Standing in the middle of a football pitch with the whistle is an unenviable task. You never get the recognition for giving a great decision, or applauded off the field like a heroic striker.
When they make the wrong decisions, referees get chastised, their reputations lying in tatters.
But does Dons boss Karl Robinson have a point when he questions the standard of refereeing for his side of late? In my opinion, he does.
There are only so many bad calls, or match-changing decisions gone awry before the proverbial hits the fan, and inevitably, a manager is banished to the stands for a few games.
Recently, Dons have been on the wrong end of a series of decisions, or more importantly lack thereof, which could make even the most cynical of cynics sit up and wonder if aliens, among other conspiracy theories, actually exist as well.
Robinson may end up getting dragged over hot coals for comments made in his press conference last week referring to the Barnsley game.
Will Grigg’s disallowed goal, shown in the slideshow above, shows Grigg was played on by not one, not two, not three, but indeed the entire Barnsley back four.
Robinson suggested: “We came out in the second half and won the game ourselves.
“But we went against the grain of what they wanted in the outcome.”
Take then the Luke Ayling handball decision against Bristol City which was inexplicably missed; and Jon Stead’s handball in the build up to Bradford City’s second goal, despite being right under the nose of the assistant; a decision not to send off Gillingham’s Gavin Hoyte for bringing down Carl Baker and disallowing Keith Andrews’ goal in the same game - all these in less than a month.
But don’t get your tin foil hats out yet. I’m not convinced there’s a vendetta against MK Dons, but there’s certainly enough evidence there to support one.
One thing I’m growing ever more certain of though is that the standard of officiating in all levels of football is dropping, and it’s coming at exactly the wrong time.
The popularity of football outside the top flight could hardly be better. More money is being pumped into the lower leagues than ever, with more TV and media coverage shining the light on game most of the country watch every week.
Dons take on rivals Peterborough this weekend - a team Dons haven’t beaten since 2011. And it was in their last victory at stadium:mk which saw another pivotal refereeing decision swing the balance of the play-off semi final back in favour of Posh, when Stephen Gleeson was adjudged to have tripped Mark Little, earning him a red card.
However, watching it back, Gleeson didn’t touch Little, who tripped over his own feet, and the ‘incident’ occurred outside the penalty area, though a spot kick was awarded.
And it’s still something which haunts Robinson, and has been dredged up in his mind after recent events.
“I still have flashes looking back to the decision with Stephen Gleeson,” he said. “We have to take the big decisions out of the hands of referees and perform to the best of our abilities.
“I don’t believe the decisions have gone our way recently. I think they’ve been poor and the standard of refereeing has been low. And I can prove that.
“This isn’t just me being vindictive. This is just me talking as a manager and a fan of the game.
“Even the penalty on Kyle McFadzean that we didn’t get on Tuesday night against Colchester. Some of the decisions are baffling.
The best course of action is to take the decision out of the referees’ hands, scoring goals without the need for a decision to go their way (but in Andrews’ case, they felt they’d done that at Gillingham).
Maybe, as is the old football cliche, things will eventually balance out.
Or more likely, aliens exist.