There are few more satisfying noises in sport than the coveted 'ironic cheer'. And there are few instances which will garner a louder ironic cheer than when misfortune finds the man in the middle or one of his assistants, who might experience a slip or a fall, for example, or - God forbid from his perspective - fail to locate his cards.
But in extremely special and occasionally scandalous instances, a referee will - inadvertently or otherwise - come into physical contact with a player or ball. There's scarcely anything funnier in the world.
For seemingly no reason under the sun, here are some of sport's greatest examples of referees getting positively lamped.
Tommy Walsh vs Brian Gavin, 2011
A rotten one for Gavin during the 2011 All-Ireland hurling final, as he takes the brunt of Walsh's ash on his snout. As Cyril Farrell put it so brilliantly in co-commentary:
Oh yeah. It's a fair dig - it wasn't just a little tip. And eh, I don't know what the rule there is.
Ian Keatley vs Wayne Barnes, 2013
It's a wonder the Munster 10 wasn't recruited by a New Zealand Super Rugby franchise for doing what the Kiwis have longed to do themselves since Cardiff in 2007. Keatley positively wellies a clearance into the English referee during Munster's Heineken Cup game with Racing, much to the delight of the Thomond Park faithful and the general rugby-watching public. In fairness to Barnsesy, he shakes it off with far less melodrama than one might expect.
Boxers vs Referees, throughout history
Protect yourselves at all times, lads. The face on unnamed 'Asian Ref', here, when he gets clocked during an exchange, makes for either incredibly funny or uncomfortable viewing, depending on your persuasion. Note: The fighter at the end, Vido Loncar, who beats his ref to a pulp following controversial defeat at the 2014 European Youth Championships, was rightly suspended from the sport for life.
WWE wrestlers vs Referees, same
A bit of craic compared to the boxing, if we're honest. The one sporting platform where it's perfectly fine to egg on the assailant.
Steve Sidwell vs Lee Probert (feat. Ben Watson)
What's perhaps more remarkable than the challenge at Wigan's DW Stadium, here, is how uncannily similar Steve Sidwell and Ben Watson look. Of course, things might have been worse for Lee Probert had there been more than three people roaring abuse at him.
The Wigan medical staff took their sweet-ass time getting out onto the pitch, too, clearly incapacitated by their own laughter on the sidelines before realising they were on call.
Paolo Di Canio vs Paul Alcock, 1998
Arguably the least insane thing Italian enigma and all-round weirdo Paolo Di Canio has ever done, and he was subsequently banned for 11 matches - which does offer some pause for thought where the then-Sheffield Wednesday man is concerned.
Now, in the interest of fairness, we're going to have to follow this post up with referees getting their own back and making fools of particularly cheeky athletes (if you've got any suggestions, hit us up). For now, here's a bonus entry from the WWE...
Bonus: Referee Scott Armstrong vs The Miz, 2011
Former wrestler Scott Armstrong ain't to be trifled with.