It is very rare in the celebrity-crazed world of modern-day football that something should shock me.
But I do make an exception when I talk about the Football Association’s absurd decision to overturn not one, but two red cards from Newcastle United’s 2-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest on Friday night.
Jonjo Shelvey and Paul Dummett have both had their dismissals rescinded after a panel, presumably featuring Alan Shearer, Kevin Keegan and Ant and Dec, decided that referee Stephen Martin got both decisions incorrect on the night.
Let me start by saying that as a Forest fan this isn’t a case of sour grapes. For any Newcastle fan that hasn’t yet realised, the Reds did run out 2-1 winners, and regardless of whether you would have beat us with 11 men or not, the result is something that the FA will thankfully not be rescinding.
The whole process of appealing a dismissal seems to stink to me and it is about time we got clear messages as to just who is making these decisions in the ivory towers.
Like I said earlier, for all we know it could be a contingent of Newcastle supporters making the decisions yesterday afternoon.
It needs to be a different panel for each incident. Perhaps a former referee. Maybe even a current FIFA referee - not a pencil pusher who probably never kicked a football in his life.
The law states that a player who kicks, or attempts to kick a player in the game of football must be shown a red card.
Jonjo Shelvey ‘attempted’ to kick Henri Lansbury twice in the same three second spell on Friday night.
Admittedly he made minimal, if no contact at all but the temptation to do so was evident from the ex-Liverpool man.
Shelvey faces charges of racial abuse towards a Wolves player in the coming weeks too. But, apparently, it’s Lansbury who is the bad guy here! Nonetheless I am sure Newcastle’s buddies at the FA will bury their heads in the sand when it comes to bad boy Shelvey’s racially aggravated incident too.
Then we move onto Dummett’s dismissal. Lansbury looked certain to slot the ball past ex-Forest man Karl Darlow in the Newcastle goal and then in comes the Magpies’ left-back like a bull in a china shop and clearly places both hands on the Forest man knocking him off balance and to the floor.
The decision to rescind this one is something that has now genuinely left me questioning my own refereeing on a Saturday and Sunday morning. The foul is as clear as anything I have ever seen.
Lansbury has total control over the ball and Dummett doesn’t not even attempt to try to play the ball. Oh, and did I mention the incident happened right in front of the posts?
Last season there was an incident where Sheffield Wednesday striker Fernando Forestieri was shown a second yellow card for diving, when replays showed that had he not jumped out of the way then Hull defender Michael Dawson would probably have broken his leg.
However, because Forestieri had been shown a second yellow card and not a red, the Owls were not able to appeal the decision meaning that the Wednesday man had to sit out of a game despite not really doing a great deal wrong.
David Vaughan was sent off last season against Birmingham for a harsh high foot. The FA didn’t want to know, however, and the Forest man served a three-game ban.
Clearly the people on Twitter - mainly betting companies who get teary-eyed at the fact that Newcastle take large numbers to every single away game, are starting to have an impact on some people at the FA too.
Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United have all won a lot more in their existence than Newcastle United ever has, yet Paddy Power, Bet365 and Ladbrokes don’t go boring us to tears every weekend, with mind-numbingly boring tweets about their ‘great support’.
The whole appeal process has been turned into nothing but a farce following this incident and the FA needs to sit down and have a serious review of the whole concept.