Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Tuesday August 14 2012
Wigan Athletic open their 2012/13 season account on Sunday when they face Chelsea at the DW Stadium hoping to continue the good form that saw the Latics end last season with just two defeats in the final eleven games.
Ironically one of those defeats came against Chelsea, even more ironically the ref that day was Chester official Mike Jones and he`ll be the man in the middle once again, strange appointment considering that the game at Stamford Bridge was covered in controversy, Latics going down 2-1 following Chelsea being awarded two goals that were clearly off-side and in the build up to the final goal Chelsea defender Bratislav Ivanovic fore-arm smashed Shaun Maloney off the ball, an offence that was missed by Jones but saw Ivanovic receive a three match retrospective ban
Jones took charge of two Latics games last season, the first occasion was back in October when Fulham visited the DW Stadium and, despite the Latics dominating the game, they left with a two nil victory
Controversy has visited Mike Jones before, he is famous or is it infamous, for being at the centre of an incident which saw one of the strangest goals of all time, Jones allowed Darren Bents beach-ball goal for Sunderland against Liverpool to stand. Unfortunately for Mike following that game at the Stadium of Light and a storm of controversy he had a little time out of the Premier League limelight and was demoted down to the Championship
He was heavily criticised at the time by former referee Dermott Gallagher for getting the laws of the game wrong, Gallagher said about the incident: 'It was a glaring error and it's difficult to fathom. Even referees in local parks should know that if there is an outside agent on the pitch then you stop the game and restart it with a drop ball.'
Well Mike Jones apparently didn't know but I'm sure that he does now.
It all sounds like a load of balls to me.
The 43 year old whistle blower started refereeing because he was awful at football and sick of being left out at school when the other boys were kicking the ball around, so he took to enforcing the laws of the game at the tender age of 15.
You almost feel sorry for him
Jones was promoted to become a football league referee in 1997 and progressed to the Premier League in 2008 when he took charge of the Hull City v Wigan Athletic game, in an interview Mike was asked:
What is the best game you have officiated and why?
He replied: 'The best game for a sense of achievement was my first Premier League Game between Hull City and Wigan Athletic.'
A 5-0 away win for the Latics that day and one that Jonesy will remember all his life, let's hope that on Sunday we get another great victory to make up for the injustice of last April.
Mike Jones Card Watch 2011/12
Games - 33
Yellows - 112
Reds - 9
Wigan Athletic v Chelsea
Referee: M Jones
Assistants: G Beswick, A Halliday
Fourth Official: M Halsey
Latics and Proud
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Date:Tuesday August 14 2012
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