The Football League have moved to smooth ruffled feathers at Huddersfield Town, after a “misunderstanding” led to the hosts in Saturday’s West Yorkshire derby missing out on the current “penalty against Leeds United” refereeing policy. A League spokesman, Ivor Whytes-Grudge QC, confirmed that a “formal apology” had been issued, but insisted that it was just a communications breakdown that had led to the Terriers being denied a spot-kick at some point in the game. The formal League position is that the appointment of an official from the Premier League pool was to blame; the League’s own refs, they say, are well aware of current requirements as can be seen from statistics in recent matches involving Leeds.
When pressed on the matter of penalties, Mr Whytes-Grudge was emphatic. “The League has nothing to be ashamed of here. This has been a simple mistake and, as we all know, mistakes will happen from time to time. But if you look at Leeds last three games, it’s clear we’ve been doing our bit – at least with our own officials,” he added, wryly. “In those three games prior to Huddersfield, there has been a well dodgy penalty awarded against Leeds in each match. Further, in the Birmingham game at Elland Road, two nailed-on awards for Leeds were brilliantly refused. And against Bournemouth, the ref managed to award a penalty near the end and send the Leeds player off – when the foul was outside the box, with covering defenders. Sadly, the silly lad Kermorgant missed it – we’re actually considering a disrepute charge over that.”
What went wrong in the Huddersfield game, then? Surely, they’re feeling dogged by bad luck? “Well, it was a shame, but it was just one of those things. We had the appointment of Chris Foy imposed on us, after he was dropped for that weekend from the Premier League. Then – and we have to hold our hands up here – it was down to us to brief Mr. Foy thoroughly on current Football League policies. And that didn’t happen. Our bad.”
So will normal service be resumed this weekend? Mr Whytes-Grudge was cautious. “We’ll have to see about that. This Huddersfield complaint had to be looked into, and we’ve had to do a proper grovel – but it has rather brought things out into the open. The Leeds coach, Redfearn – he was starting to make a few remarks about them being got at and, when you’re sussed, you have to have a rethink and come up with a Plan B. We might just have to be a little bit subtle from here on in – know what I mean?”
Legendary Football League administrator Alan Hardaker, 102, is dead.