Wes Brown red card worst in Premier League history, says Gallagher

Wes Brown: right to feel hard done by, says Dermot

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Dermot Gallagher believes the decision to send off Wes Brown last weekend was one of the worst in Premier League history but if Sunderland receive an apology from the referees' body, manager Gus Poyet should not make it public.

The defender was shown a red card by Kevin Friend during his side's 2-0 defeat at Stoke on Saturday after he flew into a challenge on Charlie Adam.

However, Brown only made contact with the ball and Poyet, who was furious, has demanded Mike Riley, the head of the PGMO, the referees' body, apologise.

"It was a total surprise when the red card came out... I would be very surprised if Sunderland are not successful with their appeal."

Dermot Gallagher

"It was an error," said Sky Sports expert Gallagher. "Brown made a low, one-footed tackle, he won the ball, didn't take anyone out with his trailing leg, the ball went on and nobody on the pitch really thought it was a foul.

"It was a total surprise when the red card came out. But it was something like the 1266th red card since the start of the Premier League and it was inevitable there would be one like that.

"Let's hope it's another 21 years before we are talking about another one. I would be very surprised if Sunderland are not successful with their appeal."

However, Gallagher believes that if there is any discussion of the incident between Riley and Poyet it should remain private. He was disappointed when Steve Clarke, the West Brom head coach, recently revealed he had been given an apology for a refereeing error his side were on the wrong side of at Chelsea.

"I am mystified by this apology business," Gallagher said. "Right from when referees turned professional in 2001, there has been regular dialogue between the managers and the guys in charge of the PGMO.

"Performances are talked through, managers can express their views and they talk it over because we don't always see it the same way. It is a two-way thing.

"The disappointing thing is this has been going for years but this is the first time I can remember somebody has come out and talked about one of the conversations.

"It is not about ringing and apologising, but being on the end of a phone if a manager wants to go through different situations."

After another weekend filled with controversy amid the great Premier League action, Poyet may not be the only manager who feels the need for a discussion with Riley. Here, Gallagher, gives his views on the most controversial refereeing decisions:

Gary Medel's apparent slap on Marouane Fellaini (Cardiff 2-2 Man Utd)

Decision made: no card

Dermot's view: I saw that and called it at the time but Neil Swarbrick was on the opposite side of the penalty area, where you would expect the referee to be.

He saw the aftermath, the pushing and shoving and called the players together to speak to them. He clearly didn't see the incident and, therefore, can leave it to the FA to look at the footage and they can decide whether or not to charge the player.

You can quite easily that would be a chargeable offence. If the referee or assistant on that side had seen it clearly, the player would have been sent off.

Wayne Rooney's collision with Jordan Mutch (Cardiff 2-2 Man Utd)

Decision made: yellow card

Dermot's view: It's a red card. He has kicked out but I can understand Swarbrick's reaction. The referee had Peter Whittingham between him and the incident and the best view, the best camera angle, was from the other side of the pitch - the one position the referee is not going to be in.

You don't always see things as clearly as we can on the TV and the place that incident happened is the worst part of the pitch for the referee. The active assistant, as he is called, is on the far side - 80 yards across the field - and the other assistant would have been in the other half, looking down the field.

It is like the blind spot on the pitch and if you are sending someone off after eight minutes, you have got to be sure. I wonder if the referee thought it was a trip and gave him a yellow card for that.

Kevin Mirallas's challenge on Luis Suarez (Everton 3-3 Liverpool)

Decision made: yellow card

Dermot's view: It ticked all the boxes for a red card. He has come from distance, at speed, he was high with a straight leg, the ball was not there to be played and he caught Suarez with his studs.

I wonder if Phil Dowd was too close to the incident and didn't see the distance Mirallas came from, was not aware of the speed and saw only the result rather than the build-up.

Suggestions Steven Gerrard elbowed Gareth Barry (Everton 3-3 Liverpool)

Decision made: no card

Dermot's view: Gerrard's arms are up when he leaps, they are tight to his body, he is watching the ball at all times and never once made a movement aiming his arm towards Barry.

"It was a collision and, while players' safety is paramount, there has to be a physical contact element. It is not a non-contact sport.

Yannick Bolasie's challenge on Jake Livermore (Hull 0-1 Crystal Palace)

Decision: red card

Dermot's view: He was unlucky. Referees are taught that when a player overruns the ball and takes that extra stride to get it back, alarms need to go off. You have to be really aware.

Bolasie's slide was clumsy and he went over the ball but his opponent was not the target. The referee probably just saw him go over the ball and thought it was to hurt the opponent. In fact, Bolassie actually slipped. It was unfortunate.