Athletic boss Bunn calls for a rise in refereeing standards

Reporter: Simon Smedley
Date published: 02 November 2018

As Athletic gear up for tomorrow’s tough-looking League Two trip to Stevenage, manager Frankie Bunn has aimed a swipe at the standard of officiating.

He is not alone in expressing his frustration as a number of other bosses have criticised referees’ decisions so far this season, but Bunn’s mid-table team have seemingly been on the wrong end of a number of controversial penalty decisions in recent weeks.

Quizzed about his experiences of refereeing this season, Bunn said: “I do think the standards are very erratic, they’re inconsistent, but having said that, all the other teams will probably be feeling the same.

“Hopefully our luck will change and we’ll get some better decisions rather than the negative ones that we have been getting.

“Standards have fallen, but I understand that it is a really tough job.

“They’re being promoted from the National League, maybe too early, but there just isn’t enough officials and that’s why they are being promoted when perhaps they’re not quite ready.

“Possibly they need more time in the National League, and better training. It might help if they spent a bit of time with the top officials, who are full-time of course.

“I don’t want to think too much about it, though. We just have to deal with what happens on the day.

“Some decisions have definitely affected our games, but what can you do?

“It is an issue, but managers have to get on with it.”

Tomorrow’s clash at the Lamex Stadium is the first of six for Athletic in November, a fixture build-up that could prove important according to Bunn.

"We're getting around now to people being suspended, people on the verge of suspensions with the bookings," he said.

"Fitness of the players that aren't playing is important.

“If you take a couple of injuries along the way you have to change things, so all that comes into consideration and we look to move on. 

So many fixtures in one month also provides a good opportunity to get higher up the fourth tier table, however, something which Bunn is looking to take advantage of.

"Back-to-back wins are vital in this league,” added Bunn.

“It can catapult you up and down, things are so tight.

“Two wins here put you back amongst the play-off positions.

“This is an inconsistent league with inconsistent teams.”

Meanwhile, Bunn has spoken for the first time, albeit very briefly, about last Friday’s dismissal of his assistant manager, Andy Rhodes.

Bunn clearly isn’t happy with the decision to relieve Rhodes of his duties after just four months in the job.

Bunn said: “I was surprised and disappointed, but it was the owner’s decision, and we have to move on.”

Injury victims Sam Surridge and Jordan Lyden will both be missing again tomorrow for the trip to Hertfordshire.

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