Players and managers are frequently being asked to have respect for referees.

But how can they when very few of them have any idea what refereeing actually involves?

In their eyes, a referee should be right 100 per cent of the time.

Not only that but he should be right in favour of their team.

That is part of the difficulty, but not the only one.

Managers and players from different sides almost instinctively have a different take on most major incidents.

So do panellists in television studios who have had a chance to view the incident from several different angles.

But the referee has only one angle and one split second to make his decision.

If the ball has just been cleared out of defence, he may be 40 or 50 yards away.

Even Usain Bolt cannot run as fast as a ball.

However good his positioning he may find his view blocked at the last moment by another player running between him and the ball just as the vital tackle is made.

Take, for example, the award of a corner that so upset Mauricio Pochettino on Saturday.

In real time, the tackle was a mass of bodies and a ball sliding towards the byline.

Even from three different angles on Match of the Day, it was not easy to see who actually got the last touch

Yet Mike Dean had to make a decision from some distance away, his view of the ball obscured by the players involved in the tackle.

And there was nothing wrong with his positioning or that of his assistant It was just that they don’t have x-ray vision.

What is often not appreciated is the sheer workload.

Ask any player how many decisions he thinks a referee made during a game and the answer will probably be something like 40 or 50.

The accurate answer is more like 400 or 500.

In 90 minutes, that works out at a decision every ten seconds or so.

How many other professions expect a decision every ten seconds?

And in how many other professions are people abused every time they make a decision some people don’t agree with?

Every time there is contact between two players, the referee must decide if it is legal.

When the ball hits a hand, or goes somewhere near it, there will be a shout for handball.

When the ball goes out of play, the referee must decide who kicked it out, sometimes easy, sometimes not, as the above incident illustrated.

I recently analysed a non-league game.

During the 90 minutes, there were 332 occasions when there was contact between players, either in a tackle or challenging for the ball in the air.

On 65 occasions, there was an appeal for a foul from one or more players.

The referee agreed on 39 occasions.

The players disagreed on nearly every occasion.

There were ten appeals for handball, of which six were given, eight offsides, and the ball went out of play 109 times, either for a throw-in, corner or goalkick.

Most of these were straightforward, but 12 of them resulted in appeals to the ref beforehand or complaints afterwards when he gave it the other way.

In addition, the referee gave a penalty – disputed, of course, despite being fairly blatant – booked four players, sent players back to the right place to take a throw-in, ensured the wall was ten yards away at a free-kick (it never was before he got involved), made sure injured players were treated, hurried people up when they were time-wasting, spoke to players who had transgressed too far and added time on to allow for injuries and substitutions.

This was a pretty normal game, fought in a good spirit, yet the referee had to make at least 460 decisions.

Unlike the players, whose minds can wander when the ball is on the other side of the pitch, he had to concentrate totally for 90 minutes.

If he allows himself to be distracted by the colour of a player’s boots or an amusing comment from a spectator, he can be sure that something will happen in that split second.

It is, in short, an impossible task.

The simple answer is to lower our expectations.

We do not expect players always to choose the right pass or manager to choose the right team.

Or indeed for journalists, plumbers or even doctors always to get it right.

We should treat referees the same.

The only way to achieve this is to require players to pass a referee’s exam and officiate in at least ten local league matches before they are allowed to represent their clubs.

Only then will they understand the pressures and difficulties of being the man-in-the-middle.

And then, perhaps, they will begin to show some respect.