A few days ago Tony Moybray, the West Brom manager, suggested what many fans have suspected for some time when he made clear that some referees are too chummy with certain top players.
I remember well when Norwich were in the Premiership that tackles were not met with even punishment when playing top teams. Referees would stand having long chats with Rooney, Henry, Lampard and others whilst being happy to waive a yellow card the first time a "star" player was tackled.
Tony Moybray did not say that referees were biased, for to do so would incur an FA charge, but I do not blame him at all for thinking that is is the case, even if he is forbidden to say it.
Another example of this "big team", "star player" bias has just been seen on Sky TV with a Stoke player being sent off for no more than a hard but not dangerous tackle on England international Shaun Wright-Phillips, whilst Shaun Wright-Phillips two footed lunge ( a straight red car) followed by a retaliation kick out at the Stoke player (again another straight read card) was ignored and he received no punishment.
Fans from most premiership club suspect that refs show bias towards the big teams and stats tend to show this to be true with The Real Result website showing the Sky 4 (Liverpool, Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea) to be 6 points better of than they should be.
It's about time referees stopped showing institutional bias and stopped referring to "Frank" or "Wayne" and instead referred to everyone in the same way, be they a Stoke reserve player who is not a household name or an England international whose wife appears on ITV 2.
Update : Today (Sunday 1st Feb), just a day after Rory Delap was sent of for Stoke, Steven Gerrard (England International) committed the exact same offence in a match and ... was simply told off by the referee with no card being produced. Another example of stunning double standards.