CHIPPENHAM Town manager Mike Cook was left fuming with the performance of the referee during his side’s 1-0 defeat away at Maidstone United last weekend.

Maidstone’s Joan Luque dispatched a first-half penalty as the Bluebirds were left apoplectic over Callum Wolchester’s display with the whistle.

Town disputed the call to award a penalty against Spencer Hamilton for handball – a decision Cook felt was wrong due to his defender being outside of the box and seeing the ball hit his chest.

The Bluebirds boss said the whole game featured incorrect calls and he found it difficult to remain composed as his team battled unsuccessfully to rescue a point.

Cook said: “The story of the game, unfortunately, was about the referee. I don’t normally like to speak about the referees, but in old-fashioned money I think you’d definitely call him a ‘homer’.

“It was every decision – it was quite obvious that whatever we had done or said, we were not in his good books, and he seemed to give most things to them.

“Whether it was a throw-in or a free-kick, he’d not give us things that he would give to them when they were similar.

“From the coaches point of view, it was difficult to hold your dignity on Saturday.”

A frustrated Cook feels something must be done to improve the standard of refereeing at National League level, with incentives to poach former footballers to take up the job seen as one way forward by the Town boss.

Cook believes referees must have some form of previous playing experience to be allowed to officiate at a high level – otherwise, in the manager’s words, they should stick to The Dog and Duck.

Cook said: “There’s got to be a solution to the level of referees that are doing our level. They must have had to have played some football at some stage in their lives to officiate properly and be a better referee.

“I’m not sure the fella on Saturday had ever kicked a ball in his life.

“We’re not quite getting football league referees, but at the same time we seem to be getting more of The Dog and Duck-standard referees.

“We either need to put in some better training for these guys, or offer up solutions and incentives to ex-professional or semi-professional footballers.

“The current refs have got to be better, they’ve got to be fitter, and I just think unless they have played the game I don’t think they should referee our games – I think they should stick to The Dog and Duck.”