The Untold refs go to far away places: Howard Webb at Old Trafford

A co-production by Johnny and Walter Broeckx

This time we went to Old Trafford to have a look at how Howard Webb did the Utd-Chelsea game.

I must say that I intended to do the review myself. Johnny did it and as  I just couldn’t find the time this week and could only make it up to half time. But I felt we couldn’t wait much longer otherwise we would come very late. I planned to use the model for next season but this time is a precious thing sometimes. But I would like to thank Johnny for doing the hard work. I only did the easy bits. The words before and after.

Lets move on to the facts.

Min Type Decision C/NC points weight on
1 GOAL Tight call but Chicharito is onside. C 1 3 3
2 OTHER foul by giggs on malouda – not given nc 0 0 1
3 OTHER foul against Luis – Chicharito threw himself in front of Luis – perhaps a judgment call, but I’d say not correct. nc 0 1 1
4 OTHER Foul by Park C 1 1 1
4 OTHER Foul by Valencia on Cole – blatant obstruction not given nc 0 0 1
6 OTHER Foul on Rooney – not given nc 0 0 1
7 OTHER Foul by Drogba C 1 1 1
10 OTHER Foul by Mikel C 1 1 1
11 OTHER Goal kick given to Chelsea – should’ve been corner nc 0 0 1
12 OTHER Foul by Ivanovic C 1 1 1
12 CARD Ivanovic arrives late – yellow card C 1 2 2
14 OTHER Foul by Cole forces a touch off of a United player and throw in to Chelsea – foul not given against chelsea nc 0 0 1
15 OTHER Rooney fouled Kalou – throw in given instead nc 0 0 1
18 OTHER Foul by fabio on drogba – not given nc 0 0 1
21 OTHER Foul by Ivanovic – obstruction C 1 1 1
23 GOAL Nothing wrong with the goal except for that maybe the goalscorer Vidic should have been sitting out this match for his intentional handball against Arsenal the previous week. C 1 3 3
29 OTHER foul by O’Shea C 1 1 1
30 OTHER Foul on Kalou C 1 1 1
32 OTHER Foul by Manchester C 1 1 1
37 OTHER Foul by fabio C 1 1 1
37 OTHER Offside by chicharito – assumed correct C 1 1 1
38 OTHER Foul by Rooney on Luis C 1 1 1
38 CARD Rooney flied in wildy – a red card wouldn’t be out of the question here, but a yellow card is acceptable C 1 2 2
40 OTHER Foul by Ivanovic – accidentally steps on Rooney’s boot C 1 1 1
40 CARD No card – Rooney has been watching too much Barcelona – wants Ivanovic sent off – Webb is right not to do so. C 1 2 2
42 OTHER Foul by Essien C 1 1 1
42 CARD Essien pulls back Park by the collar after losing possession.  Webb is entitled to give a card though he didn’t book Fabio who has twice pushed and shoved players trying to go past him (Webb didn’t call one of those).  This call was obviously to appease Rooney for the previous foul – perhaps harsh but correct. C 1 1 1
45 OTHER Manchester wrongly awarded a corner kick – the ball hadn’t fully crossed the line nc 0 0 1
45+2 OTHER Foul for Valencia jumping in Terry’s general direction nc 0 0 1
45+3 OTHER Foul by Fabio C 1 1 1
46 OTHER Foul by Park – not given – Webb gives chelsea a throw in when Ivanovic clearly kicked the ball out of play after being shoved by Park. Everybody is confused with Webb. nc 0 0 1
50 OTHER Foul by Cole – lunges in C 1 1 1
50 OTHER Foul by Park C 1 1 1
50 CARD Park trips up Lampard from behind to kill promising attack – he should have been booked for it nc 0 0 2
53 PENALTY Lampard slides in with his arm raised and blocks the ball with a swinging motion – this was fairly close range and perhaps it wasn’t as intentional as Vidic’s handball the previous week, but it was a penalty and should have been given. nc 0 0 3
54 OTHER Throw in wrongly given to United nc 0 0 1
55 OTHER Offside by drogba – assumed correct C 1 1 1
57 OTHER Foul by Valencia C 1 1 1
58 OTHER Foul by Evans on Drogba C 1 1 1
64 PENALTY Terry sticks out his leg and Valencia goes down somewhat easily.  I would lean towards this being a penalty.  With United up 2-0, Webb ignores it though. nc 0 0 3
65 OTHER Foul by Fabio C 1 1 1
66 OTHER Handball by drogba C 1 1 1
68 GOAL Vidic just plays Lampard onside – goal okay C 1 3 3
70 OTHER Foul not given – Valencia fouls Cole while taking the ball off of him, Manchester nearly score from it nc 0 0 2
70 OTHER Ramires fouls Giggs C 1 1 1
71 OTHER Foul by valencia on Cole C 1 1 1
76 OTHER Offside by drogba C 1 1 1
77 OTHER Foul by Cole on Fabio – not given nc 0 0 1
79 PENALTY Valencia blocks Torres’ goal-bound shot with his arm – Webb disallows it for an earlier but previously uncalled infraction nc 0 0 3
79 OTHER Mystery foul – After the ball strikes Valencia’s arm, Webb seems to conveniently find a foul for an infraction against Alex.  Replays show Vidic hanging on Drogba a bit and then running to get a head to the ball.  Alex had a better position than Vidic and fairly challenged for the ball. I find this call highly suspicious. nc 0 0 1
81 OTHER Offside by drogba – assumed correct C 1 1 1
81 OTHER Foul by Lampard C 1 1 1
83 CARD Giggs booked for time wasting C 1 2 2
84 OTHER Foul by Torres C 1 1 1
86 OTHER Foul by Ramires C 1 1 1
87 CARD Ramires booked for tripping Giggs from behind.  A bit harsh perhaps, but acceptable C 1 2 2
89 OTHER Handball by Terry C 1 1 1
89 CARD This was intentional – he should have been booked nc 0 0 2
90 OTHER Drogba lunged in on Carrick C 1 1 1
90 CARD Drogba’s lunge was flying in, two-footed, studs showing.  He got a yellow, but it should have been red. nc 0 0 3
90+3 OTHER Offside by chicharito – assumed correct C 1 1 1
90+4 OTHER Foul by Cole C 1 1 1
TOTAL 41 53 84
% 66,13% 63,10%
CARD 6 9 66,67
PENALTY 0 3 0,00
GOAL 3 3 100,00
OTHER 8 12 66,67
17 27 62,96
Favorable Calls
MU 12 57,14%
Chelsea 9 42,86%
Total wrong calls 21

It looked as if Webb didn’t want to give any penalty. Like I have said on a few occasions this is a way you can act as a ref that you want to be 200% sure before you give a penalty. And if you apply this for both teams then nobody can blame you for this. A bit unusual for Webb when running around at Old Trafford in fact.

I think it is a bit weak but maybe this is down to the way SAF handled matters before the game. It put Webb in a difficult position. Apart from 1% of the MU fans who live in some kind of denial, fans around the whole football world know that Webb is a little bit pro United when on the field.

SAF words put extra pressure on the ref and I had the feeling he wanted to show that he would not give a doubtful penalty to United this time. Which lead to no penalties given at all. So Webb didn’t give a penalty to Utd when they were 2-0 up. A bad character might ask himself what Webb would have done with the score 0-0 at that time?

The not giving penalty to Chelsea when the score was 2-1 was a bit of the handyman ref type. He only blew after Valencia blocked the shot with his arms and then gave a foul against Chelsea for a push. I only saw one player pushing in there and that was Vidic. The other contact made was more of a result of the push from Vidic. But it diverted the attention of the handball.

His card handling was again a bit on the weak side at times. Typical Webb style I would say. When he can walk away from an important decision he will do it most of the time when the big teams are involved. Just like he did in the world cup he now also turned away from a possible sending off.

Twenty one wrong calls and a slight advantage to Manchester United. I think this showed that he tried to be unbiased and he very much succeeded. A slight advantage in those numbers to the home team is normal and can be put down to the human factor.

One thing is for sure the way the game went was very favourable for Manchester United with the goal scored within the first minute and the second coming a bit later. So there was no need for Webb to do anything special.  And yet a rather low total score. Remember in other countries you need at least 70% and he didn’t reached that.

Footnote from Tony

Since Walter prepared this report SAF has been charged with improper conduct by the FA for the comments made about Webb before the game on 8 May.  He broke FA Rule E3 when he said, “We are getting the best referee, there is no doubt about that. But (getting a bad decision) is definitely our big fear. We have the players to do it all right. We just hope it’s our turn for a little bit of luck.”

The rule says managers may not speak about a referee in advance of the match being played.   SAF has just finished a five-match ban following comments about Martin Atkinson after the defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 1 March.   He could get another ban, but, well, this is the FA, so the chances of that are somewhat akin to the chances of a warm sunny day on Pluto.

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42 Replies to “The Untold refs go to far away places: Howard Webb at Old Trafford”

  1. @Tony:

    I thought that SAF’s comments about Webb were hilarious. Sounds like they’ve finally decided to come out of the closet! 🙂

  2. @Walter/John: Grateful for the great work and measured interpretation of the WebbWeaver. A true measure would have been in a nil-nil contest and the grand finale that WW would have orchestrated. The “charmed” life that Vidic lives (as per the 79th minute) is remarkable and whether call or non-call always seems potentially a game-changer.
    @Tony: While the press headlines blare that Arsene and Ancellotti support SAF versus FA’s (toothless) reprimand, Arsene uses the occasion to table a fine idea for actually stopping SAF and his clones from further pre-match tampering:

    “I don’t like comments about the referee before a game. Afterwards I can understand that a manager should have a bit of freedom to express his opinions because the frustration is sometimes so big,” said the Arsenal boss.
    “But you have to give the referee every chance to go into a game with a clear head and without pressure.
    “I believe that you should not know the name of the referee before the game anyway.
    “It should be a draw 48 hours before and nobody should know who is refereeing what game.
    “That would keep everybody away from problems before a game.” AMEN.

  3. This is great work

    can we expand on this further next season and look at more games. I for one am willing to do post match reviews of teams other than Arsenal, but would need access to the videos of the games.

    I see it as a way of applying pressure and also in the long term building a data base/dossier that some day might come back to bite someone on the arse.

    The internet is a wonderful thing, furnishing Joe Bloggs with the tools of revelation only previously available to those with huge resources in support.

    Well done UA, Well done Johnny and Walter

  4. I take my hat (Tilley BTW) to those who try to provide the facts behind the story.

    With regard to the referees being bent, I do not accept that as a fact. Although a good case could be made re that Newcastle-Arsenal game. The referee could have arranged a bet at half-time by another for a 4-4 draw????? My inclination is to go for the Northern referees anti-Southern attitude ingrained into them from birth.

    The research into the matches must take a lot of the valuable “quality time” from the families?

  5. Another top analysis. No penalties from ‘Man Utd’s Howard Webb’, kept it simple. Ha – proving the impartiality of our ‘top ref’. Vidic sure seems untouchable now – he can do what he wants, in the manner that Scholes/GNeville always did. No Fat Allardyce to roll over for his mate today, but another jock will be a soft touch. Our own season has been full of too many FFS moments – from refs under Old Mother Riley’s instructions and our self-destruct behaviour. Please AW… have a clear out and buy 4 or 5 players of quality.

  6. @Notoverthehill (NOH), Walter, all: NOH, you don’t “accept” bent-refdumb as “fact” but your “inclination” is to accept a North-South bias. Please note that bent-refdumb is a specific, fact-based working hypothesis that is not absolute, but probable, based on 36 weeks and hundreds of hours of time that Walter (an engaged/working ref), Dogface (a stat-master) and the UA team have been logging in. Whereas you counter this with an “inclination” and cite one game in evidence. You would be more helpful if you could look at every Arsenal game this season which had a Northern referee and dissected it far more closely; or, say, looked at Walter’s analysis of that game. If, say, all or most of those games (or key games) turn out to be lopsided enough to make your North-South analysis a probability; would you then dig in and say that’s all, cased closed? Or would you become at least open to “accept” that there might – as a working hypothesis – be a wider problem than just North-South bias. That said, I wonder, Walter, if in your end of season report could have an addendum that at least examined the “North-South” assertion and indicated which of the games that appear ref-bent had a North born-bred-developed ref (the North, btw (Notoverthehill), being SAF-Land) as opposed to a non-North referee in charge. I don’t know if this feels beside the point, or too old a saw, or otherwise irrelevant or a burden; but it might be relatively easy and add an interesting dimension to your analysis. Anyway, sorry to seem pedantic, but it seems addressing this might at least appear to confirm or discredit a (more or less widely held) point of view which could be a form of denying bent-refdom or which may have it’s demonstrable share of validity. Anyway, my tuppence toward a finer-tuned result as you proceed.

  7. @norm, can I ask which players you would like to see gone & why? Also, from what I’ve been reading, every time we get linked with a recognized player, they’re also linked with man city, utd or chelski. How would you advise we compete in a bidding war against teams which have money no problem attitudes to buying players. If torres is worth £50million, how much budget do you think we should set aside for 4 or 5 players? If a top player costs £50m,is an average player £25m? Is it worth getting rid of our average players to replace them with £125m worth of new average players?

  8. @Notoverthehill: When you ask about UA/Walter’s analyses “taking a alot of ‘quality time’ from the families” are you being concerned? admiring? snide? saying “cease and desist”? saying “shut up”? Since every question is also a statement, I’d like to know what your question is stating. Is it a measure of your support for Walter’s efforts which anchor this website and have value (to say the least) or is it a measure of your distaste or contempt for it? (Btw, I pose my questions to you as a way of supporting Walter/UA’s efforts. And yours?…)

  9. So now the we will win the PL has become we must not finish 4th. How can beating a poor side like Villa send anyone home happy and give them optimism for next season. As long as we still have that millstone around our neck called Wenger we are in trouble. There will be no major signings this sumer just the same old rubbish trawled from the bottom of the barrel. It will be interesting to see if Wenger recognises that we need an English spine and brings in players with heart and desire or adds players like Eboue, Denilson or Rosicky, players who have been allowed to sponge off the club, contributing little but taking a lot. These are the sort of players Wenger favours and this is the reason why we can’t win a bean never mind a trophy. Why Wenger didn’t buy Vincent Kompany when he could have is beyond me. Why he pushed Toure out, and then allowed Gallas to leave before replacing them with two accident prone losers in Koscielny and Squillaci has turned us into a laughing stock. Why anyone is still supporting Wenger is a total mystery. Optimism, what a joke.

  10. @manny, what English spine did the invincible have? Also, toure now plays in a team below us in the league, gallas plays for a club several places below us in the league… I honestly cannot believe you are suggesting that gallas is missed? Much better to have a Chelsea player in the changing room causing disharmony than eboue, I hear he’s a right miserable sod and brings doom & gloom wherever he goes… On no, that’s the aaa of which I believe you are a fully signed up member

  11. Great review, thanks gents.

    The “not given” stat is interesting, but we need a “control” stat – how many fouls are missed on average in the Premier League? It could just be that the officials are generally rubbish, or missed fouls could be something more sinister. Tricky to say until we know the general level of missed fouls in the PL

  12. @Phil: While I do agree with your sentiment, the logistics of getting to a “general level of missed fouls in the EPL” is a massive undertaking, as you can well understand, that needs an army of Walters to undertake. This said, the standard you ask for would now freeze the ongoing analysis and discredit it before it has concluded, for this season, with Walter’s final report. It’s fine to ask for the ideal, but the possible can, and will offer all of us a very worthwhile result to consider. It may also be so persuasive as to render your ideal standard beside the point. We shall see.

  13. Manny the we need an English spine is another one of those easy spouted oneliners based on…..?
    Now I don’t have anything against English players at all. No, I don’t care if the 11 on the pitch are from every place except England or are from the UK alone or from Mars.

    But I do would like to point at the fact that for the first time in I think 7 or 8 years we had 4 UK players in the staring line up and this was by far the worst performance of the season.
    Now I am not blaming the UK born players for this bad performance but I think it just shows that it’s not as simple as saying: just buy more English players and we will win again.

  14. Bob: I agree with what you’re saying, my comments weren’t a criticism at all. Lack of resources limits the conclusions we can draw, but much better to shed some light on the matter as you say

  15. I can tell you that I hope to bring you the newest and complete version of the ref review as I will be going to do them from next season on for at least one of the two last games of the season.

    In this I will try to give a half time score of the ref. The reasoning about this is that I would like to see if the ref his score goes down after the first 45 minutes. Reasons could be that they are not in a good enough physical condition to do the full 90 minutes. And of course it would mean that a Dowd performance would be far better exposed. Meaning that if a ref suddenly changes at half time (for God knows which reason) I can show this a bit clearer.

    I also will make the wrong calls a bit more clearer but I am looking at the problem that my table would get wider and I don’t know if I can fit it on the page. But we will work on something to fin a solution.

  16. @Anne: Let’s be clear, the closet that Don Fergus and the WebbWeaver have emerged from is that of Bent-Refdumb, full stop. Interestingly, the FA has just slapped The Don’s wrist with a reprimand: just to show they don’t take such a flagrant breach of pre-match etiquette very lightly. They know just how to keep up appearances – these FA bloodsuckers – especially in the current gathering atmosphere that cites Korruption in high places re. the Olympic games bid. Too bad about the Olympics: surely we would have had the chance to see the WebbWeaver and/or the Gift-Giver (he, to your Barca-Divers) Officiate (sorry, Dictate) the outcome on high at Mt. Olympus, er, Wembley.

  17. @gooner80 Fitting isn’t it that they become champions from winning a bogus penalty from Phil Dowd?

  18. It would be interesting – as a key case study – to determine quantitatively how many non-calls (especially) or calls that Vidic benefitted from this season; and then, to analyze qualitatively what impact they (the calls/non-calls) had on the outcome of those matches. He is clearly a “charmed” fellow and demonstrably impacts outcomes (like his notorious recent handball against us). This pattern (yes, I jumped the gun) needs to be surfaced and well-publicized to try and neutralize it as a factor in next season’s ongoing waltz with The Don as he seeks (hold noses) Manure’s record-record-breaking 20TH TITLE. Can you stomach it, mates: DON FERGUS – GREATEST OF ALL TIME. My fingers are turning to dust….for having typed this………

  19. p.s. sorry, I’ve recovered:
    How about another feature at UA/Ref-Review called “THE VIDIC WATCH” that would analyze this year’s and next year’s calls and non-calls with respect to his exploits on the pitch. (Surely, if we have The Verminator, they have The Vermin. A proper analysis of V’ antics would be our “V for Vendetta”) In any case, I’m serious: please consider it, blokes. I’d bet the farm that this analysis would be eye-popping when actually fully detailed for all to see.

  20. Ugh – Dowd on top form for ol’ purple nose.

    StevieE: We have several average players on the books and a few who have started this season, who may well be benchers next season. I have only watched Championship games on tv, but don’t feel any of the lads returning from loan could vastly improve the squad. Frimpong, though, can be a better bet. I would not be devastated to see Almunia, Fabianski, Denilson, Bendtner, Diaby, Rosicky, Eboue all on their way. Also even though Koz and JD have made huge strides this season, they are not the real deal (yet). Clichy will always be iffy now and Theo flatters to deceive so often. Arshavin has lost his way because his best position is not marooned on the wings, being criticised for not chasing back – a waste of his creative ability. There are a couple of players worth looking at in the PL. Chris Samba has tremendous presence with attitude and Phil Jones, although raw, looks like a committed soul, with the skill to play cb or defensive midfield. My list of other possibles would include Baines, Odemwingie, Berg, Vertonghen, Parker. I don’t know enough about Sakho, Inler or sundry players at Lille, Lorient, Lyon. Beginning a new season with 3 or 4 new faces would give a fresh impetus to our singular ambitions. Of course the big-noters & big spenders will flaunt more money, but why wouldn’t a good player want to come to our great club? Success is so close, Wenger must change from loyalty to players, to loyalty to club & supporters.

  21. The thing about Webb is that the English press try to big him up like he’s the best ref in the world, when in my opinion he is average at best.

    I read that he had given 3 penalties to Manchester United in his previous 4 matches that he reffed at Old Trafford, and he seemed determined not to give one in this match.

    Are there markets in Asia for whether or not a penalty will be given or scored in a given match?

  22. @Norm: yes, I see Frimpong, based on where he was when he went down. Don’t know the others body of work, but do you have an informed-take on Bartley? on JET? on Miyachi? as making a difference for us.

  23. As to where the refs come from, I find it shocking that there isn’t one ref in the league from the south of England.

    Personally, I think it increases the possibility of someone compromising the group of refs as a whole if he could converse with the refs without the need for a telephone. Money could be handed over by messenger as opposed to using banks. A local or regional network of call girls could also be used for servicing the refs.

  24. There are lots of apologists claiming that this is one of the toughest PL seasons in years. That’s rubbish. The only difference this year is that Manure and Chelsea were so poor – but still better than us – and we have got worse. This should have been the season for us to seize our chance to win. Wenger could not do that. He is already gathering his excuses for failure next season “Manure cannot guarantee a top 3 slot next season” yeah right. This vainity project, terible coaching and tactics, over-realiance on foreign players who if they are any good really just want to go Spain in the end or wasters that no one else would want and a team that every commentator and even the players themselves openly say lacks leadership and spirit. This is the root of over woes. Again in transfer speculation we are linked with a stream of sub 20yr old emerging talent. I can only see more of the same next season. I have been watching the FA cup build up – saw the 1971 Charlie George goal and it brought a tingle down the spine. Good Old Arsenal

  25. Bob: alas no, due to location now, but I would be happy to be wrong on all of these lads. Friends who see Leeds & Norwich regularly are not critical of Watt or Lansbury, just not inspired. Miyachi, yes, he could be a real wild card, as he has had some great reviews from Feyenoord.

  26. @Manny: now what is it, exactly, that you think that what you call “foreign players” (most of them if not all) don’t have that “English players” (most of them, if not all) do have. You rant and froth, Manny, but let’s hear some specifics behind your anti-foreigners rant. “English Steel,” you say? What about, as Walter asks, do you think of our having FOUR English players in our piss-poor performance last weekend. Oh, I see, it’s the non-English coach who saps their will and tarnishes their inner English Steel. And it’s the non-English captain who is now a Judas after seven seasons and being a constant target of the English Steel agro-tackling that would threaten anyone’s career, even yours if we could get you out on the pitch to do us so proud, for King and Country. C’mon Manny, let’s hear your specific English remedies for our foreign-induced maladies here at the Emirates. By the way, specific means s-p-e-c-i-f-i-c – say 5 – 10 actionable steps that the French Coach you’d love to deport should take. Or better yet, you’re the Coach – a proper English coach. Now tell us, what specifically is to be done? (And my regards to LeGrove.)

  27. Alright, then! The Righteous are served!
    Here’s the latest description of (assistant) Phil Dowd’s victory over the WebbWeaver in handing Don Fergus his due. (From the Guardian:)
    “United got lucky in the end, when Robinson rashly brought down Hernández to concede a hotly disputed penalty. There was little doubt the goalkeeper made contact with the Mexican rather than the ball, but that was largely because Hernández had all but knocked the ball dead and had little hope of reaching it. It would be harsh to say he was playing for the penalty, but he was certainly moving away from goal and although, technically, the assistant Phil Dowd consulted was correct in affirming contact had taken place, one could fully understand the Rovers players’ protestations.”

  28. @mandy: you see, Mandy, Dowd’s victory is what is known as a “stacked deck.”

  29. And lo, it did come to pass – by COINCIDENCE – that the WebbWeaver and Dowd were designated as midwives to deliver Rosemary’s Baby – sorry, SAF/Manure’s 19th. So let it be written.

  30. I don’t quite get how ANY contact by a goalkeeper in the box is deemed a penalty. The Ryan Shawcross apologists, whenever any protest is raised over dangerous challenges, are always quick to point out that football is a contact sport and that any attempt to legislate against leg breaking tackles will turn it into a non-contact sport. And yet it’s rightly deemed a penalty if the goalkeeper brushes an opposing player in a one v one situation?

  31. @Laundryender: glad to hear you’re ready to take part in doing reviews of other teams. You joining Walter would would be a massive step forward in putting the spotlight on the officials and their performances. It may help put them all under the same pressure Webb was feeling this weekend, which made him come closer to being fair than I’ve ever seen him. I’d like to see guys like Dowd under that same pressure. He’s shown that he obviously see fouls, he just won’t call them unless they’re super blatant or they help to advance “the plan.”
    Regarding manure’s title-winning penalty today – did anyone get a good look at it? I had exactly ZERO replays here, which I find ultra-suspicious. It looked like the keeper got the man and not the ball. But why no replays? Was it a correct penalty call? Did either of them have any chance of reaching the ball?

  32. @C4: The Guardian description tells it like it was. Read between the lines: (From the Guardian:)
    “United got lucky in the end, when Robinson rashly brought down Hernández to concede a hotly disputed penalty. There was little doubt the goalkeeper made contact with the Mexican rather than the ball, but that was largely because Hernández had all but knocked the ball dead and had little hope of reaching it. It would be harsh to say he was playing for the penalty, but he was certainly moving away from goal and although, technically, the assistant Phil Dowd consulted was correct in affirming contact had taken place, one could fully understand the Rovers players’ protestations.”

  33. @bob – There was no chance in hell, zero, nil, of Hernandez reaching the ball. Hernandez hit the ball so hard that it had nearly gone out for a goal kick before Robinson even made contact.

    Phil Dowd is incompetent as hell. I was watching a match he reffed last weekend (Everton – Man City) and he was letting players get away with a lot of bad tackles (Milner, Neville, to name of a couple of the offenders).

    Remember Phil Dowd also let Carragher get away with a yellow for that X-rated tackle on Nani not too long ago.

    By the way, speaking of not showing replays in the United match, there was an incident with the score 1-0 to Blackburn and Blackburn hit the woodwork with a header. Valencia gathered the ball in his goal area, started to dribble forward, slipped, and appeared to handle the ball. Unintentionally obviously, but he should have had the ball under his control and if by handling the ball he affects the opposition player’s chances of playing the ball, I think you should award the penalty, depending on how close the opposing player is to the ball. Because Blackburn had just hit the woodwork, that’s the only replay they showed.

  34. @Johnny Deigh: Cheers JD, I definitely agree with you, and that’s why I posted how the Guardian writer puts it: “Hernández had all but knocked the ball dead and had little hope of reaching it.” You’re much clearer, but the reporter says as much in his own fuzzy way. Dowd is among the worst offenders, no doubt.

  35. Man Utd are always going to get that call, I watched it last night, and yes the goalkeeper impeaded le petit pois. It was not a goal scoring opportunity, but on this instance that is not the rule being applied, it was a foul inside the box. Where the ball was going was of no consequence.

    The question is, were it the other way round, were it a Blackburn penalty, would it have been given? We all know the answer to that, time and time again referees have failed to give apply the laws against Man Utd. MOTD did all it cold to highlight some of those calls last night. I have never seen that before, so even they are aware that it is now becoming ridiculous, even farcical.

    Who in a position of authority will have the balls to stand up and shout “enough”? what can we do to persuade them?

  36. The usual drivel etc. but Manchester(Trash) United were given the
    league title just to pass Liverpool,s 18 titles ,no other reason
    whatsoever ,like FIFA Diretcor of Communications William Gaillard
    stated only recently,the EFA is the weakest in Europe,read betwe
    en the lines as to what he actually implied,corruption,favouriti
    sm etc. so can we now assume that King Kenny will get his chance
    soon to equal Trash.United,s record of 19 Premier League titles
    we wait in anticipation?

  37. Sepp Blatter will be answering those exact questions soon as he
    hopes to continue in his how many terms Presidency of FIFA ,but
    oldv red nose won,t ever have to answer his critics and the fant
    asy theatre of dreams charade of the past 26 seasons ,that,s clear,too many skeletons in the cupboards at Old Trafford?

  38. Thanks bob, Johnny and Laundryender for clearing that up. I was a bit distracted at the time of the penalty incident, and with no replays, I wasn’t sure. Same old then, eh?

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