Oxford United boss makes referee pledge

Oxford United boss Karl Robinson has vowed to sit in the stands when his side are refereed by Trevor Kettle in the future.

The United boss was sent off at the weekend as his side were beaten by Sunderland in a controversial encounter at the Stadium of Light.

The visitors had Mark Sykes sent off, and were incensed when Sunderland scored from a quickly-taken free-kick with one of their players down injured. There was a mass brawl at half time, during which Robinson alleges his keeper was headbutted, and when Max Power scored in stoppage time he ran 40-yards to celebrate in front of the Oxford bench.

Robinson had initially claimed he wanted the police involved following the half-time incident involving Jack Stevens, but that was later shelved. It seems the former MK Dons boss has still not calmed down, claiming next time referee Kettle takes charge of one of their games, he will sit it out.

“I will take to the stands when I see Trevor Kettle refereeing my team again. It’s that simple,” he told local media.

“I’m not criticising his performance, I’m just saying I will take to the stands and disconnect myself from that situation. There’s obviously something that has happened over recent years, or we don’t get on, but I thought what went on and what I’ve read in the report don’t add up. Industrial language is used not just by me but by him, yet I’m the one who gets punished.”

Robinson was clearly heard on audio screaming an obscenity at Kettle, who promptly sent him off. Robinson’s anger also extends to the half time incident, which appears to have been included in Kettle’s report despite him still being on the pitch at the time.

“Trevor Kettle thinks he’s seen what went on down the tunnel when he was still on the pitch,” added Robinson, whose side are 12th in the table, six points outside the top six.

“He shouldn’t lose his job, he does bring something to the game, but I just can’t get myself in any more trouble. The best thing I can do is take myself away from the situation.”

Robinson need not fear this weekend, Paul Howard will take charge of their trip to Crewe, whilst Kettle attempts to control Steve Evans at Priestfield.

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Our View

Karl Robinson has never pulled punches when it comes to officials, and this is no different. It is hard to see if he has a point or not, after all only a handful of people know what happened in the tunnel at half time.

Lee Johnson, Sunderland boss, did claim that some Oxford staff were out of order too, which suggests that Robinson’s team were not blameless, but perhaps it is best left in the past now?

It will be interesting to see if Kettle, a controversial figure himself at times, gets another Oxford game this season.

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