Tottenham’s conspiracy theorists have been out in full force recently as the club looks to end its title drought.
Some fans have not been happy with the goodwill shown towards Leicester by the rest of the Premier League.
First, it was Southampton’s fans enjoying a bizarre rendition of “you’re gonna win the league” after losing (1-0, obviously), to the Foxes.
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Spurs fans were not best pleased
Then, it was Sky who felt the wrath of Spurs’ frustration, due to TV coverage meaning that Spurs will now always have to play after Leicester.
Now, the Premier League appear to have dodged a bullet with a last-minute change to the officials for Spurs’ away game at Stoke on Monday.
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Kevin Friend was due to be the man in black for the crucial clash at the Britannia, but the Premier League have intervened for a very good reason – he’s a Leicester City fan.
The relatively unknown Neil Swarbrick will take his place as Spurs fans breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Too much pressure
The Professional Game Match Officials Ltd. are the body who choose referees. They have prevented Friend, who lives in Leicester, from officiating games involving the league-leaders, but they do not take into account factors such as Spurs competing with Claudio Ranieri’s men for the title.
The Premier League have suggested that there is no doubt over Friend’s impartiality, but there would simply be too much pressure on him if he were to take charge of Spurs, especially considering the potential backlash from their supporters.
Leicester within touching distance
Instead, he will now take charge of Newcastle’s home tie against Manchester City, a game with no bearing on Leicester’s finishing position, meaning the referee will be under far less scrutiny.
Tottenham are seven points behind Leicester with five games to go, but the latter face a tough task against Slaven Bilic’s high-flying, physical West Ham this weekend.
With Andy Carroll in fine form, West Ham might be able to beat Leicester at their own, direct game.
If that is the case, Spurs must absolutely make sure they capitalise at Stoke.
Should Kevin Friend have been allowed to referee the Spurs match? Have your say in the comments!