Mark Clattenburg made one wrong call, obviously wrong in retrospect, in Chelsea’s defeat by Manchester United.
Torres’s ridiculously elaborate fall obscured the fact that he had also been fouled and the referee’s culpability was reduced, in neutral eyes, accordingly. He had one instant view, not the benefit of TV replays. But the apparent dive meant a second yellow card so Chelsea were doubly punished in error.
As for the offside United winner, that was also bad blunder but not Clattenburg’s. Great if the ref spots it but no one can properly expect that to happen automatically. It was the linesman’s call.
Chelsea were justifiably angry at the defeat, and still wounded by the John Terry affair, and it is impossible to escape the conclusion that this anger propelled the club in its squalid pursuit of the referee on a trumped-up charge of inappropriate, in effect racist, language. That has now been thrown out, as everyone guessed it would be, by the FA as it had been by the police.
And Chelsea have issued a sincere, unqualified apology. Er, no. They haven’t. Having treated Roberto di Matteo shabbily only a few days ago, they appear unwilling to show belated semblance of grace.
Plenty of decent people support Chelsea FC. There have been great players and managers at Stamford Bridge. They deserve better than the disreputuable mob who seem to be in charge. An apology, of course, may yet come …