It's one of the Laws men in charge

Last updated : 22 March 2002 By Tony Scholes

I find it very worrying that two brothers would want to become police officers but for both of them to become Football League referees at the same time is something that clearly needs to be investigated.

David Laws refereed this game last season, and incredibly and wrongly sent off Kevin Ball, but this time it is the turn of his younger 39 year-old brother Graham. Both of them are in their seventh season on the league list.

Graham has had a reasonably quiet season so far and as yet in 29 games has not issued a single red card. There have been 83 yellow cards, 36 to home team players and 47 to away team players.

He has already taken charge of one Burnley game this season, the 3-3 home draw with Barnsley. In that game he carded Kevin Ball and Barnsley's Kevin Gallen.

He took charge of the Sheffield United home game last season, a 2-0 win, and Kevin Ball was the only player of four yellow carded. Later in the season he refereed our 1-0 win at Watford and showed just one yellow card, and you've guessed correctly, to Kevin Ball.

It all rather suggests that the two of them could be Newcastle fans who have a dislike for Bally from his Sunderland days but I would not dare to suggest that a police officer or indeed a referee could be unfair. I would suggest though that Bally watches out for himself tomorrow.

It was during our promotion season that he actually made a complete pillock of himself at the Turf in the televised game against Scunthorpe. Andy Payton was through on goal when he was brought down by Scunthorpe's Dawson on the edge of the box. It was a clear red but Laws incredibly didn't even get the yellow card out. He was back a few weeks later for our 2-0 FA Cup win against Rotherham when he kept a clean sheet.

In Stan's first season he refereed the 2-0 home defeat against Stoke and the only player booked was loan player John O'Kane. This was difficult to recall, I don't remember O'Kane doing anything at all in any game for us never mind something worth a yellow card.

In 1997/98 he was the referee in charge of our first home league game under Waddle. It ended in a 0-0 draw but Laws ruined the game by sending off David Eyres with just 35 minutes gone. It was a dreadful decision that probably cost us the game and who knows whether a win so early in the season would have made a difference. He did balance it up late in the game when he sent off Leo Fortune-West. There were five yellow cards in that game too with four of them Clarets. They were David Eyres, Mark Ford, Lee Howey and Chris Waddle.

He also took charge of another 0-0 draw at Walsall, Chris Woods' debut. This time there were four yellow cards and three of these were for Clarets Andy Cooke, Gerry Harrison and Neil Moore.

He is not a referee I relish taking charge of a Burnley game, he is not a referee I can trust to do a decent job. Here's hoping he has one of his quieter days tomorrow.