Mark Clattenburg quit his job as a Premier League referee due to a dressing-room dressing-down by Jose Mourinho, writes Stephen Barry.
Clattenburg referred the FA Cup final, Champions League final and Euro 2016 final in the space of seven weeks in the summer of 2016, but by February 2017 he had left the continent to become Saudi Arabia’s head of referees.
The game which changed his mind? Manchester United’s 1-1 draw on a cold, wet night at Stoke last January.
That game will be remembered for Wayne Rooney scoring his 250th United goal to break Bobby Charlton’s long-standing record, but Clattenburg remembers it for his run-in with Mourinho.
“Mourinho came into my dressing room and he was unhappy about a handball penalty that I didn’t give,” Clattenburg told the Men in Blazers podcast.
“I’d walked off that pitch at Stoke, which was always the coldest stadium, always wet and miserable, and refereeing Man United was never an easy match.
“To come off that match, it felt immense that I’d actually had a good performance. For him to come into my dressing room and criticise my performance for a handball that I’d seen clearly come off his chest, I knew that I was right but he’d put a seed of doubt into my mind.
“I drove home 250 miles thinking I’d made a big error, my wife knew my attitude had changed and I thought to myself, ‘Do I really want to be a part of this anymore? Do I really want to referee?’
“I went soul-searching. I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to and when I didn’t enjoy it, I had to get out.
“When I was offered the opportunity in Saudi Arabia, it was an easy decision.”
Clattenburg has also revealed that he allowed Tottenham to “self-destruct” to avoid negative headlines as Spurs lost their last shot at the 2016 title in a bad-tempered 2-2 draw with Chelsea.
In addition, he’s said he was “petrified” of Roy Keane when they first crossed paths.