By Danny Wright
Everton fans have reacted angrily on Twitter as the club’s official kit supplier, Kitbag, wished Pierluigi Collina a happy birthday and hailed him as one of the best referees of all time on Monday.
Although it is an opinion viewed by many, Evertonians still have vivid memories of when the Italian referee cost them a Champions League group-stage place in 2005.
— Kitbag (@KitbagUK) February 13, 2017
The 57-year-old disallowed a goal by Duncan Ferguson which would have brought the tie with Villarreal level.
Collina blew his whistle after he thought Marcus Bent had fouled a Villarreal defender, although replays show it was the Everton man who was fouled.
Collina announced his retirement from the game just a few days after the match.
Everton’s £30million deal with Kitbag has already suffered a lot of criticism as it restricts where fans can purchase replica kits from and basically hands over the entire merchandising operation to a third party company.
Here are a collection of tweets from Everton fans about the PR slip-up:
— Shane Mulholland (@shaneomac186) February 13, 2017
— Chris Gill (@Chrisgill95) February 13, 2017
@KitbagUK most corrupt referee ever more like
— Ian (@Ian_efc1878) February 13, 2017
— Blue (@BlueFool1878) February 13, 2017
@KitbagUK yeh, he broke ours thanks to ruling out a perfectly good goal, great that you've reminded all us Evertonians!!
— John S (@JohnShaw_71) February 13, 2017
2 days in a row I've woken up to Collina on the TL. This is not on lads
— Totally Normal Ben (@IamBenShamrock) February 14, 2017
@DWiggo try being outraged that Kitbag's twitterer doesn't know that Collina is persona non grata to Evertonians. That'll do the trick.
— Rob Fox (@RobFoxEFC) February 14, 2017
@KitbagUK Who is in charge of your PR. Or who was in charge of your PR before this?
— john lawless (@johnlawless33) February 13, 2017
Collina was named Italian referee of the year on seven occasions during his career. He also refereed the 1998 Champions League final between Manchester United and Bayern Munich, and the 2002 World Cup final between Germany and Brazil in Japan.
In other Everton news, here are three reasons why they should forget about signing this 27-year-old.