PAUL DICKOV COLUMN (+AUDIO): Respect for referees should be returned

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Listen to the extended audio version of Paul Dickov’s exclusive column for the Star plus read his thoughts below

You might not imagine from how I carry off on the touchline but I always try to be respectful to referees.

Not many clubs send the manager in but I always like to be the one who takes the teamsheet into them before games.

The head of referees in the Football League Dave Allison has given me a lot of plaudits for the way I deal with his officials.

I think most referees are pleasantly surprised with how I speak to them, especially with my persona and after seeing me in the ear of the fourth official for 95 minutes.

We have been on the wrong end of some very big decisions in the last couple of games and you’re always going to be pitted at loggerheads with referees.

I like to go in and speak to them after the game regardless of the situation. It’s not just about going in and having a go. It’s about treating them with respect and getting a good name for the club as well.

I want to understand why decisions were made. I went to see Andy D’Urso after the draw with Barnsley to ask about the penalty decision and why he didn’t give it. He’s an experienced official and he was fantastic.

Sometimes you get answers, which Andy was fantastic with. Other times you might not be happy but you are told things which help you understand decisions a bit more.

It was frustrating the previous week at Brighton because the referee wouldn’t give me an explanation as to what happened when Billy Sharp was sent off.

There is a lot of talk about the Respect campaign. If you go in there in a respectful and humble way, you expect to get the same back and not be told that you’re not getting an explanation.

I know how hard it is for referees and I know they don’t make decisions to annoy me or anyone else.

We referee games in training and things happen so quickly that you don’t always know what’s going on. They’ve got a split second to make a decisions.

I just believe big decisions should be made right. We all forgive mistakes - I probably will make more than anyone else - but those big decisions need to be right.

There has been a suggestion that referees should, like managers, face the media after games. I’m split on this.

With the media spotlight now, referees would have to be careful because one wrong word could cost them their career. But I do think that someone should be appointed at each game to take care of the media from the officials’ point of view.

As managers, we have to do it, even when we really don’t want to. So why should they get away with it?