Wednesdayite ref criticised for Ryan Lowe comments about Sheffield Wednesday affiliation

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A Sheffield Wednesday-supporting referee has been criticised for telling Plymouth Argyle’s Ryan Lowe that he used to sing his name in the Kop.

James Bell was the man put in charge of Plymouth’s game against Sunderland last week, and handed Lowe a yellow card after complaints that the Black Cats’ first goal in a 3-1 win should’ve been disallowed because it was offside.

The Pilgrims’ boss wasn’t happy.

Speaking to the media after the defeat to Sunderland, the former Owl said, “He was alright speaking to me before the game… He was a Sheffield Wednesday fan and couldn’t wait to tell he used to sing my name on the Kop, and stuff like that.

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“So I’m spending time with him, showing a bit of respect, and he’s talking fine to me. Then I wanted to talk to him at half-time, but he didn’t want to. I was happy to walk off the pitch with him, there was no malice in it.

“There was no bad language in it. I just said to him ‘Look, it’s offside’. He was alright wanting to speak to me before the game but when I wanted to speak to him at half-time he just showed me a yellow card.

“I might have said it was rubbish, or it wasn’t good enough, but there were no words for him to give me a yellow card.”

Ryan LoweRyan Lowe
Ryan Lowe

And former Premier League ref, Keith Hackett, says that the original conversation between Bell and Lowe should never have taken place.

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He told Football Insider, “James Bell talking about the fact he’s a Sheffield Wednesday fan, I don’t think that’s a clever idea

“Ok, you have to declare your allegiance to a club pre-season and that’s where you should leave it. The allegiance to the club should not be chatted about. The reality is we’re human and we all do things differently.

“Belly will learn. Actually, his career is coming along quite nicely. He’s only young in terms of his years in the game but he’s a dedicated individual. People speak quite highly of him. He’s got everything going for him to become a Premier League referee, hopefully.”

Bell also went on to send off Plymouth’s Jerome Opoku in the second half.

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