There certainly appears to be no love lost between Premier League referees, with Mark Clattenburg lifting the lid on the various goings on behind the scenes.
Universally recognised as one of the best officials to ever work in the English top-flight, Clattenburg wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and that seems to have manifested itself in certain off field incidents.
In his autobiography, Whistleblower, cited by The Athletic, Clattenburg recalls the time fellow official Martin Atkinson, threw a punch at him.
“I caught him [Atkinson] with a tackle (in a five-a-side game). He threw a punch, and I threw a punch back,” he said.
“From that moment, there was always a certain level of respect between us, but friendship was out.”
If that weren’t eye opening enough, Clattenburg had a few words to say about some other of his ex-colleagues.
“I did well for him (Howard Webb) in the Euros as an additional referee. However, when Howard doesn’t need you, he doesn’t speak,” he continued.
“He’s very unique in this. Everyone sees Howard as a nice guy, and he is. I would never really criticise him as a person, he’s just someone I won’t engage with in the future because I don’t need Howard Webb, the same as he doesn’t need me. Which is fine.”
After Graham Poll had a go at him for carrying a man bag, that friendship was out of the window too.
“He said it was not appropriate for a referee,” Clattenburg added.
“But what was appropriate? Did you have to dress like a f***ing square? After that, I could not trust him.”
There were others in his line of fire and given that many of them are still working today – which is more to do with a lack of opportunities for replacements coming through and PGMOL’s inability to do anything about that – the renewed focus on the men in the middle certainly won’t be welcomed.