Steve Cotterill believes managers should have the right to voice their opinions after a game – even if it ends up landing them in hot water with the FA.
Both Sir Alex Ferguson and former Blues boss Avram Grant have recently found themselves charged by the FA over their comments about referees.
The Manchester United boss was handed a five-match touchline ban and a £30,000 fine for his verbal attack on referee Martin Atkinson at Chelsea last month.
And Grant was charged with improper conduct following comments he made about match official Mike Jones after West Ham’s recent 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Stoke.
While Cotterill has had his run-ins with referees at times this season, he believes managers are simply giving a truthful opinion.
He said: ‘I’m not saying you would go around knocking referees every five minutes – I’m not for that.
‘But I think you should be able to voice an opinion or for the referees to have to come out and explain their decisions.
‘What is wrong with that?
‘Managers have to come out 20 minutes after a game has finished.
‘You might be as high as a kite and you’ve got to give a sensible answer.
‘Why can’t you give a truthful answer, whether it upsets somebody or not?
‘There are millions of people watching you on the screen and they are waiting because they want you to tell the truth.
‘But you can’t because you get fined.’
It’s long been a problem for managers that referees are instructed not to talk to the media to discuss decisions or to even explain themselves to the managers behind closed doors.
Cotterill said: ‘It would be good if the referees came out to explain their side of it.
‘They might come out and say “Steve, I made a mistake”.
‘The minute they say they made a mistake and say sorry, it stops you dead in your tracks.
‘They will make mistakes – we all make them.
‘The manager is always under pressure.
‘The centre-forward is under pressure to score goals, the goalkeeper is under pressure to keep them out and the manager is under pressure to do both.
‘You have to get that right, so what happens if you lose the game on an absolutely diabolical decision?
‘If the ref came out and held his hands up it would take the weight of pressure off of the manager.’
Cotterill came close to being dismissed from the dugout during the 1-1 draw with Derby when he was advised by the official to take a seat in the stand for the second half.
He recalled: ‘He only advised me – it was first-class refereeing.
‘I’ve had my moments with referees this season and in the past.
‘Overall, I think I have a good relationship with them – especially the more experienced ones who have been around for a longer period of time.
‘We’ve already had our rows and we don’t bother these days.
‘I’ve been fined in the past and sent off but I’m a good boy now.
‘But until you are in that arena you don’t know the emotion – even the most passionate of fans.
‘At least they have an outlet to vent their opinion on a phone-in or on an internet message board somewhere.’