You have to have thick skin to be an elite-level footballer these days.
With every step, pass, tackle, shot and run analysed, criticised and then over-analysed again, it can become easy to think you’re just rather bad at football.
The media scrutiny has never been higher for playing staff and management, with dozens of cameras surrounding pitches poised to pick up on every little error.
It doesn’t just stop in the media, though.
Crowds at stadiums can often be an incredible motivator for the players on the pitch, but, should things turn toxic, a nay-saying audience can often be a massive hindrance.
However, while players certainly get it in the neck on a weekly basis, there is perhaps no demographic in football more abused than the referees.
In truth, the match officials are always on a hiding to nothing, very rarely getting praised when they get something right, but always harangued to within an inch of their lives when they get it wrong.
Just ask Paul Tierney how it feels to be a Premier League referee after you’ve had an off day.
However, one particular referee in France went viral over the weekend after he decided he had had enough of the verbal volleys being fired his way by the gathered crowd on the terraces.
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In a Coupe de France clash between Stade Poitevin and RC Lens, referee Jerome Miguelgorry went on the counter-offensive as he reacted to fans abusing his officiating performance.
As the crowd jeered, Miguelgorry gesticulated sarcastically for them to make more noise, before cupping his hand to his ear as if to say, “I can’t hear you”.
You can see the surreal moment in the footage below:
Miguelgorry has gone where no referee has gone before and we don’t quite know what to make of it.
Ideally, the referee needs to maintain the calmest head in the building, whatever the circumstances and regardless of the torrents of abuse being directed his way.
However, we can’t help but admire Miguelgorry for showing a bit of the ol’ fire in the belly in the face of heavy criticism.
You can be sure he took a back door out of the stadium that day though and may think twice before agreeing to come back.