Before I say anything else in this article, I have no problem with Delph getting a red card. The tackle was poor, both in terms of timing and need. The area of the pitch was not a danger area for City and time was winding down.
The only person responsible for Fabian Delph getting a red card Monday night, was Fabian Delph. Had he not been reckless with diving in, who knows what could have happened. So, it was a red. With that I have no issue.
Where my stomach turns is in the way the red card was given. Now I have to admit that I do not know what happened in Anthony Taylors ear to have him change his mind. But for me, and in the tradition of the game, once he had removed the yellow card from his book, that’s what you give. The moment he’d started to notate Delphs name on that yellow card, that was what he had initially deemed suitable punishment.
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Whether it was the Wigan players bumping into him, and shouting at him which changed his mind or whether it was advice from another official, I don’t know. I know what it looked like on the face of it, but I don’t really know for sure.
It has raised issues though. Former referee, and the man in charge of the City v Gillingham Division Two play-off Final, Mark Halsey had his say on the matter. The full content of his article can be found here.
Essentially Halsey criticises Taylor for seemingly changing his mind mid punishment. Stating that it was worthy of an ‘orange’ card, a strong yellow or a red both being correct. The fact that he reached for the yellow and started to write down Delphs name before changing his mind, shows weakness.
Even if it was his colleague who had changed his mind for him, the fact he went for that yellow is poor. Taylor should have either given himself time to replay the incident, consult with another official etc BEFORE reaching for that yellow.
There are going to be no Premier League referees at this upcoming World Cup, and incidents like this don’t show that as a poor decision. For Taylor himself the repercussions could be bad. Other than any fall out from this incident, he has just been appointed to the elite UEFA referee’s list.
Imagine if he’d done that in a Champions League game, where players do tend to be vocal and surround the referee. He certainly would have a lot more to answer for had it been a top European competition in which such a reversal was made.