Mike Riley displayed an almost Graham Pollesque level of inconsistency at Villa Park today, helping West Ham United to their first FA Cup Final in 26 years.

Two huge Riley mistakes turned the game, which saw more elbows flying than the first day of the Next January sales. But it seemed that anyone in the famed white (? – Ed) of West Ham was absolved of any wrongdoing, while those in red, saw yellow.

Dean Ashton's 40th minute right armed "challenge" on Boro's Mark Schwarzer looks to have ended the keeper's season.Ashton escaped any punishment for the elbow and subsequent cheekbone fracture sustained by Schwarzer, which instead allowed him to get booked mid way through the second half for a later tackle on his stand-in, Brad Jones.

But questions have to be asked about Marlon "Peanuthead" Harewood's elbow-first "challenge" on Gareth Southgate and how he escaped ANY punishment for it. He then went on the score the winner (beautifully finished, by the way) but to be honest, he wouldn't have been able to have scored from the changing room, now would he?

Between these two incidents, Riley showed his true colours by booking Boro's Rochemback for holding off midget Reo-Coker – "with his elbow".

So once again, a potentially wonderful game of football, the dreams of tens of thousands of fans and a route into Europe is decided by the errors of an official. I wonder if he's going to tell us where he went wrong? I doubt it.

Gotta love football, ain'tcha???


The great thing about Liverpool is that although they are definitely one of the Big 4 of English football, they have (generally) resisted the evil plague of diving and bad sportsmanship which we at SS.co.uk would so like to see stamped out of the game. Chelsea have Drogba, ManYoo have Ronaldo, Arsenal have Reyes. Actually, Arsenal also have Pires too. And Bergkamp and Fabregas and Senderos. And.. well, anyway – this post is about today’s game, and Arsenal weren’t playing in it.

Referee Mike Riley kinda lost it in this one. The midfield battle between Bowyer and Hamann was a particular feature with Riley inconsistent with his use of the yellow card – especially in the 78th minute when Hamann kicked out at Bowyer for the 94th time and Mr Riley reached for the card, but then apparently changed his mind at the last moment, instead changing the action of grabbing his yellow card into a subtle arse scratch.
Yes, Boumsong deserved his red – for the foul, but also for the dreadful miskick that let Freaka Crouch in on goal, but this match was all about Djibril Cisse.

Booked for his celebration (he lifted his shirt over his head), and remember:

  • Removing a jersey is defined as removing the jersey over the head or covering the head with the jersey.
  • Getting Shirty

    Cisse then goaded the crowd at the Gallowgate end with some bizarre finger wiggling and excessive tongue usage – a kind of action only previously seen during an All-Black Haka. Also a yellow card offence, but Mike Riley declined to act. Why was that, Mike? 
    So, Mike Riley gets our first refs thumbs down. You were rubbish.
    And, Djibril Cisse gets our first players thumbs down. No need, mate – really.

    Meanwhile at Fulham, Chelsea remind the ref that the handball law doesn’t apply to Didier Drogba. Mark Pembridge (far left) has seen it all before. Check his expression. He could write for us. If he wasn’t Welsh, obviously.

    Drogba - a bit handy.