I've been saying for quite a while that Championship refs have almost the opposite bias to Premier League refs.
In the Prem I often had the feeling that the bigger clubs got away with murder against us because we were a small, unfashionable club.
In the Championship, we appear to be one of the bigger dogs. Not my opinion, very much that of other clubs' fans that I've spoken to - largely based on the fact that we were a solid Premiership team for a decade.
So for matches in the Championship we regularly appear to get the shitty end of the stick re ref decisions. Given the reduced skill level in general, there are maybe more fouls that the refs let go than would happen in the Prem. I've no problem with that at all, who wants to watch a game where there's a free kick every 30 seconds? But there ought to be a balance to refs letting similar fouls go for both sides. Maybe it's my Stokie blinkers but it does seem that we get penalised more than many of our opponents because we're "a big club". (Which we're not IMHO - we just batted well above our average for 10 years or so).
Similarly there's probably much less "simulation" (diving) in the Championship than the Prem. Largely because Bournemouth aren't in the Champ? But again our opponents seem to get away with so much more than we do. Blinkers again, maybe, but I've seen it over and over in matches not involving Stoke where one of the teams is clearly a bigger club than their opponents and are much more harshly treated by the refs. Leeds anyone? They're horrible scum but they often get a rougher deal than even us.
Maybe we've just not been clever enough to foul/dive as well as our opponents since we came down. It's a horrible thing to comtemplate in my book, but hey ho. Until we wise up a bit, and stay in the Championship long enough to lose our "big club" tag, it'll probably continue.
SJW was probably the best player we've had in my lifetime for drawing fouls, or for fouling opponents and getting away with it. C'mon MON, call him in as an expert to give us some intense masterclasses.
It's a tough job being a ref for sure, all I want is parity for every club. Except Leeds. The refs can do them over as much as they want, the b&$¬&/[s.