“He should be with the U9s” – What Steve Evans said about Leeds’ playoff ref in 2016

Anthony Taylor has been appointed as the referee for Leeds United’s crucial playoff clash against Derby County next week.

Craig Pawson will take charge of the first leg, while Taylor will be the man in the middle for the return fixture.

Whites fans will be hoping that the 40-year-old can steer clear of any controversy this time around.

The official caused uproar amongst fans and staff when he refereed a Yorkshire derby in 2016 and supporters will be praying that there aren’t any conscientious decisions next Wednesday.

The incident

The referee caused a storm when officiating a Leeds game in 2016 and was the victim of a bitter rant by the then Whites manager Steve Evans.

He made a dodgy decision which cost the Yorkshire club a goal against Sheffield Wednesday three years ago, which incurred backlash from the man in the dugout that day.

Evans was furious with the decision to rule out Liam Cooper’s strike following Alex Mowatt’s 78th-minute free-kick.

The official had blown for a free-kick to be taken, but then called back play due to an incomplete substitution – Fernando Forestieri was still on the pitch – and after deliberation with his linesman, he ordered the set-piece to be retaken.

What was said?

The former Whites boss was far from pleased with Taylor’s ruling and went on a tirade, ripping into him for what he believed to be a poor decision:

“I’ve seen many times where the referee stops it for a substitution, someone’s taking for too long, and he restarts play, but I’ve never seen somebody going back to restart play again, ever.

“He’s a Premier League referee who’s stepped down to take a big derby – he should be with the under-nines on the park pitches on Monday.

“You cannot make a mistake of that magnitude in a game which means so much to both sets of supporters.”

By the letter of the law, Taylor made the right choice by calling back the free-kick. However, he shouldn’t have allowed it to be taken in the first place.

The FIFA-listed referee is one of the most respected referees in the country and for Evans to have suggested that he isn’t capable of performing at the top level is laughable.

Since that incident, he has gone on to be entrusted with officiating at an FA Cup final, and he was also in charge at Wembley for last season’s Championship playoff final between Fulham and Aston Villa.

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