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Other SportsGallagher baffled by Hooper decision but says referee will be 'so upset'

Gallagher baffled by Hooper decision but says referee will be ‘so upset’

Dermot Gallagher admitted Simon Hooper will be “so upset” after his late error in yesterday’s 3-3 draw between Manchester City and Tottenham but the former Premier League referee believes the criticism that has followed seems “a little unfair”.

Hooper was at the centre of the fall-out following a pulsating game for his decision to blow for a Manchester City free-kick in stoppage time, having initially waved play-on, that denied Jack Grealish a clear run on goal.

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Erling Haaland was the player fouled and his feelings were best summed up by a tweet that simply read “WTF”.

Gallagher, speaking on Sky Sports News’ Ref Watch segment, said: “It’s difficult because this is a referee who plays more advantage than anyone. He normally lets it go and takes a long time to bring it back. Sometimes I feel he’s on the cusp [of letting it go too long].

“Here he quite rightly plays on [initially] and you can see why. The ball goes through to Grealish and, for whatever reason, Simon puts the whistle to his mouth and blows it.

“We spoke a few weeks ago about referees being like players, the best players delay a little bit. If he waits a second the whole landscape changes. It’s unfortunate he didn’t, it’s an error he’s made.”

By the letter of the law, Hooper didn’t actually make a mistake but Gallagher questioned his interpretation of the advantage rule.

He added: “It’s the referee’s choice to play advantage, no-one else’s. In law he hasn’t done anything wrong, it’s just how we apply the law.

“It’s really unfair because he’s the one referee that stands out as one who really pushes the advantage rule.”

Having been in that situation, Gallagher said he knew how Hooper would be feeling today.

“We take things very personally,” he said. “He’ll be so upset this morning, he will be smarting.

“It’s ironic that if he’d given the first free-kick…but having done what he’s done, he’s done the clever stuff to let it go. If he’d taken just one second, we’d be seeing him as a much different referee to as we are now.”

Asked why he thought Hooper blew, Gallagher was stumped.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” he said.

“Offside is a red herring as the flag didn’t go up and as a referee I’d never judge offside.

“Whether he thought the ball would go through to the keeper, I don’t know.

“He’s done all the hard work and for one second we are making a judgement on him for a 100-minute game, which seems very unfair.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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