SAINTS legend Terry Paine admits he was not surprised when the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) decided there was no case to answer against Mark Clattenburg.
The PGMOL decided to take no action following Saints’ complaint about his response to Adam Lallana’s claims for a penalty at the end of the 2-1 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park last Sunday.
Saints wrote to the PGMOL, revealing that Clattenburg told Lallana: “You are very different now, since you’ve played for England – you never used to be like this.” Following the PGMOL’s response, the club is considering a fresh complaint to the Football Association, saying they “do not consider the matter to be over”. Club president Paine said: “My initial reaction is that every time a player or a manager gets cited, they seem to always get found guilty.
“But every time a referee gets cited he gets let off almost straight away. They protect their own like you wouldn’t believe. “Refs usually always get cleared, often within 24 hours. I’m not sure what can be done about it.”
David Armstrong, the former Saints, Middlesbrough and England midfielder, reckons the Clattenburg/Lallana saga is just a sign of the times.
He said: “When I played in the Seventies and Eighties, refs always had a good rapport with the managers and the players. “There were times when things boiled over, of course there were, but it was all left on the pitch at the final whistle. “There was no moaning after the game.
“I had plenty of chats with various referees, some of whom swore, and at times they needed to calm down more than the players.
“But we respected the other party, we knew they were trying to do a good, honest job. At times things got heated but we just got on with it.
“Disagreements are part and parcel of the game. Far too much is made of everything these days, it’s the way the game’s been going for a while. “Everything is highlighted and analysed to the 'nth degree and it doesn’t help when refs say this, that and the other.
“It’s a shame it’s come to this from both parties’ point of view.”
Saints responded to the PGMOL’s decision with a spokesman, saying: “An official insulting any player, no matter his intentions, is clearly not acceptable behaviour. For this reason we do not accept the verdict of the PGMOL in relation to this case, and do not consider the matter to be over. “Under the circumstances we do not feel it appropriate for Mr Clattenburg to officiate in any of our matches until this matter is properly resolved.” Clattenburg has refereed seven Saints games since the club’s return to the Premier League.
The next occasion, whenever that may be, will be the subject of much interest – on and off the pitch.