Mark Clattenburg on Bellamy
Three things really annoy the ex-premier League ref – traffic wardens, mosquitoes and Craig Bellamy
Hi Mark. How often do people call you ‘Battenberg’, and do you now rue the existence of that sound-a-like fancy sponge cake? Hi. Yeah… Kipling’s cakes, that’s where my name is from. Clattenburg is really a German name that got spread out in Canada – my grandad was a Canadian ice hockey player – but every birthday cake I had as a child was a Battenberg. I’ve had so much Battenberg in my life, I don’t like it any more. I’ve been called Battenberg many times but I’ve been called far worse, so I’d say Battenberg is one of the nicer ones. What is your cake preference, then? Banoffee pie, with the harder base. It’s the only dessert I really like. Delicious. Do you ever blow a whistle in day-to-day life, like at a dog? I don’t have a whistle, or a dog, though I whistle the odd tune with my mouth. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life is my top whistling melody. I’ve lost a few friends recently, so it’s a good attitude to life. Live it to the full. I’ve been trying to teach my daughter to whistle, as she lost a tooth and couldn’t do it. Do you reckon you could beat Usain Bolt running backwards over 100m? I refereed him at Soccer Aid, so maybe we should have done it then. Running backwards is an under-appreciated skill as long as you don’t hit the deck. There is nothing a crowd likes more than a ref going over, though refs aren’t actually encouraged to run backwards anymore. They want us running forwards. In the Half Man Half Biscuit song The Referee’s Alphabet, it’s revealed: “J is for ju-jitsu, which I quite intend to display given a dark alley and some of the narky blerts I’ve encountered”. If you could ju-jitsu one narky blert, who would it be? Craig Bellamy. I think quite a lot of refs would say that. He knew how to push my buttons. The problem was that I’d react to him. You’re meant to stay calm, balanced and impartial. Bellamy was like dealing with a drunk, irritating person as a policeman. You should respect players, but it was very hard with him. Which world leader would make the best referee and which referee would make the best world leader? Who’s the most boring ref, to be a good politician? Probably Martin Atkinson. He is the perfect role model – he’d have his tie the ideal length. Donald Trump would probably be the best ref because no one likes him. He doesn’t care, so he’d fit in. Howard Webb once confessed to FFT that he pinches toilet rolls. Have you ever committed a petty crime? Ha. I do like to nick the little shampoos from hotel rooms. Howard can’t do that because he’s bald, but now I’ve had my hair transplant done, I’m OK. My main crime was being a s**t referee! [Cackles] Referees are unpopular despite just doing their job, so let’s see what you think of other maligned entities that are performing an assigned function. Traffic wardens... Oh they wind me up. You’ve got to have certain tolerance levels, and I’ve always tried to be fair as a referee. But if you’re only an inch out, they won’t show any leeway. I’ve been done myself for being millimetres over the line. It’s annoying. Estate agents. They do a good job, but I do think some of their charges are extortionate. Speed cameras. I hate them. I got done on my first day in Saudi Arabia. They get put in places they just don’t need to be. By a school, fine. But why are they on motorways? Wasps. I’m not a fan, but what’s even worse is mosquitoes. And they f**king love me! Finally, you’ve got a few tattoos – if you had to have one celebrity’s face done on your back, who would it be? I’ll go for myself, just to wind people up! Cheers for chatting, Mark. Hope you get a banoffee on your next birthday. Thanks.
“BELLAMY WAS LIKE DEALING WITH A DRUNK, IRRITATING PERSON AS A POLICEMAN”