick given. Now, he was getting every relegation six-pointer that was happening every week, and another red card in a key game, again changed the outcome of a game: QPR vesus Wolves at Loftus Road. QPR were leading 1-0 when new signing Djirbril Cisse was sent off for grabbing Roger Johnson by the throat. Silly, silly thing to do and the referee wasn't going to miss it. 



The Tyne and Wear official refereed his first cup final when overseeing the Carling Cup final at Wembley Stadium in February


He had obviously been doing things right, as the 37-year-old was nominated by the PGMOL (Professional Game of Match Officials) as the referee for the 2012 Carling Cup final at Wembley between Cardiff City and Liverpool. The official received the appointment through a phonecall from David Elleray as he flew back from a refereeing seminar. He didn't do a single Carling Cup match last season, and hadn't refereed Liverpool since the beginning of the season. He had a great day in which he must have enjoyed, as the match passed without any incident, and he ran around trying to keep warm. In the end, Liverpool won on penalties after a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes of pulsating football. 

On the Easter weekend, he had another big game, although both sides agree that it isn't the biggest in London. After another quiet last few matches, in which he had also been awarded his first Champions League knock-out game - Bayern Munich 7-0 Basle - it was back to the controversy that he is frequently renowned. The West London derby between Fulham and Chelsea are good matches which normally don't have a lot of crucial refereeing decisions but Chelsea were awarded their fifth penalty in eight games against Fulham, even though both Danny Murphy and Steven Kelly were nowhere near Salomon Kalou as he fell to the floor. Luckily, Fulham managed to scramble a point at Craven Cottage which spared Mr Clattenburg's blushes somewhat. 

In another London derby between QPR and Tottenham at Loftus Road, the fifth time in the season he had refereed the Hoops, he was having quite a good game up until a point in the second half. Until a lapse in concentraton. Until a mistake. He had already booked Adel Taarabt in the first half. Then, he booked him again for dissent and showed him another yellow card. However, not a red. How clumsy?! Luckily, he was finally dismissed - albeit half a minute later, thanks to great advice by fourth official Lee Probert; at least someone was awake.

At the end of April, he received criticism from both managers after taking charge of a West Midlands derby at the Hawthorns- West Bromwich Albion versus Aston Villa- in which he missed three penalty claims including an obvious handball from Villa full-back Alan Hutton. His trend of relegation six-pointers continued with his final game of the campaign coming on a wet Monday evening in Lancashire as he refereed Blackburn's 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic which confirmed Rovers' drop to the Championship whilst securing the Latics' status for 2012-13 in the top-flight. Thankfully from Clattenburg's point of view, there were no costly clangers.

For this season though, my rating of 6.5 shows need for improvement, but he's on his way to becoming a top referee. He was one of the refs that didn't have a game for the last Premier League weekend of the term, but if he got the Carling Cup this year, he may get the FA Cup next year. Who knows? Furthermore, he joining Howard Webb's team of seven for the UEFA European Championships 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, as an additional assistant referee. Next year could, and surely will, be an even bigger year for him.


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