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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 15, 2007

Seeing Red: Graham Poll

It's often good to meet the people who you watch on TV. For so many years, referee Graham Poll has been a two inch figure on my screen and in that respect, was open to criticism for every decision he made.

However, meeting the man, and indeed reading the book, gives a unique insight into the person that everybody loves to hate. The referee.

Seeing Red offers a glimpse into the world of refereeing, and furthermore, into the life of one of the most talked about men in England over the past few years.

With a 26 year career in the game overshadowed by one mistake in Stuttgart, Graham Poll feels that he has to redress the balance and this is the main reason for his foray into publishing.

From the early life of amateur refereeing, up to his meetings with David Beckham, Sir Alex Ferguson and some of the world's best players, Poll charts his own success, culminating in the despair that came from his decision to give the same player three yellows cards at the World Cup.

How he dealt with the criticism in the fallout from Germany, as well as the Premiership season that followed, is something that Tring's most famous resident is keen to express. His side of events is interesting, although you do have to put up with the continual use of the third-person 'Pollie' that seems to be the norm in autobiographies these days.

Still, without realising the pressure that these referees are under, it would be easy to judge them purely on their decision making abilities. Poll understands that and never hides from the fact that he made mistakes, only seeking to explain to people why they happened.

The book is packed with interesting anecdotes, highlights include the Vieira/Keane incident, a World Cup diary and some rather nasty information which proves beyond reasonable doubt that Robbie Savage is a total moron.

If nothing else, the book shows that there is more to Poll that just three yellows cards and John Terry - and that's just what he would have wanted.

• Read our interview with Graham Poll here.


  • Any comments? Email Jon Carter