'I'm doing it for my players' ... why Rotherham United boss Matt Taylor is taking referees to task

Matt TaylorMatt Taylor
Matt Taylor
BOSS Matt Taylor is taking up the fight against referees on behalf of his Rotherham United squad.

The manager believes the Millers are on the wrong end of too many decisions at Championship level and isn’t prepared to remain silent about the injustice being suffered by arguably the smallest club in the division.

“I have to say it because I need to try to protect this group of players,” he said. “They’re giving absolutely everything and need all the support they can get.”

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Taylor has been in the hot-seat for less than five weeks but says he can already see a worrying trend emerging as the club battle to establish themselves in the second tier after last season’s League One promotion.

“We are seeing patterns that are occurring a few too many times for my liking,” he said.

“The one that has been the constant pattern has been opposition centre-forwards not looking at the ball and running into our centre-halves in a challenge. It’s a clear foul if their player is disconnected from our centre-half.

“A prime example was the last-minute free-kick awarded given against Woody (Richard Wood) at Coventry City. That should have been a free-kick in our favour.

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“It happened no fewer than eight times in the first half at Stoke City. I don’t understand why these decisions aren’t being given.”

The boss’s anger is compounded by the added unfairness he claims he is witnessing at the other end of the pitch when it’s Rotherham on the attack.

“It makes it even more frustrating when we see Tom Eaves and George Kelly get absolutely ‘mulleted’ week in, week out and get very little from the officials,” he said.

“I can guarantee if Tom, George or Conor Washington didn’t look at the ball and ran directly into an opposition defender they would get penalised straightaway.

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“It feels like these things have gone against us a few too many times in quick succession.”

Taylor also maintains that referees can be influenced by crowds at big stadiums like Stoke’s bet365 Stadium and the Sky Blues’ Coventry Building Society Arena.

“Let’s be honest, the environment, the atmosphere, play their part,” he said.

The Millers were leading 2-1 in the 90th minute at Coventry when referee Andy Davies awarded the home team a disputed spot-kick that saw them snatch a draw.

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Taylor was fuming at the final whistle but it’s the recurring discrimination of officials against his team rather than that single incident that concerns him the most.

“Things like the penalty go against you sometimes,” he said. “That’s just a poor decision in the heat of the moment.

“It’s in other decisions where we need strength. If we’re fighting for our lives in relation to this league, we need a fair deal from referees.”


REFEREES’ performances are assessed by an expert at every match but clubs are kept in the dark about the verdict.

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The display of Andy Davies in the 2-2 draw at Coventry City is the one that has drawn most ire so far from Rotherham United boss Matt Taylor.

“It would have been interesting to see the assessor’s report,” the manager said.

“We never do get to see them.”

Taylor suspects an unconscious bias from officials may be working against his side.

Referring to the recent home match against Hull City and the lack of decisions going the way of his centre-forwards, he said: “When we spoke to the officials at half-time and after the game they mentioned several times ‘It’s Tom Eaves, we know what he’s like’ in relation to the fouls on him that weren’t given.

“They should take every game and player on face value regardless of reputation.”