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Those five games last season analysed and investigated Cooper v Woolmer ‘ It’s Personal’
Thursday, 26th Nov 2020 12:25 by Keith Haynes

Steve Cooper has made some dramatic comments on referee Andy Woolmer indicating his decision making against the swans is personal, to the extent where he complained about his appointment in the home game against Sheffield Wednesday. Days before the game.

It was a remarkable end to a night that was the final straw for Swansea City manager Steve Cooper. Post match he made some very serious comments regards referee Woolmer and his decision making during the game against Sheffield Wednesday. Everyone by now will know the accusations made by Cooper were born out of the five games the referee managed last season. Cooper has also indicated that certain conversations with Woolmer were also the basis of his complaint. So what were those games last season, and what happened in them.

Game one : Swansea City 3 Birmingham City 0
Saturday 25th August 2019

Back in the days of crowds at football nearly 18,000 watched a thrilling swans performance beating the blues 3-0. Referee Woolmer booked five players, all of them Birmingham City players and Cooper’s post match comments indicated no real issues after the win which took the swans in to second place in the championship.

"I think that's our best performance over 90 minutes.
"The focus on top of the gameplan was to start well and play at our level for 90 minutes and I felt we did that. I know we came in 0-0 at half-time, but I was happy with how we were playing. I just felt we needed to be more prepared to take risks at the top of the pitch and fortunately the players did that. "We've got a good return in points and we're pleased, but what's more important is we know why we're getting points - with our style of play both on and off the ball and having the ability to dig deep and show resilience.”

Game two : Barnsley 1 Swansea City 1
Saturday 19th October 2019

One player from each side was booked in what was described as an entertaining game. Andre Ayew putting the swans ahead in the game in the second half. Three minutes later Barnsley levelled.1,300 Swans fans were at this away fixture. Cooper seemed happy with an away point.

“I think having got through the first hour and then taken control of the game, to go 1-0 up and then concede as we did, we are obviously going to be quite frustrated at that "A point from home is never the worse thing in the world... but we should have gone on and won the game. "We could have started the game better, but we played good football in the second half. We are disappointed to only score one goal. "Andre Ayew has got three goals in as many games and that is good for us. We are really happy with him. "I know the game went a certain way and Barnsley had some decent moments in the first half. We felt it was going to be an untidy game with the circumstances here with the change of manager. So, we planned for them to be different to what they were. We thought they would be much more direct during the game with their long throws, but we prepared for that. "We spoke about getting on the ball and playing the way we want to play but staying in the game as well and then we felt the last 30 minutes would be for us to go win the game. To go 1-0 up was as planned, we missed two sitters before it, so we should have been two or three up. We've conceded at a really poor time and it leaves you with dissatisfaction because we should have gone on and won the game."

The only slight mention Cooper makes in this post match report is ‘ I know the game went a certain way’ But no referee mentions directly.

Game three : Brentford 3 Swansea City 1
Boxing Day 26th December 2019

Woolmer’s third match officiating the swans was a Christmas cracker with a frustrating end to the game for Cooper. A packed away end witnessed two quality sides with no knowledge of how the season would finish with both sides in the play offs. Again no mention of the referee in match reports and quotes. If the swans didn’t know too much about Olly Watkins they did at the end of this game. Wilkos and Grimes received yellow cards. Cooper was more unhappy with his side than anything else.

"First half we were short, we didn't do the basics right, and in the end we gave away two soft goals and we gave ourselves an uphill challenge. "They are a good team, take nothing away from them, but I think we gave them too much respect. For all their play they didn't create loads of shooting opportunities other than the goals. "If you don't do the basics right you won't win any game, we try and play well and with discipline but we also try to defend well and today we didn't."

Game four : Swansea City 0 QPR 0
Tuesday 11th February 2020

Swans fans will probably remember this game for Angel Rangel’s antics which earned him a booking and maybe he was lucky not to be sent off. Woolmer booked three players, two for QPR and one for the swans. It was described as a grim encounter and the swans failed to register a shot on goal. Cooper was clearly frustrated. But no mention of referee Woolmer.

"We can do better with the amount of ball we had tonight and the positions we got in tonight. We are capable of creating more opportunities to shoot and cross so the part of the game which was not at the right level tonight was in and around their box. We are frustrated because we want to be winning games and we want to be scoring goals at home. We have good attacking players which can make a difference and they know they can do better but we cannot get too down, we just need to keep doing what we are doing.”

Game five : Swansea City 0 Luton Town 1
Saturday 27th June 2020

This game will be remembered for a Jordan Garrick red card and Luton Manager Nathan Jones out thinking Cooper to win the game. On another day the swans would have won this game, chances, effort and game plan weren’t lacking it was the overall quality of the players involved. Then a flurry of player activity saw Garrick sent off. Amid the chaos, Garrick raised his hand towards the face of a Luton player and, while it was too tame an attack to be called a punch, it was still an act of stupidity which left referee Andy Woolmer with little choice other than to send him off after consulting his assistants.

Garrick's dismissal undermined any hope Swansea had of staging a late comeback and, while Luton celebrated their valuable win, the Swans only had themselves to blame as they saw their play-off hopes suffer a significant blow.

"Poor result, poor performance. We gave away a poor goal, giving away possession a few times and a free cross into the box and a free header. Really, really disappointing day. "It's a clear red. I've got no arguments. I thought the referee caused the melee, but I don't want my comment on the referee to hide the fact that Jordon has done something that is a clear red.”

So again nothing in post match comments regards Andy Woolmer, just frustration as we all felt at times last season watching a lethargic Swansea City side. So where are the issues for Cooper ? There’s nothing in his post match comments to indicate anything untoward or personal on behalf of Andy Woolmer. Clearly conversations pre and post match in these games are Cooper’s focus, he has said little of any issues at all. The guidance for coaches and managers is clear -

Clubs are being advised that any media comments by managers, players or any other club officials relating to appointed match officials prior to a fixture will no longer be allowed. Such pre-match comments will be deemed improper and dealt with accordingly

Match officials are assessed at very game by their counterparts, trained referees qualified in assessment. These assessments are talked through with match officials and where contentious training and advice is given. Managers also have the option to report the referees performance, and hopefully (for Cooper anyway) these will form the basis of Cooper’s comments. There’s nothing in the media to indicate an issue, but you can’t go making remarks like Cooper has without good evidential back up. We can’t find too much on Woolmer’s fourth official appointments in the championship since Cooper took charge at Swansea. He has been accused of being underhand by none other than Neil Warnock when it became evident that Woolmer was writing down private conversations they were having when Woolmer was a fourth official in 2017.

Cooper and Pulis on the Liberty touchline

Woolmer’s long refereeing career, he is now fifty four years of age hasn’t been remarkable, there Is not masses of evidence to show he takes things personally or concocts decisions in a teams favour. Yes, there’s loads from fans etc but little of official note. However, there is now and Cooper will be certainly charged with misconduct today and regardless of his point, he will be fined two thousand pounds.

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