Brian Hill and other crimes against humanity

Cod Almighty | Article

by Tony Barker

30 November 2018

Remembering Brian Hill's tolerance of a blatant Bolton hack in 1991, Tony Barker knows just how Tranmere fans must have felt on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, when Thunderdiary related Wes Thomas's handball to a decision that the "referee" Brian Hill didn't make, I was catapulted back to the Bolton game. If you were there, then no words are needed But if you wasn't, well then...

We were losing 1-0 to Bolton Wanderers in a fiercely contested second division game. I was stood with a few mates on the old Harrington Street open corner, when Shaun Cunnington burst through from midfield towards the Pontoon, looking a sure bet to equalise the game.

And then it happened: One of the most cynical of hacks from behind by a Bolton player you will ever see, to send Cunnington sprawling.

Immediately, the home crowd were incensed by such a callous takedown, but as we all waited for Hill to blow for the clear foul and send off the offending player, nothing happened. Nothing.

The linesman, bless him, stood assiduously waving his flag for the referee to take notice of him, but Hill just totally ignored him.

Now this was becoming serious. A complete joke. In such a tight game, this was the only chance we might get. At this point the crowd went ballistic, myself included. I ran down to the fence to the linesman, who was on the verge of putting his flag down, but with my encouragement, and a look of utter embarrassment from him to me, began to vigorously wave it again.

The result of all of this fervour? Nothing. Brian Hill, the "referee" didn't once look at the still-flagging linesman. Not once!

We all screamed and screamed and screamed until we were sick. But it was no good. The bribe must have been a good one and we lost the game 1-0, in what was a pivotal point in the season if I remember rightly.

Until then, I had never entertained the thought of entering the field of play and trying to remonstrate with an official over a decision. But this wasn't any old decision. This was plain cheating from someone who was supposed to be neutral. That day, if I had been a braver man, I think that I probably would have done, as I had certainly lost my head, along with the rest of the home crowd.

Tranmere, you have my sympathies.

The front page image, "The scales of justice", by James Cridland is licensed under CC BY 2.0. The image has been cropped.

How does Brian Hill's failure to act rank in the all time list of Great Grimsby injustices? Tell us and we'll add them to this page.