Move over Howie, you have a Friend joining you on the podium of referee incompetence. 43-year-old Leicester referee Kevin Friend has been voted worst referee in the Barclay’s Premier League after our season-long referee poll by RedCardTheRef.
Friend captured 318 of 927 votes in our annual survey, easily overtaking his closest competitors Martin Atkinson (162) and Anthony Taylor (56).
Howard Webb, who has since retired from refereeing, was the unanimous winner of the dubious crown in our two previous polls for the 2013-2014 and 2012-2013 seasons.
Friend, a 43-year-old from Leicester, was promoted to the Premier League in 2009 and despite some controversial moments has largely stayed out of our books until this season. But that all changed in 2015 as Friend became an overnight social media sensation and caught headlines for all the wrong reasons after a terrible performance in Liverpool’s clash with Southampton on February 22nd.
After Saints fans vented their anger at Friend after he failed to award Southampton a sure penalty kick and refusing to send off two Liverpool players for two separate horror challenges. His performance produced widespread condemnation from many circles including former referees.
Friend’s meltdown may not have been the worst but a mass-voting campaign by Saints fans to our website seemed to seal his fate. He wasn’t the only referee to draw the ire of the fans.
This season’s refereeing in the BPL saw a new level of controversy with the holiday break and early January proving to be a bad time for our men in black. Early in the New Year, things got so bad that even former refereeing chief Kevin Hackett bemoaned the nightmarish performances of several match officials.
We are looking forward to the 2015-2016 season and plan to put our referees will under increased scrutiny.