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August 2021

Untold Ref Review: Newcastle Utd 0 – 2 Man City. Want an example of bias? Here it is.

This article is part of a series stretching over several seasons in which a team of referees analyse the work of refs in Premier League matches.

Our figures show that when we analyse the errors made by refs there are consistent trends which do not “even out” through the season, as some commentators would have it.    All the earlier ref reviews plus analyses of the errors made by refs, and articles relating to our campaign to have the body which organises referees activities reformed, plus an analysis of the background to this campaign, can be found on:

Although this is a site built for Arsenal supporters we welcome comments from fans of other teams, although we tend not to publish comments which are simply abusive or which are completely off topic.

Today’s referee is Howard Webb –

MATCH REVIEW DETAILS – Howard Webb (2012-05-06)
Period 1
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
1 OTHER Tevez Tiote C Pull 1
2 OTHER Silva Ben Arfa C little pull 1
5 OFFSIDE MC C assumed correct 1
7 OTHER Cabaye Barry C high foot 1
7 YELLOW Cabaye NC Barry was right in front of him so he knew he was there and still raised his foot at Barry’s face, dangerous 2
12 OTHER NC Throw in for MC given to Newcastle 1
14 OTHER Jonas Barry NC advantage given it was possession, nothing really on 1
16 OFFSIDE Newcastle C assumed correct 1
23 OFFSIDE MC C assumed correct 1
26 OTHER Ben Arfa Clichy C different pulling attempts and then a trip 1
26 YELLOW Ben Arfa C a bit harsh maybe at first sight but he did continue in making fouls till it worked and this should be punished with a booking 2
30 OTHER Barry Cabaye C pull 1
30 YELLOW Barry C stopped a promising attack 2
32 OTHER Tiote Sivla C trip 1
32 YELLOW Tiote C tackle from behind and made sure that he got the man by lifting his leg 2
35 OFFSIDE MC C as Newcastle gets the ball away and can run away without a City player near the ref gives advantage, nicely done this one 1
36 OTHER Jonas Nasri NC first jumped in to him, then a handball, nothing given 1
36 OTHER Perch Tevez C trip 1
36 YELLOW Perch C kicked him on the Achilles 2
38 OTHER Yaya Santon C trip 1
38 YELLOW Yaya C similar to the Tiote yellow, a consistent ref this time! 2
42 OTHER Nasri C handball assumed correct 1
43 OTHER BA Kompany C holding and high foot 1
46 OFFSIDE Barry c Correct 1
Period 2
Min Type Foul from On C/NC Comment Weight
49 OTHER Jonas Zabaleta C Trip and push 1
51 OTHER Perch Tevez C Trip 1
57 OTHER Yaya Santon C trip 1
58 OTHER Jonas Aguero C trip 1
66 OTHER Lescott Krul C attacked the keeper in the air 1
70 GOAL MC C correct goal 3
73 OTHER Cisse Barry C Trip 1
78 OTHER Ba Lescott NC push on defender not given 1
79 OTHER Zabaleta Ferguson C trip 1
79 YELLOW Zabaleta C no doubt about that 2
80 OTHER Ferguson Silva C came in late 1
80 YELLOW Ferguson C a bit stupid but may be some kind of revenge feelings 2
81 OTHER Tiote Zabaleta c Trip 1
81 RED Tiote NC should have been a second yellow card for a dangerous kick 3
85 OTHER Ameobi Lescott C push 1
89 PENALTY Richards C Appeal for handball but it was not even close to handball as the ball hit the back of Richards, correct non call 3
89 GOAL MC C correct goal 3
91 OTHER Williamson Dzeko NC pull not given 1
92 OTHER Jonas Aguero NC Trip not given 1

So Howard Webb was the ref for this very important game. When the other Manchester went to Newcastle the home team managed a big win. Today City showed they are different from United.

The first miss from the ref was when Cabaye almost kicked against the chin of Barry. The fact that Barry was in front of Cabaye so he should have seen him going with this head to the ball made this a foul worthy of a yellow card. The good thing is that Webb gave the foul. I have seen him not give such fouls.

At the end of the first half he was very strong with dealing with the needed cards for the fouls when it was required. And if we can praise the ref we will praise him: he was consistent in handing out the yellow cards. For the same fouls he gave the same card.  As a result he had a decent score.

Despite the high interest the second half started rather fair from both teams. Some fouls but nothing serious. And with Webb being fair for both teams. His first mistake came with only 12 minutes to go.  In the last 10 minutes the nerves came in. Zabaleta with a strong challenge, Ferguson replied with a strong challenge and Webb took out his cards. Correct from the ref.

But when Tiote took his turn on Zabaleta and came in with his studs under the knee of Zabaleta the ref let his card in his pocket. Tioté should have walked at least with his second yellow card.   Pardew took Tioté off the field minutes later to prevent him getting that second card I guess.

After City scored their second goal it was game over. Webb refused to blow another foul against Newcastle and this cost him a few points.

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COMPETENCY SUMMARY – Howard Webb (2012-05-06)
Period 1 Called Total Correct %
OFFSIDE 5 5 100.00
OTHER 10 13 76.92
YELLOW 5 6 83.33
TOTAL 20 24 83.33
WEIGHTED 25 30 83.33
Period 2 Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 2 100.00
OTHER 10 13 76.92
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
RED 0 1 0.00
YELLOW 2 2 100.00
TOTAL 15 19 78.95
WEIGHTED 21 27 77.78
Totals Called Total Correct %
GOAL 2 2 100.00
OFFSIDE 5 5 100.00
OTHER 20 26 76.92
PENALTY 1 1 100.00
RED 0 1 0.00
YELLOW 7 8 87.50
TOTAL 35 43 81.40
WEIGHTED 46 57 80.70


All in all he got a rather good score somewhere in the 80% so no complaints about that. But…

BIAS SUMMARY – Howard Webb (2012-05-06)
Period 1 Newcastle United % Manchester City % Total
Correct For 11 55.00 9 45.00 20
Correct For Weighted 13 52.00 12 48.00 25
Incorrect Against 0 0.00 4 100.00 4
Incorrect Against Weighted 0 0.00 5 100.00 5
Fouls Commited 8 47.06 9 52.94 17
Fouls Penalised 6 75.00 9 100.00 15
Period 2 Newcastle United % Manchester City % Total
Correct For 4 26.67 11 73.33 15
Correct For Weighted 5 21.74 18 78.26 23
Incorrect Against 0 0.00 4 100.00 4
Incorrect Against Weighted 0 0.00 6 100.00 6
Fouls Commited 10 76.92 3 23.08 13
Fouls Penalised 7 70.00 3 100.00 10
Totals Newcastle United % Manchester City % Total
Correct For 15 42.86 20 57.14 35
Correct For Weighted 18 37.50 30 62.50 48
Incorrect Against 0 0.00 8 100.00 8
Incorrect Against Weighted 0 0.00 11 100.00 11
Fouls Commited 18 60.00 12 40.00 30
Fouls Penalised 13 72.22 12 100.00 25


…But if we look at the bias index we see that he managed to make only 8 mistakes (not that bad) but all the mistakes where in favour of Newcastle. With the fame Webb has one can wonder if they really were mistakes….

23 comments to Untold Ref Review: Newcastle Utd 0 – 2 Man City. Want an example of bias? Here it is.

  • phil odling

    a brilliant bit of research this,ive have read 1 or 2 of these by you on mcfc’s matches and both times the ref as been for the oposing team,i would love to see both of the reports of the match’s of city v man uniteds home and away to see who got the refs decictions,once again thanks for this i thought it was just us city fans that thought the refs where all waqys against us but as your research confirms its not.

  • mancunian mike

    Although this game didn’t stand out as being particularly unfair to my team at the time, City fans saw a continued bias in favour of the opposition from referees for pretty much the entire second half of last season. It seemed to begin with the blatant penalty on Silva not given (with City 1-0 up) against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. A couple of City websites have done similar refereeing comparisons to see if it was just normal ‘fan fury’ from those of us with blue tinted spectacles but the ‘trend’ described above seemed consistant, and made all the more difficult to take in light of the decisions going in favour of the red half of Manchester at the time. Cheers.

  • Dan

    This is how refs engineer games. Arsenal were so ahead a few years back that refs could not engineer that well. When the likes of Berkamp and co hanged up their boots they started to let everyone kick chunks out of Arsenal players. Even the media are in on it. Wenger had proven that with little or no investment you can win titles(invincible season) The kicking lumps out of Gunners or leg braking tackles flying has calmed down alot and its the reason why we were able to come back into 3rd position. I hope not but should Arsenal come strong again I believe that the dangerous tackles will come back. The hacking comes and goes like a rash.

  • Andy Kelly

    For you City fans, here is the ref review for the game at Old Trafford.

    Clattenburg tried to help United but City were too good.

    What I found most intriguing was that this was the 6th Man Utd game that Clattenburg had refereed since the start of 2010/11 – out of a total of 29 games. Since that game Clattenburg has refereed 18 Premier League games, none of which have involved United.

    Weird, eh?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Andy, you have beaten me 🙂

  • Anne

    That 100% incorrect against figure defies belief. As I write this, I’m actually wondering if I misread it somehow 🙂

    I remember before this match I was wondering whether the refs were trying to even out their bias stats before the end of the season… Apparently not 🙂

    Great work as always, ref review team.

  • @mancunian mike

    Indeedy. Chelsea also should have had ?Ramires? sent off before they scored (with the pen, we would have been 2-0 up & Chelsea down to 10) – two appalling studs up challenges, one of which was a straight red for sure.

    Then Sunderland – appalling offside goal for their winner.

    Dodgy also – The Everton goal which won them the game followed on Dzeko being taken right out. Similarly Crouch’s goal for Stoke followed a big push by him on Barry.

    6 or 7 points deducted for sure. And yes, we had to watch on as United got the benefit of 3 appalling penalty decisions (2 none pens awarded to them, one clear pen against them ignored and the player sent off) in three consecutive home games.

    Had these decisions not taken place, we would have had clear blue water between us and United, 6 points or more, I am sure. Never mind, we’re going to ruin Demento’s retirement, and we’re going to revel in it.

  • WalterBroeckx

    For those City fans interested in the Everton game report
    look at the title I would say
    The Chelsea – MC game should be also somewhere but can’t find it for the moment

  • Wayne Gold Coast AU

    very impressive, from a city fan we always knew the refs were biased towards U****d whenever we play them, or anyone for that matter, the ref always has a huge bearing on the result,the question is always do you think we will win? and the answer is depends on the fef, which makes the last day of the season even sweeter, also the reaction of the sunderland and QPR fans shows the all other fans hate them almost as much as we do.

  • rayray

    I’m not one for the conspirorsary theories but towards the back end of the season it got a firm grip on me. The bias from the media to the refs on the pitch was getting painfully obvious to all but those with red tinted, hopefull that we could mess things up specs that the money men didn’t want their cash cow to limp in with the wooden spoon!
    Great bit of research that proves good football beats the spoilers/cheats. Hopefully one day something will get uncovered to expose the anti City theme that we have all witnessed this season and there might be a level playing field for us all now that the rags have been defrocked!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Just a quick not if you comment for the first time: we have to approve it. And as I am going to bed now I don’t know if any moderator is still up. So be patient I would say 😉

    and keep an eye on this site as we will publish the total review of all the reviews we have done. It is about 150 games in total we done like this above.

    It will be interesting I think

  • Mike

    Lee Mason has been City’s worst enemy this last season

  • Mahdain

    @Andy its interesting you should say that cos thats exactly what i was saying here

  • Andy Kelly


    It isn’t an anti-Man City or an anti-Arsenal conspiracy. That would be too big to organise. What it is, is a pro-Man Utd conspiracy.

    Manchester United’s league record under at least 4 referees is unbelievable. If these 4 referees had been in charge of all of United’s games this season they would have broken the Premier League points record and lost a maximum of 1 game.

    The stats for one of these referees show that for the last 11 United games that he refereed they lost none of them. The last 11 City games that he refereed, City WON none of them.

  • Mahdain

    @Mike im sure that he is not as bad as Dean is for Arsenal..the moment i see thats he will be ref’ing our match my blood boils

  • rayray

    I agree with you Andy, it is pro rags which I aluded to in my typical Sky Blue fashion!
    The more your analysis gets noticed, hopefully the more things can change as the Murdoch/rags empire comes crashing down. Another trophy less season next year for them will do me nicely.
    Keep up the good work fellas!!!

  • Asif

    Yes…the British media had already crowened utd as the league winners since they had all the experience and so on and so forth…I bet all of those writers must have saved their eloquent eulogies (in terms of the season) for Rednose to be used next year…but then I think he has already won his last title – his retirement will be ruined! I loved it when he came charging out to wag a finger at Mancini…it just showed how ruffled he was and how awful did they play against City in that game and you wondered how could this team win the league? And, they have been awful for a long time now, thanks to the refrees and things like (which every journalist has a firm belief in) “it all evens out in the end?” How does it? Every defeat or every legitimate penalty/goal disallowed has a demoralising effect on players and it affects the team performance overall.
    Never mind happy to have discovered a new name for Rednose…’Demento’ 🙂

  • I saw Mike Dean very early in his reffing career. I was living in Bristol, and used to go and watch Bristol City (always support a local club, I say, regardless of your origins and true love, so to speak!). Playing Pompey, Lua Lua gets into the box, trips up, with no BCFC defender near him.


    Next season, a repeat of exactly the same type of incident, Dean as ref, another club. Not a popular man down at the Gate.

    That said, he is IMHO one of the better prem refs these days.

    Conspiracies – not really, I just think refs are more easily swayed than they might think. Mike Riley awarded United a penalty at OT in I think eleven out of twelve games that he reffed there.

    The Ferguson/Mancini incident was superb – and showed that Roberto had got to him. I gather that he responded to Salex with “You can fucking well talk”, bless him.

    Demento I first came across in the excellent Arseblog. Not my provenance, but too good not to use.

    More footy in just over five hours. Can’t wait!

  • Zorrin Drax

    Howard Webb is reputed to have a manchester united tattoo. Does anyone know if this is true, or an urban myth?

    It might be one of those untrue Richard Gere / hamster ot Marc Almond / lift / stomach pump stories.

    I suspect its more of a Cliff Richard / off duty sailors / incident at Mile End Tube station 1966/ catheter bag story – true.

  • blue Chaz

    Lee Mason was the worse ref for bias towards Utd and against City last season. It was strange that after he did it again at Old Toilet vrs QPR (I think it was this game) his next two games were City vrs WBA, he was pulled out at the last min due to “family reasons” and his next game was Wolves vrs City and he was pulled again without any explanation, I thought for both of these to happen was weird. Great stats BTW, well done.

  • Blue Moony

    What a great analasis, it really gets you thinking, perhaps we’re not so paranoid after all…
    Well done guys!
    Blue Moony 🙂

  • Big C


    Lots of people claiming refs are in favour of United. None of you bother to mention the game against Newcastle at OT in which the Geordies were awarded a penalty that should clearly have not been given. And then United scored a perfectly valid “winner” late on that was wrongly given offside. If either of those wrong decisions had not happened then United would have won the game. That extra 2 points might have been useful come May.

    But don’t let incidents that go against United get in the way of your little anti-Rag/Manure/Scum theories.

    Oik Grand Master!
  • Big C.

    I think you are referring to the match REF REVIEW: Man U 1 Newcastle 1

    What is interesting is that you should feel it is reasonable, respectful and generally intelligent to write as you have done without bothering to check the review.

    I know you will find this hard to take but here is what we said

    The penalty for Newcastle was wrong because Ferdinand blocked the ball and didn’t really stick out a leg towards Ben Arfa.

    But it is not the fact that we wrote this on the site ages ago, it is just that you feel it is reasonable to be abusive to such a degree without actually spending a moment to check the Refs index (which is clearly labelled on the site) and check. This really does suggest a level of intellect so low that it probably does not register on the IQ scale. I would also suggest that your style of writing reveals that if you took a personality test you would fail.

    You are well and truly worthy of the Oik of the Month Award.