‘Mad Bob’ lets City take the fall for successful deception

With more than a whiff of déjà vu Manchester City kicked off their Premier League campaign at the Etihad, victims of woeful refereeing and wayward finishing.

Here we go again – Bob Madley got the ball rolling as far as rubbish refereeing against City goes in 2017/18. Doubtless plenty more to come.

A stunning strike by Raheem Sterling gave City a deserved equaliser after battling against Everton – more appropriately called the Travelling Toffee Troupe – as befitted their theatrical offerings on the night.

Any thespian worth his salt would’ve been clapping in the wings at the antics of young Dominic Calvert-Lewin – definitely BAFTA winning material!

Calvert-Lewin is used to the big stage having helped England win the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea just two months ago.

BAFTA & Oscar nominee Dominic Calvert-Lewin delivered a stunning performance to get Kyle Walker sent off.

His experience of the Korean Peninsula served him well as Kyle Walker’s arm brushed his chest,  before the Everton forward dropped to the floor as if hit by one of Kim Jong-un’s intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Of course North Korea’s nutty leader wasn’t responsible on this occasion, but neither was Walker.

Nonetheless, City’s new full back was shown a second yellow card, the obligatory red followed from ‘Mad Bob’ Madley – resplendent in referee’s costume – but presumably ‘role playing’ and only mimicking being a competent official.

Pep and Kyle Walker protest the City full back’s innocence to 4th Official Michael Oliver, but to no avail.

It was a proper pantomime. Farcical didn’t come close.

Surely City weren’t being screwed by dodgy decisions with less than three halves of the new season played? Oh, yes they were.

But wait, post match redemption for the wronged Walker would surely come via the new FA rules, designed to crack down on the cheats? Oh, yes it would – but this is Manchester City were talking about here, so – oh no it wouldn’t!

Sterling on the rise – Raheem’s rocket volley gave City a hugely deserved equaliser.

The much vaunted regulations to rid the beautiful game of ‘simulation’ and all other associated shenanigans, appear strangely inactive after Monday night’s installment of the Everton Chronicles.

Going under the snappy heading of ‘The Successful Deception of a Match Official’, the new law makes it possible for Walker to have his second caution – and therefore his sending off – rescinded, by an ‘Independent Regulatory Commission’.

Furthermore it would also facilitate a two-match ban for Calvert-Lewin’s antics, in feigning contact between his mug and Walker’s elbow.

Shrek gives Mad Bob a few tips on how to screw City at the Etihad on Monday night.

The alleged foul simply didn’t happen. The world and his wife knew it hadn’t happened, even Everton manager Ronald Koeman conceded it hadn’t happened.

Only the supporting cast of Dumb and Dumber, played by Madley and his flag waving assistant, believed it had happened thanks to Calvert-Lewin’s stunning performance.

If Madley truly believed Walker had deliberately elbowed Calvert-Lewin in the face, it should’ve been a straight red card, so why was it only a yellow, albeit it still had the same consequence of reducing City to 10 men?

If the FA could actually be arsed to apply their own rule it would go something like this:

Where there is clear and overwhelming evidence to suggest a match official has been deceived by an act of simulation, and as a direct result, the offending player’s team has been awarded a penalty and/or an opposing player has been dismissed, The FA will be able to act retrospectively under its Fast Track system.

A panel consisting of one ex-match official, one ex-manager and one ex-player will be asked to review all available video footage of the incident independently of one another and then advise The FA as to whether they believe it was an offence of ‘Successful Deception of a Match Official’. Only in circumstances where the panel are unanimous would The FA charge the individual concerned.

Why hasn’t the FA sanctioned a three-man panel to review and rescind Walker’s second yellow and subsequent red, card?

This process would be similar to the one used now for a red card offence [violent conduct/serious foul play/spitting at an opponent] which was not seen at the time by the match officials but caught on camera. In this situation, three ex-elite match officials review all the available video footage independently of one another and then advise The FA as to whether they believe it was an offence worthy of instant dismissal.

In accepted and/or proven cases of simulation and/or feigning injury, the offending player would receive a two-match suspension.”

Now, nearly 48 hours on, it begs the question why hasn’t a three-man commission, comprising an ex-referee, ex-manager and ex-player, been convened to scrutinise Walker’s sending off?

The City haters and baiters in the media actually praised Calvert-Lewin’s deceit, saying the young striker ‘…showed great cunning to play a role in getting Kyle Walker sent off.’

On a night full of controversy City’s Walker was the fall guy for Everton’s antics.

Clearly the theatre critics, writing on the Guardian’s sports pages, admired Oscar nominee Calvert-Lewin’s guile and Madley’s gullibility in equal measure.

The same pernicious press then had the gall to point the finger of suspicion at Sergio Aguero, implying he connived to get Morgan Schneiderlin sent off.

Aguero was clearly caught by the ‘Everton Enforcer’ having his standing leg taken from under him, despite the Frenchman winning the ball first.

Pointing the finger – Schneiderlin made clear contact with Aguero and Mad Bob Madley sent the Frenchman off.

Whether it warranted a booking is highly debatable, but Aguero’s reaction was nowhere near the malice aforethought that went into Calvert-Lewin’s histrionics.

So why haven’t City challenged Walker’s second yellow card under the new regulations? Pep Guardiola’s refusal to discuss Walker’s dismissal in the after match press conference spoke volumes.

Walker has even come out on social media and apologised to the City fans and his team mates, praising them for getting back into the game in his absence and earning a point.

Kyle Walker said sorry to City fans and his team mates after being sent off, but he has nothing for which to apologise.

The paradox is City’s new full back has nothing for which to apologise – he was the one sinned against, not the sinner.

It’s ironic that when Walker last played at the Etihad for Spurs in January, he escaped a certain sending off when hauling back Raheem Sterling in Tottenham’s penalty box.

But now that he wears sky blue he attracts unwarranted yellows and reds – a colourful conundrum, but one which can be easily answered if you’re a City fan.

Kyle Walker should’ve been sent off at the Etihad – but wasn’t – when playing for Spurs last January.

The FA’s lack of interest in applying their own rules is as lamentable as it is predictable, given it’s only City who stand to benefit.

Apart from Madley stinking the place out, City must’ve been downwind of the muck-spreading machine themselves, because their finishing was far from sweet.

Half time sub, Sterling was the only City player to have his shooting boots correctly calibrated when he volleyed home to make it 1-1 in the 82nd minute.

David Silva’s first half shot hammered off Jordan Pickford’s post, whereas others, Aguero in particular, were bemusingly profligate in front of goal.

Silva strike – Merlin’s first half shot hammered against the Everton post.

Even at this very early stage of 2017/18 some City supporters are apprehensive that history is already repeating itself.

Notwithstanding City played 10 men against 12 for the bulk of the match, they had 65% possession and 19 shots (six on target), contrasting with Everton’s two shots on target, one of which was converted by the repugnant merkin-wearing grannyshagger so revered by Sky Sports et al.

Repugnant Shrek – nothing to add.

One would like to think Guardiola has it within his gift to ensure City are less wasteful in front of goal this time around and less fragile at the back.

He has little or no control on the errant standards of officiating that so appalled and frustrated him in his debut season in English football, and show every sign of doing so again.

The real Sergio – City fans want to see plenty more goal celebrations as Aguero is primed to become the club’s highest scorer of all time.

Perhaps if City start being clinical and convert goal scoring opportunities it won’t wound them so deeply when opponents and officialdom combine to try to cut them down to size.


By David Walker


www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu


  1. August 23, 2017  3:04 pm by Dave Medley Reply

    Couldn't agree more about the Walker "foul". Still think we'd convert more chances if we had a physically powerful striker in the squad... Need some height, for variety and to put some crosses away.

    • August 23, 2017  3:19 pm by David Walker Reply

      Not sure that's Pep's style but I think we still need more than we have presently, both at the front and the back.

  2. August 23, 2017  3:19 pm by Pete lynch Reply

    Sane 'experiment' didnt quite work did it David? Excellent piece as always

    • August 23, 2017  3:22 pm by David Walker Reply

      Sure as hell didn't unfortunately. Mendy will make a helluva difference, but we'd still be short on cover if he were injured again. Still time to get Bertrand I wonder?

  3. August 23, 2017  3:19 pm by Andrew Bradley Reply

    'disgraceful refereeing is behind us' oh no it isn't!!!!! spot on article, keep em coming David. Cheers ?

    • August 23, 2017  3:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers fella - City always the pantomime villains!

  4. August 23, 2017  3:50 pm by Levenshulme Blue Reply

    Hi Dave

    I was spitting fire, leaving the ground on Monday night. How can it be that we were SO poor in front of goal? Aguero, WHY didn't he shoot? de Bruyne, open goal, Kev, you have the technique and power to shoot at an open goal from 35 yards out...BLOODY SHOOT, FER CHRISSAKE! STOP TRYING TO WALK THE FUCKING BALL INTO THE FUCKING NET!!!!!!


    Then, Madley. Utterly unsuitable and incapable.

    Plus, what is it about everton? The manager changes, the players change but that timewasting DNA can't be changed.

    It's not hard. Play the game, sort out arseholes who won't play properly, referee without bias....kick the bloody ball at the goal when you can.


    • August 23, 2017  4:25 pm by David Walker Reply

      You might still have chance to answer the calling into top flight football management - all makes sense to me ;-)

  5. August 23, 2017  3:51 pm by Malcolm Gruber Reply

    Still need to get to the byline and put crosses in - low or high

    • August 23, 2017  4:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      Indeed, perhaps low not high, given the vertical challenges of many of our attack force, albeit Sergio doesn't do too badly when opportunity knocks.

  6. August 23, 2017  4:26 pm by Will Reply

    The rule was brought in for exactly this so why it hasn't been applied I have no idea. To redress somewhat, Ota was guilty of play acting too. I hate the simulation. I would make perpetrators have to go and train fora day with a premiership rugby team, that would sort them out! Time for TV refs methinks. Even if a red is rescinded later, the damage is usually felt in the game itself.

    • August 23, 2017  4:50 pm by David Walker Reply

      Absolutely right on every aspect you've raised. Thanks for the feedback.

  7. August 23, 2017  4:50 pm by John Evans Reply

    Good news is looks like we will have Johnny Evans and Wilfried Bony in the the pantomime horse this Christmas.

    • August 23, 2017  4:54 pm by David Walker Reply

      Bony- sounds like pony, as in pony and trap - he should be back to being a South Wales donkey anytime now. As for Jonny come lately...

      Good to have you back in the saddle, so to speak John, and commenting with incisive feedback ;-)

  8. August 23, 2017  5:02 pm by Guvnor Reply

    City. Not allowed to appeal two yellow cards, could have done with a straight red.

    • August 23, 2017  5:49 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes we can appeal a second yellow card in certain circumstances - Walker's sending off being one of them. Do keep up Guvnor :-)

  9. August 23, 2017  5:17 pm by Greenjob Reply

    Put so succinctly. It has never been more apparent than this new season that they (the authorities) are hell bent on trying to curb City's' push for the title/trophies. The fixture list sucks and if the officiating after only two games if indicative of what is to come, well we're in for a long miserable season. We must show our defiance as we do with UEFA though booing may not be the ideal way to do it. CTID

    • August 23, 2017  5:52 pm by David Walker Reply

      The 10 men rose to the challenge on Monday night, just as the entire squad and Pep need to throughout the season. We're good enough to beat the bias, but we can't be so profligate squandering chances as we did against Everton and as we did for much of last season. Thanks for your comment.

  10. August 23, 2017  6:11 pm by Brian wilshaw Reply

    I know I'm bleating a bit, but I am 73 have lived in Devon for 23 years and yes I am a season ticket holder. Up and down the motorway 520 odd miles a game and for season after season I and all City supporters are being cheated by the authorities. If the incident with Walker is not looked at then someone should start on your site a petition which we can tick and have forwarded to the panel to force them to act. Don't forget that Davies was also booked for diving and it was not the only simulation perpetrated by Toffees players. The points should also be deducted and awarded to team if it has lost the match because where cheating has influenced the outcome.

    • August 23, 2017  7:44 pm by David Walker Reply

      Even if you were bleating - which you're not - you'd be more than entitled to do so, covering that amount of mileage on a regular basis over more than two decades. I thought I was doing my bit at around 230 miles per game, but you easily surpass that puny figure.

      The whole point of this particular blog was to question the integrity of this new ruling. Like yourself and many others, I am totally mystified as to what part of Walker's sending off doesn't meet the necessary criteria - it's bloody ridiculous. Obviously we tend to view matters through sky blue tinted specs, but it was blatant cheating by Everton. That said we, like most fans, want to see 'simulation' and footballers behaving like wimps, eradicated from the game. I'd much rather a game be won or lost on merit.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your views.

  11. August 23, 2017  8:45 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    The ref stunk the place out on Monday & the dumbells atthe Fa carried on the stench. We can only hope it was a one off & not a here we go again season. On the bright side the 10 men did come good, but we can't go missing the chances we missed..Probably won't happen but I thought we could of done with a Dezko type player & stretch them on the wings & get the crosses in. Brilliant article again Dave, have you thought about taking this up as a regular job ???

    • August 23, 2017  8:56 pm by David Walker Reply

      Good to have you back on the comments page Doug. It'd be nice have a genuine aerial threat in attack but it doesn't appear to be Pep's way does it? I'm hoping the lessons will have been learned from last season - only time will tell. As for this blogging lark - always room for improvement - but thank you for the feedback.

  12. August 24, 2017  4:06 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    Wonderfully wriitten article, as usual I am envious of the evident ease of your amazing alliterative ability.

    I think that we just have to hope that over the course of the season these bad decisions will go for us as often as they go against us. Referees are only human, and they will make mistakes. Having said that, when there is clear evidence of a player having conned a referee into making the wrong decision, then the FA needs to punish such behaviour with the utmost severity. Also, young players need to be taught from a very early age that such behaviour is totally unacceptable. Maybe Everton could set an example by fining Calvert-Lewin a week's wages.

    • August 24, 2017  8:14 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

      Apologies for the spelling mistakes - I must stop posting at silly o'clock.

      • August 24, 2017  8:38 am by David Walker Reply

        Better to have more 'eyes' on that not enough 'ii' - thanks again fella :-)

    • August 24, 2017  8:36 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for your kind comments. There's zero chance of Everton taking action against the cunning Calvert-Lewin who, as we speak, is probably receiving extra curricular coaching in the dark arts from Shrek, before Rooney further educates him on how to officiate and play in a game simultaneously. Wayne's been doing it for years - who says granny shagging merkin wearers can't multi-task?

  13. August 24, 2017  10:03 am by Keith Macfarlane Reply

    Morning David, yours is a very good account and long may you carry on writing them. My feelings are Walker was badly treated with both bookings because if you watch the first tackle he was booked for he was nowhere near Baines, who also theatrically through himself to the ground. The second booking you have already covered.
    I feel if we would learn to move the ball quicker going forward we will score more goals, it was shown on Monday night on the few occasions we did it we cut through their 10 man defence with ease, but you are right we have to start converting our chances!

    • August 24, 2017  6:33 pm by David Walker Reply

      Many thanks for reading and commenting - I think we're all agreed, bar the most rabid Evertonian, that Walker was well and truly 'done' by the Calvert-Lewin and Mad Bob collaboration. I must confess with so much focus on the second yellow I hadn't paid too much attention to the first.

      You're spot on in terms of City needing to move the ball quicker. When we do we are so much more effective.

  14. August 24, 2017  10:26 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    The abysmal referee on the Monday evening performance has been welll documented above, suffice it to say even a ManU chum of ours said it was outrageous.
    An exciting game spoiled by Everton players "going to ground" too easily and for me the constant Rooney conversations ! (putting it politely) with the referee - it went on and on and on all night.
    Nobody has I think mentioned the obvious back pass at the star of the second half that Pickford "picked up". At least that is how it looked from the far end of the Etihad..
    At the end of the day it was our poor finishing that let us down and it wasn't until Sterling and then Silva (mark 2) were introduced that the game changed leaving Everton "hanging on" at the finish.
    City can be a bit predictable with the style of play and more fast counter attacking down the wings etc will beat a stubborn defence.
    Last offerering. Opponents corner - everbody back - no outlet for a quick "break". Why ??

    • August 24, 2017  6:34 pm by David Walker Reply

      As is so often the case RC, we are as one on most of our respective thoughts in respect of City. See you on the south coast maybe for the second time in a fortnight?

      • August 24, 2017  7:48 pm by Richard cooper Reply

        Hope so David - "Here comes Summer........" !

        • August 24, 2017  9:59 pm by David Walker Reply

          It's not the biggest stadium in the world - Mrs W and I look forward to seeing you and Mrs C and bagging another three points on the road.

  15. August 24, 2017  10:59 am by David Stanton Reply

    Excellent blog. Spot on appraisal of the whole cast in this pre-festive pantomime. I can only think the officials at this game of charades had been on the sherry in the dressing room before kick-off.
    The threat of retrospective sanctions has now been well and truly been kicked into the long grass along with any thoughts of justice for the victims of such hideous acts of thespian exaggeration.

    On the plus side, City showed a depth of character to retrieve a point from an almost impossible situation. We showed composure albeit not in front of goal in the fact that we didn't retaliate by stooping to the opposition's level.
    This blatant anti City bias has been around ever since 'The Money' arrived. It didn't happen when the Oligarchs appeared on the scene. Why is it happening now.?
    Food for thought. Is the colour of the money making the Establishment a little uneasy?

    • August 24, 2017  6:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      First of all, thank you. Secondly I cannot understand why the FA have not seen fit to invoke their much heralded new laws to cut down on cheating - maybe I have misunderstood the 'Successful deception of a match official'- or maybe the FA are deceiving us all by pretending they want to clampdown on simulation.

      Maybe the FA have simulated the whole thing?

      City were more than worthy of the draw. Let's be honest, City were the only team who set their stall out to try and win the game. How Everton can be lauded for a performance of that calibre beggars belief.

      As for the whole anti-City agenda, it's getting to a point where neither the media or officialdom are even trying to disguise their contempt for City. Let's hope Pep can let our performances AND RESULTS do all City's 'talking.'

  16. August 25, 2017  6:11 pm by Bill Glas Reply

    As insightful as ever, and bang on the nail, David. I do not swear loudly in public as a general rule. Monday evening was the exception. That clown of a referee was bent on completely spoiling the game as far as I was concerned. Yes, there were deficiencies in City's game that need to be put right, but it seems to me we are still having to fight bias and a hostile agenda as well.

    • August 30, 2017  9:03 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Bill. I was completely with you on the expletives for Mad Bob, so can you imagine how colourful the language was at Bournemouth in respect of Mike Dean? I don't know what can be done, but City need to address these wayward officials and their incompetence, or even anti-City bias, with PGMOL and the FA. Something stinks in the equation.

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