Big Sam: Ref bottled a major decision

Last updated : 01 January 2003 By BoltonMAD

Villa were leading 1-0 when Bolton striker Michael Ricketts appeared to be held back in the penalty area, but Messias turned down Wanderer's loud appeals for a spot-kick to be awarded.

Allardyce said after the game: "My anger is still deep in my stomach. It was a turning point in a very important game for both teams.

"We had an opportunity to equalise taken away by the referee because he bottled a major decision which should have gone in our favour.

"If they can't make those decisions, they should not be refereeing in the Premier League. I saw that Jeff Winter gave Francis Jeffers a penalty at Arsenal. Strangely enough Arsenal were playing at home!

"When you are playing away from home, it does seem life is more difficult to get what you deserve from referees. They are professionals, paid to make major decisions - and he got a major decision totally wrong.

"I shall be going to ask him if he is honest enough with himself and with me to say 'sorry, I have made a mistake'. If he doesn't do that, it makes it even worse.

"Apart from actually taking the shirt off Michael's back, how much more could the Villa player have pulled it?

"It seems that referees have a psychological problem playing at major stadiums and giving decisions to the small clubs," added the Bolton boss.