Referees are a strange bunch.
What are they? Failed footballers? Sticklers for the rules at school? Who knows.
Mark Clattenburg has broken the mould for the normal PE teacher/ticket inspector approach to refereeing.
We have here our first celebrity referee.
And now he has basically claimed he was responsible for Leicester winning the Premier League.
Ok then, Mark.
In a revealing interview with NBC’s Men in Blazers podcast, the tattoo’d ref claimed he ‘allowed Tottenham to self-destruct’ in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea in May 2016 that handed Leicester the title.
Spurs had to beat Chelsea to stop the Foxes lifting the title, but threw away a two goal lead in one of the worst-tempered games this decade.
To give you a taste of what t was like, it has been dubbed the ‘Battle of Stamford Bridge.’
Now Clattenburg is saying he went in ‘with a gameplan’ in order make sure the headlines were about Spurs losing the game and not about his performance.
The Geordie branded yellow cards to nine Spurs players but refrained from actually sending anyone off.
“If I sent three players off, what are the headlines? ‘Clattenburg cost Tottenham the title’,” the former Premier League official said.
“It was pure theatre that Tottenham self-destructed against Chelsea and Leicester won the title.”
His comments afterwards are very interesting in terms of what role a referee should play in one of the most tense games of the season with huge implications.
Should he give any weight to what the post-match headlines are? Or should he officiate to the letter of the law despite the occasion?
Clattenburg was asked if he had a hand in scripting the game, he replied: “I helped the game. I certainly benefitted the game by my style of refereeing.
“Some referees would have played by the book; Tottenham would have been down to seven or eight players and probably lost and they would’ve been looking for an excuse.
“But I didn’t give them an excuse, because my gameplan was; Let them lose the title.”
Lots has been said about Spurs’ fragile mental state that led to this bottle job, but did Clattenburg have a part to play?
Possibly a red card would have galvanised the team and restored some discipline instead of picking up continues warnings.
It might just be another way for the current head of referees in Saudi Arabia to stay in the limelight.
Clattenburg was never one for the quiet life.