Sheffield Wednesday: Jones wants better refereeing

Lewis Buxton, centre, gets in the header that led to the Watford controversy
Lewis Buxton, centre, gets in the header that led to the Watford controversy
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DAVE Jones believes that it would be wrong for him not to speak out about referees’ shortcomings even though he could risk a touchline ban.

The Owls manager is under a suspended sentence of a one-match ban after his confrontation with Brighton coach Charlie Oatway last month.

The suspension will come into force if he is found guilty on another misconduct charge before the end of next season. He was also fined £2,000 over the incident in the Brighton game.

The FA tend to come down hard on any manager who questions a referee’s integrity or impartiality but Jones’ attacks were not in that category.

He would see his criticism of Michael Oliver from Northumberland and Darren Sheldrake from Surrey as just fair comment on their performances.

Oliver did not give a penalty for handball in the Forest game last Saturday, Sheldrake followed suit at Watford, though the issue of whether the ball was over the line from Lewis Buxton’s header was perhaps a linesman’s call, and Jones included him in the criticism.

“The FA will have a go at me for saying it,” said Jones, “but if nobody speaks out and they keep getting away with it, it can’t be acceptable. I’ll send the video, whatever they want.”

The latest two incidents follow others this season where Jones has felt that refereeing standards have not come up to scratch. He believes that by highlighting issues he can help to improve standards.

At one stage he sent to the referees’ association a compilation of 14 penalty decisions that had gone against Wednesday and he learned that the body agreed that he was mostly right about those.

Jones felt that the controversy at Vicarage Road ruined what he described as a “magnificent” performance by the Owls.

They were 1-0 up and were prevented from going 2-0 up when no handbball or goal was given though the ball had appeared to go over the line and be handled.

Jones has found it hard to take: ”The performance was superb, but the fella in the middle cost us the game.

“It was a great game. But we need that referee to make sure he gets the big decisions right.

“I’m so proud of the players. I’m bewildered that we came away with nothing. It’s wrong. Something has to be done. I feel so hard done by.

“For long periods we outplayed Watford. We terrorised them in the first half, People tell me we needed the second goal. We got it; it was taken away from me.

“I told the lads we played fantastic, Yes, we shouldn’t have conceded from the corner. With the second goal, Watford had a little break because the shot’s gone through pairs of legs. We still took the game to them and had chances to win.”