‘I want to see more of this’: Fans SUPPORT English referee after he squares up to footballer in extraordinary clash (VIDEO)

English referee Darren Drysdale has apologized after he was seen locking heads with Ipswich Town midfielder Alan Judge during a match on Tuesday night – but some fans have backed the official over the angry clash.

Drysdale was seen butting heads with Republic of Ireland international Judge after the official turned down a penalty appeal from the footballer in the 90th minute of the League One encounter with Northampton Town.

A furious Judge was seen marching towards Drysdale, pointing his finger at the 49-year-old, who responded by moving his head towards the footballer in scenes usually witnessed in bust-ups between players rather than including the referee as a protagonist.

Drysdale was pulled apart from Judge by several players and then brandished a yellow card at the Ipswich ace – apparently for diving.

Tempers flared again in injury time after Drysdale sent off Ipswich’s Flynn Downes, making for a bad-tempered end to a game which finished goalless.

Ipswich boss Paul Lambert later said he had called on the football authorities to investigate the scenes, although the club did not file a formal complaint.

“I’ve texted Mike Jones (EFL head of referees) this morning to say have a look at the footage of the head thing,” Lambert told TalkSport.

“To me, in my opinion, it looks as if the referee went in there and I said to him after the game, ‘Did you put your head in my player?’

“He couldn’t answer it and that’s the reason I spoke to Mike. I haven’t seen that in a long, long while.”

Lincolnshire official Drysdale has now apologized, issuing a statement through the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) in which he admitted he “did not maintain his composure.”

“I can only apologize to Alan and Ipswich Town,” said Drysdale, who is a Royal Air Force (RAF) veteran.

“I fully understand it is important for us as referees to maintain our composure throughout the game and always engage with players in a professional manner. I’m sorry that I did not do that.”

PGMOL confirmed that the Football Association is investigating the scenes – although Drysdale garnered widespread support from fans online, many of whom felt that referees are already subjected to far too much abuse from recalcitrant players.

“More of this, he’s the ref, he holds the cards and makes the calls, bored of players shouting the odds at refs and getting away with it,” wrote one fan.

“How is the ref being made to be the bad guy here? Players need to get told, they give the ref’s grief all game long like they can do and say what they want,” added another.

“Not sure what was said but you can see the player making a move first by aggressively walking towards the ref. The refs are easy targets for some idiots but the ref pulled his card out and carried on,” read another voice of support for Drysdale.

One person added: “I’ve personally got no problem with that. He’s maybe done a little bit more than stood his ground but he’ll have been taking stick for years. I used to prefer refs who would tell you how it is, if it’s industrial language both ways away from the crowd then that’s fine by me.”

Others even harked back to the days of Italian refereeing legend Pierluigi Collina, pointing to his no-nonsense style.  

Elsewhere, some fans disagreed however, asserting that Drysdale was firmly in the wrong and as a match official must rise above taunts from players.

“Surely a professional referee can control the game & control himself but obviously not,” wrote one critic.

“Really struggling to understand the calls for “more of this” from referees. Players are sent off for doing this, there’s no excuse for an official to behave this way. If you can’t control the game without getting physically aggressive towards players, get a new job,” added another.

Drysdale, who has also reached assistant referee level in the Premier League as well as with UEFA and FIFA, will now await his fate at the hands of the football authorities, and could be on the receiving end of punishment rather than dishing it out.

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