Just look who we've been lumbered with

Last updated : 04 March 2002 By Tony Scholes

In his 14th season Alcock, from Halstead in Kent, heads the list of referees in alphabetical order but that it just about the only list he ever will top. The one thing for certain is that he cannot handle this game any worse than his last Burnley game, the 2-1 defeat at Norwich earlier in the season.

It's not that he goes over the top with yellow cards and this season he has issued just 60 in 28 games, around two per game, and five red cards. As far as yellow cards are concerned then the Burnley players will be just about twice as likely to get them. Of the 60 he has issued 21 have gone to home team players and 39 to away team players.

He was quick off the mark with the red card this season and sent off Northampton's James Hunt on the opening day in their 3-0 defeat against Bristol City. Oldham's John Sheridan was next in a 2-1 defeat at Colchester but in November he sent off both Barry Conlon and former Claret Mark Ford as nine man Darlington crashed 7-1 at Scunthorpe. More recently he sent off Luke Guttridge of Cambridge in a 2-1 home defeat against Colchester.

In the Burnley game at Norwich, besides having an absolute stinker, he yellow carded four players and all four were Clarets. They were Lee Briscoe, Steve Davis, Ian Moore and Dean West, this in a game that saw two Burnley player suffer bad injuries.

This is what I had to say about Alcock's performance at Norwich,

"What can I say about Alcock? I cannot condone a player pushing a referee but with this referee it is completely understandable. He really is disgraceful and in my opinion has no place in the professional game. I could call him a homer but he was worse than that. I applauded the referee from last Saturday's game and one of his strengths was being close to play. Alcock today never got within 50 yards of it, I never saw him break sweat as he strutted around like some second rate sergeant major. He ducks any difficult decisions, yes Alcock is a good name for him because he certainly has no balls. When are we going to rid ourselves of the Alcock's of this world."

One Burnley player who will remember this referee more than most is Lee Briscoe. He not only played for Sheffield Wednesday but scored the winning goal in the now infamous game when Paolo di Canio pushed him over. And he doesn't take much pushing.

The good news is that in recent years, because he somehow reached the Premiership, we haven't had to put up with him. Sadly we now seem to be paying the price for that.