“I have to be honest…” – Former referee weighs in on key decision from Sunderland vs Middlesbrough.
Jeff Winter has had his say on Dan Neil’s red card in Sunderland’s defeat to Middlesbrough.
Former referee Jeff Winter has revealed that he was surprised Dan Neil was shown a second yellow card as Middlesbrough beat Sunderland 4-0 on Saturday afternoon.
Dan Neil sent off in heavy Sunderland defeat
Even though the scoreline suggested an easy day for Boro, the reality is that it was a close clash until Neil was controversially shown a red card in first half stoppage time.
After deservedly picking up an early booking for a late tackle on Josh Coburn, Neil was then shown a second just before the break for dissent.
Naturally, that had a big impact on the game, and Michael Carrick’s side dismantled the hosts after the break, running out comfortable winners in the end.
But, the decision was the turning point in the game, and Tony Mowbray was unhappy with the call, along with all connected to Sunderland.
Jeff Winter has his say on Dan Neil red card
Another to offer his opinion on the decision is Winter, with the former Premier League referee, and Boro supporter, explaining to The Cat’s North East breakfast show that he was surprised with Gillett’s decision.
“I have to be honest, it left me scratching my head because if the Sunderland player has used foul and abusive language and it is that bad, it is a straight red card, a second yellow comes for dissent we presume. What we don’t know, and I’m not trying to defend the referee but whether he has had constant battle, and he’s been told he is on a last warning.
“That is the only way I can justify it. To send a player off in a game of football, you have to be able to sell it. You don’t want it to be a daft one for dissent. I’d like to think in those circumstances with the choice language we could use in our day when we were refereeing, I would have told him in no uncertain terms that was it.
“But to send someone off for dissent as a second yellow card… the laws of the game back the referee but I think you lose a little bit of credibility. If he has taken a Boro player out at the knee then nobody is complaining but for dissent it just didn’t sit easily with me. You know I’m a Middlesbrough fan so that gives a little bit more clout to the argument so, it is a strange one. I don’t think anyone in the ground or anyone watching on TV saw that coming.”
Was this the right decision?
As Winter says, this was a strange one, and ultimately it’s hard to say with certainty that Gillett was wrong because we don’t know what was said.
However, the ref does have history for this, as he surprisingly sent Mario Lemina off for Wolves last season for supposed dissent, despite replays suggesting he didn’t do much at all.
In today’s game, it’s rare for a player to be sent off for this, but, as mentioned, we don’t know what was said. But, Neil will feel aggrieved, and it’s clearly had a massive impact on the result.
Now though, it’s happened, and Sunderland will just be concentrating on bouncing back when the international break is over.