POMPEY’s status as a League Two powerhouse is having a negative effect on referees.
That is the view of Blues boss Paul Cook, after a string of penalty decisions have went against his team in recent weeks.
I believe personally that because we are such a big club, it can have a negative effect.Paul Cook
And defender Christian Burgess echoed his manager’s assessment that officials are keen not to be seen to ‘crumble’ under pressure from the Fratton faithful.
Refereeing decisions once again came under the spotlight at Wycombe on Saturday, after a penalty in front of the travelling Blues fans was not given.
That was after Burgess appeared to be manhandled by Chairboys defender Aaron Pierre late on at Adams Park.
A strong penalty appeal wasn’t given for a shove on Marc McNulty against York last week, either.
There were also two decisions at Carlisle, where Ben Davies was fouled inside the area and a free-kick was awarded out side the box.
That was after Burgess was adjudged to have fouled Danny Grainger in the penalty area. Replays confirmed it should have been a free-kick.
Cook said: ‘That decision on Ben Davies at Carlisle - that’s not right. You can dress it up how you want.
‘We had an apology after the Carlisle game but what good does that do?
‘In the York game on McNulty, the referee said he waited for the contact.
‘I still won’t criticise referees and I won’t start phoning them up every week and getting involved in all that.
‘I believe, personally, that because we are such a big club, it can have a negative effect.
‘Some referees think they have to stand up to the crowd.
‘But that’s life – get on with it. Our job is to gain enough points so that we don’t make excuses.’
Burgess is hoping the old football adage of decisions evening themselves out over the course of the season proves correct for Pompey.
But he’s certain there’s pressure on officials to stand up to the influence of the large following Pompey have.
Burgess said: ‘We didn’t get a penalty last week against York, which we obviously felt was a penalty.
‘The referee’s reasoning was he (McNulty) was looking for it. My view is that, if there is contact in the box, you are able to look for it.
‘If you are the wrong side as a defender you have to leave the player.
‘Then there were the Carlisle decisions we weren’t too impressed with.
‘Ben Davies’ one was clearly inside, but these things happen in football.
‘There’s the timewasting thing, too, with the keepers and crowd getting up in arms about it.
‘Referees don’t want to crumble to the crowd but, at times, the crowd are right.
‘You just have to be impartial as a referee. You have to tell the game as you see it.
‘We’ve had some decisions as well. We got two penalties at Plymouth. You’d hope it evens itself out over the season.’