Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has questioned the standard of refereeing in Sky Bet League One.
The Town manager was left frustrated last weekend as Matt Crooks was red-carded by Eddie Ilderton for two cautions in the 1-1 draw at Bristol Rovers, the first of which he felt was soft, and the second not even a foul.
The red card was the third Crooks has received this season, all for two bookings, and the Cobblers now face being without one of their best players for the next three matches.
Hasselbaink was not happy with the decision to send Crooks off, and revealed that the club has written to the Football Association on numerous occasions this season to report their thoughts on the poor standard of officiating.
The Town boss stressed he is not making excuses that the poor refereeing is part of the reason for his team’s struggles over the campaign, but believes it is something that needs to be addressed.
“It is our fight as managers, with the referees,” said Hasselbaink..
You never really hear me speak about the referees, but this year the ones that have been good have been a few, if I can say that politelyCobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
“You never really hear me speak about the referees, but this year the ones that have been good have been a few, if I can say that politely.
“On Saturday, it was really a poor game from him, because the first yellow card that Crooksy gets was nothing dangerous, and was in the middle of the pitch.
“Yes, it was a silly one, but not really worthy of a yellow card.
“If he is going to give a yellow card for that, then he should have given a yellow card for the foul of Gboly (Ariyibi) before that, which was around the penalty area, was more dangerous, and was a scoring opportunity for us.
“But he didn’t, so where is the consistency?
“Then the second yellow, Crooksy didn’t even put his leg out. I have seen it on televison.
“I know it is difficult for referees, it is very difficult, but I just want consistency.
“I think on Saturday the occasion, even though it was a very experienced referee, played with him.
“We all know the Memorial Stadium can be an intimidating place, we all know Bristol Rovers has really passionate and lovely supporters, who back their team and are really behind them.
“They shout and put pressure on the referee, and I think it affected him.”
Ilderton is not the only referee to upset the Cobblers this season.
From my point of view, there have been a string of poor performances from whistlers at Sixfields throughout the season, and Hasselbaink says club officials have made their feelings known.
“I hear managers in the Premier League complaining about referees, and normally I don’t take too much notice of it,” said Hasselbaink, when asked if this was just a lower league problem.
“But we have written reports on referees to the FA, to the right people, and we have been doing that now for months.
“They are civilised reports, just to have a conversation, not to point fingers to make life difficult for individuals, because we know it is difficult for the referees, and we appreciate them and the job they do.
“But we cannot be always on the wrong end of the stick. I know we are a smaller club, and at times are an easy target, and we need to get out of that.
“But I don’t want to concentrate too much on this, it’s not my objective to do that, I would rather look at what we can do, what we need to do, and the battle with the referees is my battle, nobody else’s.”