Football fans were treated to an unexpected goalmouth celebration yesterday as a Premiership referee and his linesmen acted out a bizarre celebratory mime after the officials notched up an historic footballing first. ‘It was incredible’ said Mark Halsey as he was handed a bottle of champagne in the post match interview; ‘In fifteen years of officiating I have never ever given a penalty and had the defending team say ‘Yeah, fair enough. Good decision.’ I just lost it, I did a little robot dance, and then the linesmen joined me and we lay on our back and mimed being cockroaches that had just been blasted with insect spray. The players looked a little confused to be honest.’
For a moment fans were unsure that a penalty had been given; so philosophical and supportive were the Manchester City team about the referee’s decision against them. ‘I couldn’t understand it’ said Spurs fan Martin Redwood. ‘I was sure the ref had whistled and pointed to the spot. But Shay Given was applauding the decision without a contemptuous sarcastic expression on his face. City manager Mark Hughes was nodding with acceptance while Steven Ireland was placing the ball on the penalty spot to assist the Spurs striker who was about to score.’
Robbie Keane put the penalty away, with only minutes left to play, destroying Manchester City’s chance of playing in Europe next season, but Mark Hughes didn’t want to question the controversial decision; ‘Well, if the referee said it was a penalty that’s good enough for me’ said the City manager.
After the referee’s bizarre celebration play was resumed, although the ref did have to give one of his linesmen a yellow card, who removed his shirt after successfully calling a particularly difficult offside decision.