Rotherham United were today waiting on the verdict of their appeal against Jordan Bowery’s red card as boss Steve Evans revealed he had received an apology from the Football League.
Ahead of tonight’s match at Reading, the Millers manager said the referees chief at the FL had called him to say sorry for the red card issued against the striker against Middlesbrough on Saturday and also convey the apologies of ref Michael Russell.
But he was still in no mood to forgive assistant referee Keith Lawson whose intervention pursuaded Russell to give Bowery his marching orders.
He said: “Let me be clear about this, the head of referees at the Football League, David Allison, called me and said him and the match referee send me their apologies for the decision.
“I excluded the referee on Saturday from any blame because he went on the instruction of an assistant referee. Jordan Bowery never kicked out off the ball. TV evidence vindicates that. We hope now that due process kicks in.
“I think it is a shocking, awful, disgraceful, appalling decision. We don’t question his integrity. He’s known to us because he’s rubbish, pathetic at his job, and shouldn’t officiate at this level.”
Allison, a former Premier League referee, is national group manager of the Professional Game Match Officials board.
The Millers began their appeal minutes after the final whistle against Boro and the Football Association’s decision is expected today.
Evans said: “The first part was lodged probably before some of our supporters had left the stadium on Saturday.
“The DVD was very clear, so Paul Douglas (Millers chief operating officer) went to work on that on Saturday evening. I know Paul has put in some further written evidence. that the Football Association require.
“A three-man independent commission sit and make a judgement on whether Jordan’s red card should be rescinded. But the referee is not now asked for any further comment. They have to judge it on the incident.
“The process at the Football Association, whether you’re Manchester United or Rotherham United, has to be a three-man independent panel sit and look at that purely on the merits of ‘would that be a red card?’
“All the boy is trying to do is pull his leg away from being trapped. Jordan went away pretty distraught on Saturday and he shouldn’t have had to.”
Bowery was sent off minutes after replacing injured striker Alex Revell in the first half after tangling with visiting defender George Friend.
Friend says he felt a kick on his arm as he lay on the floor, but TV evidence suggests Bowery, off balance himself, was trying to lift his foot over the left-back.
Tonight, the Millers are at Reading who have lost four of their last five matches and sit two places above Evans’ 17th-placed side.
The Rotherham boss saisd: “I think they’ve been playing very well but results haven’t been going for them.
“Just look at the squad of players they’ve got. They’ve got up front big (Glenn) Murray from Palace who’s as a good a targetman striker as there is in the Championship. He’s come from the Premier League down.
“They’ve got young Hope Akpan who they signed, I think, for about £400,000 from Crawley, where I signed him on a free out of Everton.
“They’ve got people like Nick Blackman, who went down from Sheffield United for well in excess of £1 million.
“They’ll be big favourites to beat us but we’ll go there and hopefully there are a couple of things we’ve seen that we’ll be able to exploit.”
Evans said Alex Revell is doubtful because of the jaw injury he sustained early on Saturday when Daniel Ayala contested a high ball with his foot. “We think he’ll miss Reading. It’s his jaw,” Evans said, “He’s been kicked right under the chin.”
Evans says the Millers are focused on tonight’s test despite the impending derby at Sheffield Wednesday.
He said: “We go down to Reading. We come back home in the early hours of the morning and then we can get freshened up and ready to go and play some club in Sheffield ... We look forward to Sheffield Wednesday when we drive out of Reading.
“The first thing we need to do is be prepared for Reading. They’re a decent side with decent players and high expectations. We’ll really think about the derby post Tuesday night.”