Mark Clattenburg returned to the middle at St Mary’s on Wednesday night, for the first time since being cleared of any wrong-doing following accusations of using inappropriate language to Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel. MICHAEL BAILEY looks at how his evening went.

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The most horrendous experience of Mark Clattenburg’s life could finally be forgotten as he crossed the white line.

The TV cameras took in the teams – but then made sure there was a lengthy linger on the face of the night’s referee at St Mary’s. And then several more.

Once the action finally got under way, it was almost certainly something Clattenburg himself had been looking forward to for weeks.

Sitting in the crowd and whichever club you follow, you don’t get the opportunity to pat a referee on the back or give him a cheer of support. Therefore Clattenburg had to make do with the welcome sound of derision – mostly from the hosts.

First anger came for a foul not given, swiftly followed by a penalty claim turned down.

Indeed, the early overriding impression of Clattenburg’s return seemed to be avoiding controversy at all costs – and not making any decisions in the process.

By the 12th minute St Mary’s was ringing out to ‘You don’t know what you’re doing...’ Those never really stopped.

The home fans decided they weren’t in Clattenburg’s favour. Ironic cheers greeted their first – and soft – free-kick. When their opening goal arrived from it, the mood momentarily softened too.

City’s equaliser was all the work of players from both sides, while Nathaniel Clyne winning a free-kick for slipping on the grass may have been a case of referee rust.

Successfully dodging controversy, Clattenburg was apparently enjoying himself so much he somehow found four minutes of added time to keep the fun going as long as possible.

But by the end he was treated to the usual boos any referee expects. A normal night, the usual welcome and farewell.

And with that, Clattenburg was probably happier than ever to be back.

18 comments

  • Should be a slash between 20 and 30 years! I'm referring that long back!!

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    Adams is God

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • Fans will never universally agree with refereeing decisions, myself included. It was the same 2030 years ago and will be the same in another 2030 years. That will not change. The focus on refs these days is unprecedented, yet believe it or not, they are FAR better than they were just 20 years ago. In fact, despite derision from crowds, they are usually right when incedents are viewed again. Sometimes not, but you try getting everything right from first and only view. But really, where do you honestly think better refs can be got from? Sloughbottom Park?! Our game is in good hands and need guys like Clattenburg, however much I myself may disagree during the course of the 90 minutes. In my view he got all the key decisions correct last night. The free kick for our goal was a definite free kick. Adkins looked like a buffoon saying it wasn't. The cross for Lamberts goal unquestionably hit his hand, though the key there is that the ball hit the hand rather than the other way round. The ball was flicked to Lambert just in front of him. He had his hands down by his side and there was no movement from his hand to the ball, therefore no intention, which is the key word when making handball decisions. I therefore have no problem with their goal.

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    Adams is God

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • I am sure that the photo-editor aims to please and that Clattenberg avoided addressing the So'ton keeper with his surname. Pity he contributed as much to So'tons goal as he did to Bobby Zamora's, and after out manager had done so much to back him as well.... I suppose that he felt that he needed to show that he could not be bought, even with kind words.

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    Swiss Canary

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • I think that the interpretation of the nadball as described by Lambo would be different if it was a defender whose arm it hit, though as the picture shows, a complete hack down in the box was allowed. I agree that Adkins was out of line moaning about it, without Clattenberg's help, he would have lost..

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    Swiss Canary

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • That's along time to hold it Lambo! ... Ever thought you've saddled yourself with that name?

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • That's along time to hold it Lambo! ... Ever thought you've saddled yourself with that name?

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • The referees a wa**er!

    Report this comment

    yarco

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • I wasn't referring to a specific incident, he's just entirely useless...and there's only so many differing views you can have on decisions. Let's no forgoet these guys do this for a living and they see these situations repeatedly. When you get a good ref, most people agree on their decisions and they are paid handsomely for their efforts so I simply can't buy the 'it's a hard job' tripe - it may well be, but some (i.e. Battenberger and chips) make it harder than it needs to be. He's toilet, and that's it.

    Report this comment

    JimBob

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • Battenberg is, simply, a poor referee. Out of his depth football-wise but clearly well connected in the corridors of power. A footy version of the Bullingdon Club\ Freemasons. Shame on them all. LIG once promised to change his name, I even offered a suggestion or 2. Lamb is Good? With mint sauce from Colman`s!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, November 30, 2012

  • Agree with JimBob. Battenberg was as useless as ever but kept a low profile (by way of a change) by not dishing out cards willy-nilly. Fair scattering of non and bad decisions, notably missed handball before Soton`s goal. Not fit for purpose. Drama Queen. Must have friends in high places at the FA. As Pepper says, predictable choice of photo-opportunity.

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    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • There you go ...Buy one get one Free!

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • Reading my previous post, I have to wonder what "nadball" is, sounds painful, struck by the ball in the gonads?

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

  • I think the powers that be would better spend their time pursuing clubs that mischievously accuse officials of racism when they lose.

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    DocOhNo

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • ...and the penalty we should have had in the second half for the foul on Snodgrass?

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    Mikanary

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • i agree with brew and jimbob,that clown should never be allowed to referee in the premier league.every time i have seen him he was like he was last night utterly useless.

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    bluelight

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • How predictable...I was waiting for the 'Clattenberg with Black player' photo to come out...and there it is. Case closed!

    Report this comment

    PepperJ17

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • As CH has been so vocal about his support for Clattenberg, any chance that the powers that be may have asked Chris for a favour?

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    Swiss Canary

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

  • He should be sacked years ago for inability to do his job - anyone else would have been and he is useless, always has been.

    Report this comment

    JimBob

    Thursday, November 29, 2012

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