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Oct 5, 2009

Allardyce: I was right to criticise ref

Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce insists he had no option but to speak out against poor refereeing after calling for Peter Walton to be sacked for failing to award his side a penalty in the 6-2 thrashing at Arsenal.

Rovers hit for six

Allardyce was left incensed after a crucial decision went against his side at the start of the second half.

Northamptonshire official Walton, who had earlier played a good advantage which allowed Arsenal to equalise at 1-1, did not point to the spot and send off defender Thomas Vermaelen for what replays suggested was indeed a trip on David Dunn.

Rovers had twice taken the lead, going ahead inside four minutes through Steven Nzonzi's header, before eventually being outclassed by the rampant Gunners, who are now the top scorers in the Barclays Premier League.

However, it was the case of what might have been which continued to irk Allardyce during a brief post-match press conference.

"I try not to say too much publicly and say it through the system but unfortunately the system is not working so I have to be heard,'' Allardyce said. "People may say it is bitter or twisted, but I know I am 100% right because I am very professional in what I do.

"I research everything and [referees chief] Keith Hackett knows I am right. I don't want to detract from Arsenal, but it was a blatant penalty.There is no doubt in my mind that the position of the referee was excellent. He just didn't, unfortunately, give the decision in our favour.

"It is human beings in a very big pressure position. In the big pressure pot that is this league, you have got to get the major decisions right otherwise you don't stay in this league too long - not as a manager or a player, so as a referee you have got to be judged the same.

"They are fully professional now so if they are not good enough, we should find someone who is. That decision wasn't good enough and it had a major effect on the course of this game.''

Allardyce - who could well now face sanctions from the Football Association - felt the visitors could well have got something from the game if the decision had gone their way.

"At that particular stage you would see us getting a penalty, probably scoring it, them going down to 10 men - because it is a red card for stopping a goal-scoring opportunity - and the balance swings in our favour,'' he said.

Vermaelen had equalised for the home side on 16 minutes, only for David Dunn's deflected effort to put the visitors back in front.

Robin Van Persie and Andrei Arshavin saw the Gunners lead at the break before captain Cesc Fabregas got the goal his performance deserved just before the hour, and then helped set up substitute Theo Walcott - back from injury for a first appearance of the season - with Nicklas Bendtner cracking in a sixth late on.

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