For a lot of Chelsea fans, the mere mention of the name Tom Henning Ovrebo will likely be followed by a fairly severe swear word or two.
Just like good old Didier Drogba, back in the day.
For the rest of us, Ovrebo is well-remembered for one of the most controversial refereeing performances in the history of the Champions League.
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Back in 2009, Chelsea were up against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge in the second-leg of the semi-final of the competition.
Andres Iniesta saw Barca through to the final thanks to a late equaliser to make the score 1-1 – giving the Spanish giants the advantage on away goals after the goalless first-leg at the Nou Camp.
But that’s only scratching the surface of a truly bizarre and extraordinary game that saw the Norwegian ref turn down FOUR penalty appeals for Chelsea.
And ahead of the Blues clash against Barca on Tuesday night, Ovrebo spoke to Spanish outlet Marca about that fateful night.
In a reasonably frank interview, Ovrebo declared: “It was not my best day really. Some days you are not at the level you should be. I can’t be proud of that performance.
“There were several errors and everyone will have their opinion of those plays.”
Among the penalty appeals that night were two for handball against Barca’s Samuel Eto’o and Gerard Pique, which the former ref waved away despite Chelsea’s protests.
On reflection, he said: “They were handball situations. I judge them on the pitch and I think it is interesting to know what I think of those actions once judged, although I understand that people think different to the decisions I made at the time.”
One of the most enduring images of the match was the Chelsea players reaction at the final whistle, which saw Ovrebo surrounded by angry Blue shirts. Drogba and Jose Boswinga were later banned by UEFA for their behaviour (we all remember the Ivorian striker swearing loudly on live TV).
Ovrebo later claimed he received death threats from Chelsea fans and was forced to change hotels after the game.
Who’d be a referee, eh?
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