Tom Henning Ovrebo

Was it just yesterday that I complained that there wasn’t enough drama in the Arsenal v Man U UEFA Champions League semi-final to keep me interested? Well, evidently Tom Henning Øvrebø was reading while (possibly) getting instructions from various betting syndicates across the shadier parts of Europe. And he offered me some lovely Stilton to go with my previous evening’s chalk.

Our Tom

I don’t think I have ever seen a more biased or inept refereeing performance in my life. Well, not one that didn’t involve Sheffield United or a match I was playing in, anyway. The refs always seem to be bent in those matches.
For me as a neutral to have been so disgusted at it tells you what the Chelsea fans must have thought. As does the fact that there are death threats against Mr Øvrebø all over the internet and the fact that he had to be smuggled out of the UK by police.
He must be thanking his lucky stars that the annual gathering of the Uncle Fester Lookalike Organisation was held in London this week, affording him some form of protection.
Now, I’m certainly not condoning the death threats, nor do I support the antics of Didier Drogba, who turned dramatically to the camera as he left the field at the end of the game and shouted, quite audibly:

“It’s a disgrace! It’s a [naughty word] disgrace!”

But I can quite understand why he felt that way. Because it was a [naughty word] disgrace. I mentioned this whole thing in February, when Peter Walton made mistakes in the Blades cup tie at Hull City. Once again, a referee has not done the job he is paid to do. And it’s cost Chelsea millions of pounds. Sod the fact that Roman Abramovich can afford it – that’s beside the point.

Drogba and teammate Michael Ballack will surely face disciplinary hearings over their actions last night. I would guess that Bosingwa and Lampard, who have also spoken out will be in trouble too. But what of the overweight baldy from Norway, smuggled back to Oslo by police overnight? What action will he face?

Well, if Euro 2008 is anything to go by – not much. Øvrebø refereed one match there and made so many errors that he was removed from the referees list for the rest of the competition. But UEFA still obviously trust him to have another go at making costly errors in big games. Surely that’s got to be it now, though?

Til next time, right?

EDIT: I was on John Maytham’s show on Cape Talk last night discussing this point.

EDIT 2: Drogba has issued a formal apology.

EDIT 3: 5fm reporting that Chelsea will dump Drogba at the end of the season and not renew his contract.

26 thoughts on “Tom Henning Ovrebo

  1. Mr Drogba’s face was all over the newspapers today. That is the first I have seen of Uncle Fester though, being a non-football follower. I don’t think that face would stimulate newspaper sales somehow.

    po´s last blog post was: Bank holiday (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  2. I apologise – but only for myself. I cannot take responsibility for other Norwegians. 😀

    Helga Hansen´s last blog post was: oooOOOooo Shiny! (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  3. I do think that, had Chelsea been more adventurous in pursuit of a second goal, the poor refereeing would have been rendered irrelevant.

    As it is, no matter what the circumstances, Ballack’s tirade (whilst sprinting) may be athletically laudable, but otherwise reprehensible.

    Just thought I’d say! 😉

  4. Well you have a point, but Abidal’s dismissal was certainly another error and you nor Chelsea’s fans seem to comment on that. Plus of all of the penalties you mention, only the Piqué hand was a clear one (Alves’ foul on Malouda didn’t seem a foul to me, and if so the ref could argue it was first outside because they were hanging on each other for a while). I recommend Chelsea to instead think of Hiddink’s negative tactics from the dismissal onwards. And a goal as good as Iniesta’s can’t be scored with the sole help of a fat norwegian referee no matter what you or other people say.

  5. Po > It’s one only a mother could love, isn’t it?

    HH > I thought of you, I thought of Morten and Magne and Pal. I thought of fjords. I thought of Abba; then I remebered they were Swedish.
    But this guy is Norway’s rep right now. Sorry. It’s obviously a crap country.

    GaiB > Sure – if Chelsea had won, this would all be so different. But I daresay there would have been comments that they did it “in spite of the ref”. And yes, Ballack and Drogba behaved unacceptable. But so did Tom, in my opinion. As I said on air last night – if I did my job that badly, I’d be sacked.
    Re: Ballack’s athleticism – purely fuelled by adrenaline. What a hormone!

    Toni > I think the refereeing decisions were questionable both ways all evening. Abidal was lucky to even be on the pitch to not foul Anelka and be sent off. But two (or 17) wrongs don’t make a right.
    I disagree with you that Chelsea only had one good claim for a pen. I saw three, minimum (speaking as a neutral and as a FA qualified ref). Shirt pulling on Drogba in the first half, handball by Pique and Ballack’s blocked shot at the end were all decent I thought. Even Dermot Gallagher (on Sky) said he would have given two of them. (They didn’t ask him about the late ?Eto’o handball from Ballack).

    Both goals were superb – agreed. But I do think Chelsea were robbed on the night. Which kind of fits with Bosingwa’s description of the ref as a thief.

  6. Doesn’t Tom look a bit like Ray Wilkins? Both would score pretty highly in the Unlce Fester Look-a-like competition! I agree that the referee was out of his league in this match and 2 decisions should have definitely gone Chelsea’s way in terms of penalties, however, that does not allow Drogba to do what he did. Passion yes, but downright bullying behaviour no….no need for that at all. I hope UEFA ban him for a few games. The other thing that is kind of overlooked in reports of the match and after-match shenanigans is the shoulder barge on Gus Hiddink, and the general behaviour of the Spanish bench all night. Barcelona should also face some form of disciplinary action from UEFA. In the end though, a Barcelona-Man Utd final looks better on paper than the bore draw of last year, as long as Barcelona go there to play football, a facet so missing from their match at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

  7. Ant > Ray Wilkins would have been a bit more pro-Chelsea, I think.

    Agreed on virtually all counts. It wasn’t a great night for football, aside from the two magnificent goals, neither of which were as good as my 25 yarder into the top corner for The Firm earlier in the evening. 😉

    Only think I’m not sure about is the “less boring final” bit. The bigger the game, the more boring it is, right?

    Laughed at Bosingwa’s “UEFA plot to stop an all-English final” comments. Since when are Chelsea “English”?

  8. “But UEFA still obviously trust him to have another go at making costly errors in big games” and “UEFA plot to stop an all-English final” I agree with this and that was my first view/comment on yahoo after the match on that day. I think Man. Utd and EPL officials, must beware, UEFA may not want them to win the Champions League back to back.


  9. Sport Extra > It did seem very odd. Yes, he got the sending off wrong in Chelsea’s favour, but it was just one decision after another going against them. Most bizarre.

    Emil > Absolutely not, but as I keep saying – I can understand WHY they behaved that way, even though I certainly don’t condone it.

  10. @6000, Yes, it seem odd, but the error is too much in a match of that class. If the officiating was good nobody we complained, but this is eye close error, see how the news spread. The red card was in favour of Chelsea yes, but what about three to four penalties offense against the Chelsea team. It is clear that the ref kill Chelsea from joining the Man.Utd in the final. I believe there is a conspiracy somewhere along the line.


    The Sport Extra´s last blog post was: Kenyan Arsenal fan commits suicide (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  11. Sport Extra > Agreed. He was dreadful throughout. But more dreadful towards Chelsea. Not sure I would go so far as to suggest a conspiracy though.

  12. Actually, even Abba doesn’t slip the net quite that easily! Did you know that Anni-Frid (the brunette) is Norwegian? 😀

    Helga Hansen´s last blog post was: oooOOOooo Shiny! (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  13. *puts on controversial hat* Football wins over bullying 😆

    They should have refs from the top countries for semi-finals. People who have managed to big derbies like AC Milan vs Inter, Real vs Barca, Mansfield Town vs Chesterfield 😆

    Wiggy´s last blog post was: Build up to the Ashes (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  14. Yes, I wounder why UEFA did not appointed a professional referee for a match of that class. FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes referees in charge of major matches should come from fully professional leagues in European.

    The Sport Extra´s last blog post was: Sepp Blatter wants professional referees (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  15. UEFA stands for FAIR PLAY and RESPECT.
    No longer in so many eyes.
    RIP Football.

  16. Sport Extra > I don’t care what Blatter thinks. He’s a twat.
    But Overbo IS a professional referee. He has – at some point, somehow – passed his UEFA exams. That makes it worse for me. Those were elementary mistakes. Obvious handballs etc.

    Les> It does.
    I don’t think so. Did anyone see the amazing Hamburg v Bremen game the following evening. Superb. So RIP Footy? No. Not at all. Just one game.

  17. @6000, I dont think Tom Henning Ovrebo is a professional referee, he may pass UEFA exam to become a UEFA referee and that did not make him a professional referee. Blatter said, “Improving refereeing in professional football means it’s time to have professional referees and we should only use professional referees in high level competitions”


    The Sport Extra´s last blog post was: Sepp Blatter wants professional referees (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  18. Sport Extra > I think that depends on how you mean “professional”. If you mean full-time, then that’s one thing, but if he has passed exams and is being paid for his work, then that is professional, by definition.
    His actions, much like Drogba et al on Wednesday, were pretty unprofessional though.

  19. I think if UEFA doesnt have a hand in this plot against chelsea then they should prove by commencing punitive measures against erring referees using Chelsea Barcelona match as a starting point.

  20. Ray > Bit late to use that as a starting point. But going forward, I would love to see refs being more answerable for their errors. Thing is – who would want to ref then?

  21. Jacques > Thanks for the link. Agree with much of what he says. Though I was more tempted with the Drogba “slow motion” pen than Malouda being hauled down – think that started outside the area.

    “- Drogba’s post match antics
    I thought it was a disgrace. I thought it was shocking. I thought it was deplorable.

    But mostly, I thought it was very, very funny.”

    Excellent! 🙂

  22. My Chelsea supporting mate didn’t appreciate it on friday when we had a kick-about at 5-a-side. rifled one in and ran around shouting “Iniesta” Then at the end I ran upto the bloke who runs it telling him “it was an f***ing disgrace” Everyone else found it quite amusing

    Wiggy´s last blog post was: Just a few jokes (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

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