Steve Bruce, the Wigan manager, watched young referee Stuart Attwell "ruin" the game as his side fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to West Ham and claimed that the official is not at the required Premier League standard. Attwell, the youngest referee in the top flight at just 26, is in his maiden Premier League season but Bruce feels he has been fast-tracked too soon. Attwell had just one season refereeing in the Football League before being promoted last summer and he awarded the infamous "ghost goal" in the Championship match between Watford and Reading match earlier this season, when the ball did not go anywhere near the goal.
Last night he sent off West Ham goalscorer Carlton Cole for two bookable offences and showed a red card to Wigan midfielder Lee Cattermole. Bruce claims he should have dismissed Lucas Neill for a crunching challenge on Cattermole moments before the midfielder saw red. "I feel a bit sorry for him because in my opinion Mr Attwell is not ready to step up to the plate," he said. "The game was ruined as a spectacle. Carlton Cole shouldn't have been sent off. Referee, use a bit of common sense."
* PA Sport