Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones has once again risked the wrath of the Football Association - after suggesting referee Darren Sheldrake should be relegated to Sunday League football.
Jones was aggrieved at the performance of Surrey referee Sheldrake, a secondary school PE teacher, during Tuesday evening’s defeat at Watford.
With the Owls leading 1-0 through Michail Antonio, defender Lewis Buxton’s header appeared to cross the line, and was handled by Hornets defender Nyron Nosworthy.
Sheldrake, however, didn’t give a goal or a penalty - and Wednesday went on to lose 2-1.
“Some of the decisions he made aren’t acceptable,” Jones said.
“It’s not a laughing matter, and I don’t know what to say. We should have had a penalty on Saturday [against Nottingham Forest] and they missed, it and we should have had one at Watford.
“Everyone’s appealing, and the two guys that should see it, the referee and the linesman, miss it.
“He’s cost me three points at Watford, and it’s not acceptable. It can’t keep going on.
“He shouldn’t be officiating at the moment - he should be dropped down to wherever they drop referees down to - probably the Sunday League - and made to see the referee’s psychologist.”
Jones was charged by the Football Association last month for improper conduct, after a touchline bust-up with Charlie Oatway during Wednesday’s game with Brighton and Hove Albion at Hillsborough.
And his tirade against Sheldrake is also likely to attract the attention of the FA, who are usually keen to punish any criticism of match officials in line with their ‘Respect’ campaign.
In the Premier League, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has been charged with misconduct after criticising a linesman, and West Ham United chief Sam Allardyce, was hit with a similar rap after recent comments about referee Phil Dowd.
The Football Association could hit Jones with a charge, if they find his comments to be in breach of their FA Rule E3.
“Cases involving media comments, or comments on social networking sites, are charged under this rule,” a Football Association spokesperson said.
“Comments which are improper, which bring the game into disrepute or attack the officials’ integrity may be considered to be in breach of FA Rule E3.”
While there is yet no suggestion that Jones will be rapped, the FA have up until tomorrow to charge him.
“The FA will have a go at me for speaking out, no doubt, but if no-one speaks out then referees will carry on getting away with it,” Jones said.
“I’ll probably get hauled up in front of the FA now, and if I do then I’ll take the video with me and show them.
“I’ll say my piece and probably get into trouble, but that is not acceptable. We’re not supposed to say anything, but something has to be done.”
The defeat to Gianfranco Zola’s promotion-chasing Watford was Wednesday’s second in four days, after the 1-0 loss to Forest last weekend. And the games don’t get any easier, with a trip to fifth-placed Leicester City in store on Saturday.
“We were magnificent against Watford,” Jones said.
“It’s not sour grapes because of the result, but he’s cost me three points.
“But what can you do? We have to move on, we have to carry on and we can take a lot of positive things into Saturday’s game against Leicester.”
Jones, whose side travel to the King Power Stadium two points and two places above the Championship drop zone, is sweating on the fitness of midfielder Giles Coke, who was taken off at Vicarage Road.
“Giles has done his foot,” Jones added.
“It’s the same injury as he had before, so he’ll go for a scan and we’ll continue to check on him before the weekend.”
Loan striker Connor Wickham impressed against Watford, and Jones is keen to extend his loan spell.
Wickham is scheduled to return to parent club Sunderland after Saturday’s trip to Leicester, but Jones is set for talks with Martin O’Neill, his counterpart at the Stadium of Light, aimed at securing the teenager’s services for the remainder of the campaign.
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