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July 2021

How Manchester United influenced referees, year after year after year

By Walter Broeckx

Ever since the day I started the referee reviewing system on Untold a few seasons ago the one thing that came out of most numbers was that we could see a bias in favour of Manchester United.

For years we have been suggesting this was the case, and got it confirmed by our numbers that there is something suspicious in the PL when it comes to referees and Manchester United. We examined, in the course of the seasons, around 400 games in the PL. And two things came back all the time: a certain bias against Arsenal and a certain bias in favour of Manchester United.

Some people didn’t accept what we found. They said that the fact that we found bias against Arsenal was because those of us who started the referee reviews are Arsenal supporters and so the results are biased. Those people ignored the fact that last season the majority of referee reviewers didn’t support Arsenal at all and still the final result of the numbers showed once again a big bias against Arsenal. And a bias in favour of United.

A few weeks ago the first revelations appeared concerning what might have affected the bias in favour of Manchester United.  It involved Halsey talking about himself and the mighty man at Manchester United, and their relationship. And about the fact that they had regular contact on the phone and texted each other.

Now Halsey said that this was about the Clattenburg case. And even if this was from a humane point of view acceptable, it showed up that favours were asked and been given. And as we all know: nothing comes for free. All and everyone has a price.

What Halsey did was illegal; contact between refs and managers is not allowed. And despite a few Manchester United fans coming to this site saying that anyone can have Sir Alex Ferguson’s number (so it was no big deal) it was still illegal.  (Incidentally we then asked them to give us the personal number of Ferguson so we could phone him ourselves but we are still waiting to get a valid phone number).

Obviously, I doubt it that Sir Alex Ferguson will share his personal number around with all and everyone. He will only give it to a select group of people;  his inner circle. And the fact that at least one ref (actually a former ref now) was in that inner circle is something that is unacceptable. And also illegal according to the instructions from the PGMOL.

The silence from the PGMOL apart from reminding the refs that such things are illegal is deafening by the way. I haven’t heard of any investigations being started to check if other refs who are still active had got the number of Sir Alex Ferguson.   If they had they should be thrown out of the PL. But nothing of that kind ever emerges from the PGMOL.   Perhaps they are too busy inventing ridiculous statistics to prove how great the refs in the PL are.

And now we have the next former ref who seemingly is trying to live with his feelings of guilt. Thanks to a link send to me by a reader of Untold (and do send them in as I cannot read everything and do miss some things) I found another article about referees in the Mail Online from the hand of Graham Poll.

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A very interesting article. And one that confirms our suspicion that some unacceptable things have happened in the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson. Things that make me wonder if the ‘Sir’ is still appropriate to use. Because it seems that despite having the title, he surely didn’t have the actions that I would associate with a knight of the realm.

So what did Poll say? Just read it and look for the things I underlined. The words from Poll are written in italics. And just the title is saying more than enough:

Fear not Foy, Moyes isn’t as fearsome as former United boss Fergie

Sir Alex Ferguson’s influence no longer affects referees when officiating Manchester United but it used to and one can’t help but wondering if that has played a small part in the champions’ start to the season.

So here it is a former top ref and world cup referee openly saying that Sir Alex Ferguson did have an influence on referees when they did Manchester United. And he connects this with the poor start they had this season. But what Poll should have said and mention or question is how much it has helped them in the past.

I clearly remember visiting Old Trafford for the first time and was well aware that my life would be made a misery by the home manager if things didn’t go well for his team.

So even before his first visit Graham Poll was well aware that he could be in big trouble if he didn’t give it to Ferguson.

You might remember me saying that refs talk amongst each other on training, courses.  Well it seems that refs knew even before going to Old Trafford that they had to be very, very careful to not do anything that might upset the big boss of English football.

This clearly indicates a regime of fear and this is unacceptable.

Whenever the result was not as Ferguson expected you would be made aware – in no uncertain times.

Oh Mr. Poll please tell us more about that. We would love to find out.

Whether it was not awarding United a penalty, failing to send off an opponent or not allowing enough added time you would get a blast of that infamous ‘hairdryer’ – and yes he really did come into my dressing room and bemoan the lack of added time after a draw with Everton.

So “Fergie time” did exist my dear friends. It was not an invention of disgruntled supporters of other teams. It was known as that even by refs.

That never made me deliberately favour United but sub-consciously who knows what affect those tirades took..

As a ref myself I recognise ‘ref-speak’ when I see it. Not many refs will openly admit: “hey I gave them all they wanted just to be sure I wouldn’t feel the revenge of Sir Alex Ferguson.” You know the revenge that happened to refs who didn’t do it ‘Fergies way’ and saw themselves go from Old Trafford to Northampton the next week. Nothing wrong with Northampton itself of course but PL refs don’t like being banned to lower divisions.

Now the ‘ref speak’ is that Poll is saying that he now accepts that he might have sub-consciously been giving decisions to Manchester United that he wouldn’t give to other teams. Just because of the fear factor that was Sir Alex Ferguson. But when I look around me in the referee world I know that in fact this is him saying: “I know I did it”.

For me as a ref this is an open confession of guilt. When refs talk amongst themselves they will say it in another way than the ‘maybe sub-consciously it affected me’. They will call it more like it is or was. They would admit the fear and frustration they had when they had to give in to the pressure from Ferguson.

David Moyes does not strike that same ‘fear’ into officials and nor do any other current PL managers – so if United did gain an advantage, however unintentionally from the referees’, it’s a level playing field now.

So now the word is completely out. Now the playing field is level. But for all those years of trophy winning Ferguson at United there was no level playing field. Remember Wenger saying in the 2007/2008 season: “I’m not an idiot, I can see what is happening”. This was in a period of time when all referee decisions suddenly went against Arsenal starting from the Dean travesty refereeing at Birmingham. Wenger was not an idiot although the media painted him like one. There was no level playing field.

There was a playing field filled with refs who shivered from fear and tried all they could to not upset the most powerful person in English football.

Graham Poll is using the word ‘unintentionally’ and again I recognise this as a word of ‘ref-speak’. Because even unintentionally giving decisions one way is wrong. And as the refs were well aware of the Ferguson-factor in the PL we don’t have to hide behind such words. No, the refs knew it before the game started. And if you know it before you do it, then you have to come out with it at that moment in time.

A ref should have said in public: Sorry PGMOL, sorry FA, sorry PL but I will not do any games of Manchester United until you give me 100% assurance that there will be no consequences when I make a mistake that doesn’t please Mr. Ferguson. Just like no other manager can have any influence on my career, I don’t want that Mr. Ferguson can influence my career.

But as they all remained silent (in order to not disturb their career) and in a way this is already giving in to the pressure and is an example of cowardly behaviour they all are in fact contribution to the not level playing field we have seen.

So very slowly the word is coming out. Very slowly the truth is being revealed: for many years the PL was no better than world wide wrestling. A big show where some people behind the scenes (and sometimes in the open) influence the outcome of the league.

Is there really a level playing field now Mr. Poll? My main question is: why did it take you so long to come out with this? Was it because even as a retired ref you felt afraid of Sir Alex Ferguson as long as he was in charge at Manchester United? My God, imagine those poor refs that went to Old Trafford. Would they be able to resist him if even Poll now admits he might have not resisted his influence…

The books…

102 comments to How Manchester United influenced referees, year after year after year

  • OJM

    You are so, so paranoid. I have read your ref review before and it is laughable. It is nothing more than your interpretation of what you see, yet you seem to peddle it as some truly unbiased judgement. It isn’t. Get a grip and stop believing the populist line and stop being so bloody paranoid.

    “Boo hoo, poor old Arsenal. It’s not fair. Man Utd cheated their way to the huge amount of trophies they won.” Pffft, yeah right… Loser.

  • OJM

    “a certain bias against Arsenal and a certain bias in favour of Manchester United”

    – This is one of the funniest things I have read and is typical of football fans. Get a flippin’ grip. “Poor old Arsenal. Everyone’s against us”. Yeah, right.

    Are you suggesting United’s success was based on buying referees? If so, you are truly grasping at straws.

    There is nothing more pathetic than this kind of victim mentality.

    8 years and counting … tick, tock, tick, tock …

  • pistolpete

    I think this sums up what 99.9% of football fans thought.

  • Shard

    The mention of 2007-08 season just makes me so angry. And it wasn’t even when we were out of the title race (due to what I thought were refereeing ERRORS) but the final ManU match which they needed to win, refereed by Steve Bennett, that convinced me that the EPL was fixed. And this was when I wanted them to win because I respected them more than Chelsea. (Note the past tense) Some people in England have a hard time believing that their national league is fixed, but that is utterly naive.

    There are signs of a cleanup of sorts in football. The match fixing ring exposed in Singapore might help. Hopefully the CHannel 4 documentary will get a re-run with implications of Ferguson and Bryan Robson being involved with syndicates indulging in buying and selling clubs, and as a corollary, perhaps match fixing.

    Honestly, it is disgusting that English football allowed itself to reach a stage where such a situation could occur. It’s not just Ferguson though. He was merely the face of the corruption. It doesn’t end with him. However, it is a chance to start anew with a cleaner league.

  • Mick

    Fantastic article Walter, well done.
    It is a shame the ref reviews are no longer done because it would have been very interesting to see if this seasons Man U stats are significantly different from previous seasons. If, as a result of Ferguson’s retirement the playing field is indeed now more level does this mean that Arsenal will now receive fairer treatment than previously?
    I have noticed that the media seem to be very reluctant to make very much of the recent revelations from Halsey and now Poll, but can you imagine the furore which would have ensued if it had been Wenger and Arsenal who had been receiving the refs favours rather than seemingly untouchable Sir Fungus. The shit would well and truly have hit the fan!

  • OJM, thank you for your clear and detailed analysis of the statistics in reaching your well-thought through conclusion. That in-depth review will certainly make the whole of football revise its opinions on the way matches have been refereed in recent years.

  • Shard

    First comment in and the word ‘paranoid’ makes an appearance. How predictable was that?

  • Mick

    I wonder which team you support?

  • Jax

    you need to be really careful what you say on public forums now, particularly so since the McAlpine/Bercow judgement. I think you can get away with it if you say “allegedly”

  • OJM

    Tony: Oh, come on. It’s pathetic isn’t it?

    There isn’t just the suggestion something is amiss. There is the plain accusation United cheated their way to trophy after trophy. It is paranoia of the highest order and a truly pathetic thing to see from Arsenal fans.

    I’ve read the ref reviews before and they are not the neutral and unbiased verdict they claim to be. No, they were skewed from the off and were merely one person’s opinion on what they saw. Treating them as though they were statistically sound and neutral is pathetic.

    Tony Attwood – I’ve seen your sort on the internet before. Sarcasm, mixed with what you consider to be clever-sounding polemic designed to put people down, doesn’t make you clever or interesting. I can imagine you sitting back with a smug-faced grin after typing your comment – sorry, there’s nothing to be smug about. You don’t sound clever.

  • Malaysiangooner

    Oh come on, the words from poll and halsey makes it blatantly obvious that SAF’s previous side have been receiving favours from refs. It is as obvious as ashley young is a cheating diver. What more evidence do people need? For SAF to admit himself he is receiving favours?

  • Shard

    There was also this article in the news recently. Apparently, even non league football is vulnerable to match fixing.

  • Shard


    Thanks for the warning, but I don’t think I said anything libelous. And if any of the parties mentioned actually want to take little old me to court over something like this, I think it’ll be fairly illuminating. Allegedly. 🙂

  • Ak

    One word. Slanderous. How can you suggest bias? This implies deliberate intent. Unless you developed a method of reading minds (looney tune) or you have categoric proof of a referee showing bias. And I mean bias. You’re clearly not intelligent enough to distinguish between human error and bias. Furthermore your inability to draw an argument with credibility was shown by the fact you don’t have a comparative variable showing decisions against man utd.

    Furthermore you fail to acknowledge one critical thing, referees calls are in the main subjective and that they indeed are far more qualified to give a decision in a match that either you or I.

    All this article stinks of is a frustrated, immature paranoid child who is incapable of forming an adult argument.

  • GB

    I think your collation of the stats and facts has been brilliant and it does reveal a very worrying scenario. I think you can see the problem that SAF created in other ways as well. How often did he make bad remarks about refs with the F.A saying they would investigate his comments. We all knew it was just for show from the F.A and that they were in reality too scared to sanction him. How often was it just let go?

    Now he has retired look at how hard they are coming down on managers like Holloway now for making remarks. It is as if this is how they always wanted to do it but weren’t able to because they were so scared of SAF that they were not prepared to punish him, and therefore had to show a degree of leniency to other managers as well so as not to look too unbalanced.

    How is it that one man had so much power? Were there actual veiled threats made towards the F.A and PGMOL behind the scenes that made them back of from sanctioning SAF and Utd? This is no longer just some conspiracy theory from jealous non Utd fans. There is now too much that points towards something potentially having been very wrong. The F.A and the PGMOL should be undertaking a full investigation but we know they will not unless extreme public pressure is placed on them.

    The big question is how can you push this further and not just have it on a blog site of one fans group. How can you get this information to be highlighted by other fans on other sites and get it into the mainstream media so that the pressure mounts to a point where the F.A and PGMOL are forced into looking at it further. We all know it is a can of worms that they will hope just fades away and remains only discussed in a very small area of the global media like sites such as this one. How can we get it out into the larger public domain so that everyone is talking about and looking at it?

  • OJM


    – Don’t worry about it. SAF won’t take you to court – he is too busy counting his medals and money, whilst thinking about how he changed the football landscape in this country by being a truly outstanding manager.

    Oh no, sorry – he bought those titles by bribing refs. I forgot.

    Paranoid Goons making excuses for United’s success and there pathetic showing over the last few years.

    Joke club, joke fans.

  • WalterBroeckx

    So OJM, you think it is acceptable that a ref is having chats with SAF in secret? We only know now.

    So OJM you think it is acceptable that refs go with fear to OT to not upset SAF before the game starts?

    You try to divert the attention away from the confessions.

    I think there are some +45.000 decisions waiting for your view on each and every incident and tell us where we were biased. Of course after telling us which team you support and why your view is less biased than ours.

  • OJM

    Yeah, Ashely Young dives but at least our managers don’t claim “I didn’t see it” (a la Wenger). Moyes – and previously Ferguson – have criticised Ashley Young for his diving. I don’t see how any of this is relevant to United’s outstanding success in recent years though. Such poor, poor excuses for your failure and another team’s success is truly pathetic to see.

    If you want to talk about simulation and cheating, check this out:

  • AL

    This is disgusting to say the least. At least Poll should be commended for coming out, albeit 5 years late.

    I did say questions are going to be asked how Moyes is struggling with exactly the same squad Fergie won the league with at a canter only 4 months ago. This admission from Poll will dispel any myth that Fergie was a genius, but expose him for the bully that he was. There’s nothing wrong with Moyes’ style; just that the refs have stopped doing utd any favors.

  • Shard


    So you seriously see nothing wrong with a situation where a referee calls up a PL manager and asks for his help in terms of preventing damage to a fellow colleague’s career? A referee asking for professional favours is not the same thing as having a casual chat. And that it is not allowed under PGMOL rules, and yet no enquiry will be undertaken on this, doesn’t suggest a dereliction of duty to you? Something being amiss?

    All this talk of paranoia, ref reviews not meeting your unmentioned standard of acceptability, Arsenal not having won trophies, is obfuscation. You think it is acceptable for a referee (at least) to break the rules, and request a professional favour on behalf of his colleague from a PL manager? This doesn’t show a red flag of sorts? Espeically when another referee comes out and says ferguson’s influence led to ‘subconscious’ calls in his favour, even before his first match. No. You are a paragon of virtuosity, and Walter is paranoid for showing the facts of the case.

  • OJM


    – Ha, ha. Sorry – I forgot that your fantastic “Ref Review” is the final word and absolute truth of what happens.

    Silly me, thinking it was just one biased man’s opinion…

  • Iyke

    Hey guys, I’m a Nigerian based in Italy. I’ve watched premiership matches for years now. Each time I watch Manchester play I wonder: Do all english referees support United? And Why is Arsenal so much hated? Arsenal appears to be the most hated club in England, and Man United the most loved. I can’t claim that United cheated their way to all the trophies they won but, if the truth is to be said and sincere too – referees has indeed aided Manchester United in great many matches. I cannot single Arsenal out as being at the receiving end of bias officiating, because other teams too were cheated in favor of United. So, there are indeed some elements of truth in this blog!!!

  • nicky

    To say that United merely “influenced” referees during the dictatorship of Ferguson is the height of Walter’s known civility.
    To watch re-runs of games at OT is still an exercise in self torture as the most glaring physical violence by United players is ignored, while the inevitable penalty FOR United is waiting to happen.
    And now you have a moron like OJM suggesting it was all a case of paranoia…..where has the guy been all these years?
    Probably behind one of the goals at WHL.

  • AL

    OJM represents the sort of fan that you’ll find on the BBC or DM websites, no facts or substance to back their argument up, just name calling and .mindless gloating. Very shallow mind.

  • Rob

    Pathetic, if anything the referees are biased against united.

    Chelsea clearly buy referees.

  • daz

    I have heard a similar thing on the radio not long ago there was a analysis of ref performances done and it showed arsenal had more wrong decisions against them than any other team but I think it said Swansea had the most go for them but man u were definitely not far off Swansea

  • Lobster

    This whole thing, it pisses me off.. I wonder how managers like Wenger manage to keep so calm after a thorough fucking week after week after week.. I mean u train hard the whole week only to get this shit, I would go mad, rage at every bad decision and in every press conference that I appear in
    O wait, I’d be banned to the stands for that

    Unless ure good ol Alex, of course

  • blacksheep63

    OJM is right in that the ref reviews are a subjective analysis of decisions made but if he/she were to read a substantial number of them it would become clear that quite a number of clubs ‘appear’ to have been the victims of wrong decision making.
    This, as I have said before, should make all football fans sit up and demand that there is an independent investigation into this. Utd have not (in my opinion) cheated their way to those titles but on occasion it seems they have had some help from the officials. For far too long the old adage has been that bad decisions even themselves out over the season, but they don’t. SAF, Poll et al should react to these recent revelations by calling for an inquiry – after all, if they’ve nothing to hide they’ve nothing to fear eh?

  • WalterBroeckx

    winning by at all costs by all means. Now who was the architect of this ‘winning is all no matter how’- mentality?

    Only now and very slowly we see the real meaning of those words and their implications.

    And no the referee reviews are not the only thing. They are just an attempt to bring in the open what others failed to do.

    What you still are neglecting is two former referees speaking out about how SAF influenced them and more importantly: their decisions on the field.

    But keep ignoring it. I smell a Lance Armstrong effect in football. Only after his successful ‘win at all costs’ career the truth came out.

  • Florian

    Thank you again for this fantastic work Walter. Who knows, maybe Untold’s data played a part in convincing the former Manu boss to step away. I even had the impression that PGMO* were using this kind of data to determine the ref appointments – there were weird balance/imbalance patterns in the win percentages for the teams involved, almost like Mr. Riley wanted to make it difficult to predict which team was the ref going to tilt the match towards. Anyway, keep it up! And no word about the trolls that pollute the screen. Although their stupidity is laughable at times, if not pitiful.

  • Max

    @OJM; @all UA contributors

    The anger threatening to break out, is undermining any attempt at reasoned judgment. I wouldn’t feel able to join a campaign that suggested that Man U bought success; that asserted that SAF was anything other than a great manager; or that referees blatantly and consciously favoured Man U.

    Ferguson did everything he could to achieve every advantage for his team, and that included “leaning” on referees – all experienced managers do it, but he was the master.

    Consequently, it would be hard to doubt the implications by Halsey and Poll, that referees subconsciously copped out of difficult decisions. The penalty count at Old Trafford compared to other grounds otherwise defy statistical analysis.

    Moreover, I suspect that AW, early in his Arsenal career, played the game ineffectually, being a man of integrity, whose moral outrage got up officials’ noses, and may have contributed to a subconscious anti-Arsenal bias on the pitch.

    Finally, I find it rather hubristic to refer to Arsenal as “losers”. In a time of economic retrenchment whilst the Emirates stadium was paid for, we have remained surprisingly stable, and “only finishing in the top four” May prove to be our dip. Who knows what awaits round the corner for Man U, amongst others, as the wheel turns?

  • elkieno

    U found that article and was stunned, but of course Fergie said ‘this is bullshit and I never did anything wrong’, so end of right?
    This is shocking and terrible, for the powers that he to do something would be saying there is something wrong the whole time, so they will do nothing otherwise they admitting corruption of some kind.
    Love to hear how utd fans excuse and sweep it under the carpet.
    Nothing will be done apart from being last lord paranoid.

  • OJM

    No, I’m sorry ‘AL’. You are the type of fan you find on those website. Insecure, paranoid and bleating.

    Show me EVIDENCE that United cheated their way to the huge amount of trophies they have won over the last two decades. You can’t, because there is no evidence. Prove to me that Wenger and Arsenal would have won loads of trophies had it not been for those dastardly referees. You can’t. You are following the popular zeitgeist rather than come to the logical conclusion that Untied have been the best team over the last 20 years.

    Oh, and please don’t cite the ‘Ref Reviews’ on this website as evidence of anything. I have read quite a few of them over the years and they are horribly biased.

    Poor old Arsenal hey? You’re the only team that doesn’t have divers, cheats or ever get a wrong decision in their favour … Oh, wait. I remember Fletcher missing a CL final because of a decision against us at your place. Still, easy to forget those kinds of decisions and remember what you choose to remember, eh?

  • OJM


    I may not agree with everything you have said, but applaud you for being normal and pretty unbiased, unlike the majority on here. Football fans are reactionary and defensive beyond the normal realms. They are passionate and abandon reason. I understand that.

    But like you said “SAF was […] a great manager”. THAT is why United won so many titles under him, not because of some non-existent conspiracy from referees.

    Of course SAF tried his best to get any advantage he could for his side (including criticising referees), but it is disingenuous to suggest Arsene Wenger or his side are a paragon of virtue in this respect.

    I respect Wenger in many ways as a thinker and a football philosopher. He is obviously an insightful and thoughtful man, but that doesn’t make him always right. Her is a man with an opinion, and as such he is fallible and not beyond criticism. I have never seen or heard of any manager criticise football and referees and the powers that be as much as this man. Do I hate him for it or hold it against him? No. He is entitled to his opinion. Would I ever accuse him of anything for it? No.

    Let’s not pretend that Wenger has never increased the pressure on officials though. THAT would be BS.

  • Let falsehood travels for a thousand years, truth only catches up in a matter of seconds! Shameless beings! They have forgotten that he who gains another man’s bread illegally will soon have his mouth filled with gravel! Ojoro people!

  • WalterBroeckx


    The difference is that no ref has ever said that they come with fear to the Arsenal ground. They did travel to OT with fear. And that is completely wrong.

    Make your judgements based on the laws of the game without fear! that is what refereeing should be.

    If the without fear is removed the playing field is no longer a level playing field.

    That is the whole point.

  • gitonga munyi

    i thought i was the only one who saw things that way,coming from a third world country i knew corruption was our preserves but EPL has proved me wrong.

  • elkieno

    *nothibg done apart from being called paranoid.
    OJM: who do you support?
    What do you say about the 2 refs comments?
    Why is no other manager named?
    Why did he say its level playing field now?
    Why did he say fergie would come into refs changing rooms and yell at them?
    Why did halsey say he had to gain his respect?
    Why do you not give a rebuttal to these comments?

  • Mandy Dodd

    As always Walter, saying what needs to be said. Below is what happens to a ref that crossed fergie, just one example of many

    Just a shame the refs boss didn’t come out and publically defend these refs, oh, wait their boss is a known Utd supported and fergie gimp.
    Thanks to these revelations and retiring refs after a fast buck, Utds trophies under fergie will soon come to resemble the winnings of lance Armstrong, it took a while but we all knew what he was up to.
    All of football knows there has been a bias in favour of Utd, and have a pretty good idea why. What we don’t know is why we have suffered the exact reverse, even in the years when we were not really a threat to Utd. Maybe the powere that be know what we are becoming?
    But. When you see things like this, you just know the whole game is bent, and seriously needs cleaning up

  • ClockEndRider

    The answer is simple. Please desist from puerile name calling. Then take the time to look at the match reviews. Then consider the make up of the refereeing panel. Then allow time for this to sink in. Give it real thought. Come back in 48 hours when the blinkers of partiality may have had some time to come off and you have considered what is being said. Visceral reactions add nothing to the argument.

  • y.maisuma m/f

    seven point from six games justify this. for man.united to dominate again they need to find another sir Alex.

  • Shard


    Aah but has Wenger entered a referee’s dressing room (also not allowed) and given referees a ‘hairdryer’? Has Wenger received a call from a referee asking for professional favours? Has Wenger received the equivalent of Fergie time (the BBC did the calculations. Fergie time is statistically proven to exist) Leave aside the qualititative opinions which you pass off as paranoia or jealousy. What about the referee appointments being virtually decided by Ferguson’s complaints. Poll made mention to that too in a previous article, and the EVIDENCE is there to show it.

    There is no denying Ferguson’s qualities as a manager. But if those are overlooked it is because they deserve to be in a situation where rules were bent or broken, with seeming regularity, and where this was and is apparently considered as acceptable. In such a situation, no matter how great Ferguson was as a manager, any extra 5-10% help he received, absolutely takes away from that.

    EVIDENCE is only as good as someone’s ability to compute it. For the record, even the ref reviews are evidence. It can be disputed. But you merely brush it aside as insignificant because you don’t want to agree with it, and have nothing to offer to counter it yourself. There is literally a LOT of evidence out there to suggest that something isn’t right in English football, and also that ManU have generally been beneficiaries of this. But you won’t see it as such because you will dismiss everything as being biased etc.

  • elkieno

    OJM: I see your comment above now. But still its not right.

  • Charlie

    Does OJM sound like someone who watches football, let alone a football fan? Maybe he is just a journalist trainee looking for an article to do. No one here is gonna give u any further evidence on what has bn going on 4 donkey years in d EPL. Use dt cerebrum of urs to dig up sth and prove all d world wrong. Or beg ur big Papa Ferg to say sth.

  • AL

    OJM, you’re exactly the type of fan that I try and avoid by not going on the sites mentioned before. I have no control over who visits this blog, but I have control over who I engage with. Sorry you don’t fit into that bracket, and as such expect no further response from me regarding any of your comments. Thanks.


    It is true that Alex Ferguson used to influence the refs against any Man U opponents and were always biased against Arsenal. If it is not true, what is what happening now to Man U under Moyes? How can a defending champion play like this? It is a very big disgrace!

  • Mjc


    OJM’s comments are a depressing illustration of the reactionary spirit in which the ref reviews alone will be viewed by a broader public, I think.

    What is needed to focus the collective mind is a single, purely objective statistic that shows the power wielded by SAF and how it penetrated the refereeing landscape of the EPL.

    To this end, may I propose that you follow up on the “Northampton Town scenario” that you outlined above.

    Is it possible to take each case where a referee oversaw a MU draw or defeat and then add up how many MU games they were assigned in the proceeding 365 days. This would give an idea if refs who were not keeping SAF happy were indeed being demoted to Northampton Town matches.

    Do the exact same thing for the other top teams, and you might have the beginnings of an EPL calciopoli….

  • Stuart

    I want to re-visit this comment in about 8 years time :

  • Stuart

    The accusations are being suggested by the refs themselves, this article merely highlights them and illustrates how they (coincidentally?) align with the findings of the ref reviews for the last 3 seasons.

    You need to get your head out of the sand, surely even a Utd fan can see Utd won many trophies by more than footballing reasons.

  • Stuart

    Bias can be intended or unintended. Thanks for your comment.

  • bjtgooner

    Walter, an excellent article. The revelations from Poll and Halsey are probably only the tip of the iceberg, there is much more yet to be revealed about the failed Red Nosed horse trader – it may take time but once revelations start there is often a progressive escalation.

    However, Red Nose could not bully the refs on his own – their fear had to stem from the influence Red Nose had on Riley – the same Riley who allowed Rooney’s dive to end the Invincible run.

    The negative bias against Arsenal may be part of the strategy to protect MU against an Arsenal success or it could be due to a dislike of Arsenal by Riley. My money would be on a common interest/strategy from Red Nose and Riley – especially considering the apparent dislike Red Nose had for Wenger. But, if the theory is correct, what is Riley getting out of it?

  • Stuart

    Just seen the Youtube vids you posted. If your claiming biased refereeing doesn’t exist, then what the hell is Mike Riley (now head of the referees) doing here?

  • bjtgooner


    Was Riley set up and photographed in a compromising situation?

  • Stuart

    I know nothing about his fetishes, maybe that is for another blog 😉

  • Al

    OJM is just simple troll.
    thanks Walter for the article.

  • Mahdain

    Excellent and revealing article. Any other country Halsey and Poll words would warrant an investigation but not in England because the PL is full of saints and whiter than white where you have idiots like OJM who just brush aside all the glaring facts and think all the football world is jealous of his beloved club united. Ojm you keep on harping about evidence as if two former referee words who actually know about the ins of the PGMOL are nothing. Then you keep saying the ref reviews are biased and yet you dont give your alternate version which show united are not favoured. United have always been heavily favoured by the refs and that has been universally known but only now that Fungus has retired are we getting the proof of what we have all known so instead of being all gloaty and telling us we are all paranoid better sit back and wait as more and more dirty laundry comes out about how tarnished all those tittles were.

  • Mick

    More exposure for the referee decisions website.
    On Talksport this morning the Referee Decisions website was referred to (for the second Saturday running) with Foy’s overall stats from the 13 matches of his that were reviewed by that site quoted. They were quite appalling! He is in charge of Man U’s game today. Maybe people are beginning to see the light?

  • Pius Chomo

    This OJM must be an adult, complete id-ot! How else can I describe a man so self-righteous and full of himself? A man who, in the face of all the facts, the confessions (even if intended to be veiled) laid bare on the table still argues so blindly!!! Waow!

    There are lots of Man U fans, nice folks really, back here in Africa with whom we often watch and discuss/analyse EPL matches, Man U fans who often went home rather disappointed and highly embarrassed after watching matches involving their darling team, matches Man U would ride on the backs of referees to win. The whole world always saw and so knew about the influence SAF had on refs in the EPL. So, OJM, just swallow your pride and make no more comments. Pleaseee! It is embarrassing, and you should feel embarrassed.

  • Unbelievable belief

    Keep diverting the kernal of the story with your digressions away from the point.
    These are EPL Referees saying this, about Fergie, not Gooners.

    I admire your attempts to defend the indefensible, a career in politics or the media awaits you.

  • Unbelievable belief

    “I’ve seen your sort on the internet before. Sarcasm, mixed with what you consider to be clever-sounding polemic designed to put people down, doesn’t make you clever or interesting. I can imagine you sitting back with a smug-faced grin after typing your comment – sorry, there’s nothing to be smug about. You don’t sound clever.”
    Sauce for the gander too, methinks?

  • Stuart

    Off subject, I wis I had signed this :

  • Unbelievable belief

    Walter & Tony
    Have you looked at this story?
    If the powers that govern football in England don’t care about what is going on, then I would think the likes of Fergie and the PG mob can act with impunity.
    Which they have done.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks for all the comments so far. I must say that I find it strange that people harp on about referee reviews/decisions website.
    I merely pointed at the fact that the results of our findings are roughly what can be expected from the things Halsey and Poll have said in the last weeks.

    Halsey saying he had to “earn the respect of SAF’ and Poll saying he got the hair-dryer from SAF.

    Some people just skip those things said by referees. Those things were not said by Gooners at all. I repeat what they said and point at the findings we have found in doing the reviews.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And one final word about the referee reviews/decisions. We know that refs all over England have been following us when we did this. And we got some compliments (behind the scenes – as it might be bad for refs to come out in the open how they supported what we did) from referees.

    And the biggest compliment in fact came last season when we published our findings. We then got feedback that the refs in the PL themselves and many refs just below the PL were exchanging mails about each report we published. We know they read us. We know they follow us.
    And they could have used the comment section to attack each mistake we attributed to them in an anonymous way. If to take an imaginary example Halsey would have commented on a match review disputing our findings he could have used any name under the sun and any mail address on the internet to say how wrong our reviews were. And when people disagreed with our decisions we always tried to check them again. But it was rather a rare moment when people contested our view on the decisions.

    So if we were that bad….then why would they follow us?

  • Cholwe

    Loosers will always have an excuse to get sympathy.. So does it mean that when Arsenal found themselves on number 3 or 4 on the table, the referees were also favouring other teams who took positions above them? This is total pit latrine publication from a looser!! I bet Liverpool and Chelsea fans have more brains than ass-anals…

  • Pete

    Chain of events.

    1. Statistically, Man Utd have had the better of the decisions over the past few years as has been assessed by referees’ decisions site. The likelihood of this being chance is way beyond any reasonable doubt. Even if the referees decisions reviews are biased slightly the other way (remember, however, that nearly all the reviews were carried out by qualified referees who supported neither of the teams involved – last season at least). If you can not accept this overwhelming evidence of bias then you do not understand probability and statistics!

    It is likely that this bias existed prior to the advent of referees’ decisions – but we can’t prove it (at least without extensive retrospective game assessments).

    Finally, if you remain unconvinced, the stats around red cards and penalties at OT may help. But really these are trivial compared to the deeper evidence.

    I use the term “bias” in the statistical sense – no other meaning implied.

    2. So there is bias. The question then is “Why”? It seems to have been demonstrated – anecdotally from Halsey and Poll – that SAF intimidated referees. But there are plenty of managers who try to intimidate referees – why was SAF more successful? To paraphrase above, I think we need to look more closely at the “Northampton Town” effect. What is the correlation between referees officiating at Man Utd defeats, or unexpected draws, or being on the wrong end of a contentious decision, and that ref not refereeing Man Utd again – particularly at Old Trafford – for an extended period. It feels like there is a statistically valid correlation – but it has not been demonstrated yet. But the work probably isn’t that hard to do – at least compared to the detailed referee reviews!

    3. IF it can be demonstrated, as we suspect, that referees’ careers were adversely affected if they incurred the displeasure of SAF, then why would that be? PL ref appointments are controlled by PGMOL – Mike Riley (and his predecessors). Why would Riley do this? We all like to think that he was biased in favour of Man U (the van Nistelrooy penalties!) when he refereed but I’m not sure that has been statistically proven. So, leaving the theory that he likes Man Utd to one side, what else may have been going on?

    We know that Man Utd are the biggest commercial draw globally – so success for MU is not exactly a disaster for PL…? An area for questions to be asked?

    Finally, some dissenters are implying that this site is implying that cash changing hands was involved (as seen in other countries). I don’t think this is being said at all – there is no evidence for it – but that is not necessarily a requirement to influence referees as per above.


    OJM, Why are you so angry. Anger is depression turned outward. I too would be depressed if my team won titles unfairly. I am old enough to remember during the Cold War how the Soviet Bloc nations won numerous Olympic medals by steroid-aided athletes. Plenty of fair minded athletes were CHEATED out of their rightful medals. Any little edge a team gets can be the difference between winning or not. These refs are coming out voluntarily with admissions of bias, Nobody is holding a gun to their heads. Many people have been saying for years that something was rotten with all the skullduggery involving Man Utd. It’s all coming to light now, My question is where is the British Media and F.A. on this odious affair. I am not holding my breath that something comes out soon. Like the Lance Armstrong affair it might be a dozen years or more before the public knows the full extent of Old Red Nose’s slimy cheating ways. All you Man Utd fans saying where is the proof. All I can say is I never received a speeding ticket, That doesn’t mean I never drove over the speed limit.


    Getting favorable ref decisions for all these years isn’t the luck of rolling the dice or the turn of the card. Once is chance, Twice is happenstance, Three or more is nothing but GODDAMN FUCKING CORRUPTION. The B.P.L. is like a trout out of water for a week, It’s silvery, It’s shiny’ But when you get real close it reeks like rotten dead fish.

  • Fred Tissue

    Jeez, just listen to yourselves, you’re all sounding like scousers with your ridiculous conspiracy theories. Pathetic.

    Ask yourselves this: If all referees were so biased for United, then how come just a few years ago Drogba was allowed a miles-offside goal in a crucial match that ultimately cost United the title by 1 point? And how come Newcastle were given a non-penalty at Old Trafford that ultimately cost United the title on goal difference? And how come the referee sent a United player off at Old Trafford against city that cost the match in that same season? And you can includes any number of decisions in matches against Chelsea in the Abramovich era.

    Surely if referees were so biased then they would know not to give such season-changing decisions in such big matches against United?

    You see, when you look at the decisions that are often given against United in such big matches as these, instead of taking the hear-say of one individual such as Poll (who may have an axe to grind), then your theories don’t really stack up.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Pete your number 3 needs some more examination also.
    Head of the PGMOL has changed 3 times I think in the last 10 years. So we have to ask what did the PL have to win if MU would have won as they did? Global dominance?
    What would people do to get global dominance? Some would do all they can and maybe even what isn’t completely legal to get a bigger audience than the Spanish league or Bundesliga.

    Just imagine if there would be a person near the top of the PL who not only knows the ins and outs of the media world but who also has been a ref and who knows how things work in the ref world…. Is there any such person?

  • Stuart

    On the subject of referee decisions, I find it hard to understand when people during and immediately after a game, will talk about whether the ref was one sided but are incapable of looking at all of these events collectively. It’s as though they have a form of amnesia that only takes effect once the next game kicks off.

  • Stuart

    I get the feeling from your 4.37pm comment, that you you are already aware of such a ref and will be revealing I go soon?

  • OMGArsenal

    It is a significant leap from saying that officials were intimidated and pressured to give more favourable treatment to a certain team, because of a manager’s fearsome reputation and to say that this gave them the base from which to win 20 titles. However, everyone who believes this is fact missing the really important issue, including OJM, who clearly supports that team:

    1)If the PGMOL prohibits any contact with managers (which their regulations clearly state) and if we believe that to be a reasonable restriction (as most rational people do), then consistently ignoring the application of this rule is a serious threat to the integrity of the PGMOL and its officials.
    2)OJM…your unjust criticism of Walter’s exceptionally difficult referee performance analyses is ridiculous. Walter is an experienced official, which clearly you are not, he uses a team of non-Arsenal supporting officials to review matches, and simply because such a review appears on UA is not proof that they are biased. There are other websites that review officials performances as well, and they regularly support Walter’s conclusions. You should be asking why the FA and the EPL or an independent review body aren’t doing what Walter is!
    3)If officials are being influenced, even marginally, by a manager or managers in the EPL, then this is a fatal breach of the Code of Conduct every official is morally and ethically obligated to respect. It is clearly defined in the FIFA Laws of the Game and is best summed up in the words of Sir Stanley Rous: ¨A referee’s principle duty is to be firm but fair when officiating.¨ How can an official be fair if he or she is intimidated and manipulated by a manager’s threat or reputation?
    4)Teams succeed or fail based on their on-field performances and nothing else is as important BUT if a team cannot get equitable treatment because officials are trying to avoid upsetting the opposition manager, this is a serious prejudice and could affect their performance and attitude, when they know that the deck may be already stacked against them.
    5)The general tone of recent events dealing with corruption, influence-peddling and mafia-like organizations involving themselves in match-fixing is the real issue here. As a retired national referee, I can state categorically that officials, because of their anonymity and sequestered existence, are prime targets for these people. IMHO 99.9% of officials successfully resist such temptations but those who are ensnared have and still do enormous damage to the Beautiful Game. Everyone, including OJM, should be far more concerned with the encroachment of nefarious forces on the Game than whether their particular team suffered because of poor officiating!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Off topic, but Everton lost, so Happy Invincibles Day!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Stuart… 😉 I might.

    But as I have heard that this person is someone who likes to go to court one has to be very careful.

  • gouresh

    Walter: we always knew something was not right and refs coming out and giving snipets does make you wonder. There will always be people like OJM who would phoo phoo whatever data is put forward but that is understandable as he supports many. But my question is why is there fear? How come red nose can get way by screaming at the refs in their changing rooms. What’s happening behind the scenes. Can any1 shed some light?

  • Gf60

    I just saw this on the ArsenalSA site ( Quite relevant given this topic!

    Manchester United’s dressing room minutes before kick off in the derby;

    “Right I want 110% effort from the word go against this blue shit. Remember the bastards did us on the anniversary of Munich. If you don’t win, those cockney buggers at Chelsea will have 6 points on us. Now I don’t care if you kick, punch or head-butt your way to victory, you must win this. Good luck.”

    Then Sir Alex walks in and says, “Thanks ref, I’ll take it from here.”

  • para

    Quote from gouresh: How come red nose can get way by screaming at the refs in their changing rooms. What’s happening behind the scenes. Can any1 shed some light?
    As far as i have seen it has to do with stepping up to the “Sir” title, this is tantamount to joining the “old boys club” and their influence is not only in football, but in every aspect of life.
    You can lose in a big way if you “upset” many of the “old boys” because of their influence and power, not individually but collectively. If an old boy asks another old boy in a position to hurt you, than it usually is done, this is the reality of the way society is run.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Walter, have an idea who this person may be, but will not mention such a name on here! Would he be a bit of an attack dog type figure?


    Fred Tissue Brain, You bring up three incidents that didn’t go your teams way. Three whole decisions, Wow that is unbelievable. In over 15 years you are saying you guys got screwed three times. You have my complete and utter sympathy. You are a motherfucking simpleton if you truly believe that drivel coming out of your mouth. Your name should be Fred Toilet Tissue cause you have shit for brains. If you really think your team doesn’t get ninety five percent favorable decisions from these cheating refs, You must have been drinking that Man Utd koolaid for a very long time you fucking ass-wipe.

  • Tom

    A lot can be said about a manager by the way he shakes his opponent’s hand ,especially after a tough loss .And without being overly simplistic a firm handshake while maintaining eye contact is usually a sign of strong character , integrity and honesty.

    There are two managers in the Premier League, who have over the years exemplified this sort if conduct. One of them is Roberto Martinez formerly of Wigan ,who rarely complains about referees and takes adversity in stride. This is what he had to say after Wigan 4-0 loss at OT in September 2012.

    “In many ways you feel as though you are fighting against a mountain” , he also added

    “It was clear from the opening minutes that the referee wasn’t going to measure both teams the same way”.

    He also said Danny Welbeck had dived to win a penalty , and Welbeck and Scholes should’ve been send off for tackles.
    Martinez was promptly fined 10K by the league .

    Important to note – Martinez has never made comments like those before or since and I’m not aware that he is a closeted Arsenal fan.

    The other one is David Moyes who was replaced by Roberto Martinez at Everton and who himself took over for the biggest bully the Premier League has ever seen.
    To say that the things that went on the sidelines at OT were just normal occurrences taking place at every stadium is disingenuous at best.

    Things like SAF laughing it up with the fourth official ( when calls went his way)while waiting for a final whistle ,or public barrage of expletives directed at the match referee ( when calls didn’t go his way) while the fourth official stood by shell shocked and did nothing, weren’t just harmless examples of ” special experience ” at OT as some in the media had described it but rather examples of special treatment afforded to SAF by the PGMOL.

    Certain lines had been crossed that should’ve , on the field and apparently off the field , with the revelations of phone calls made between an active referee and SAF himself that cast a shadow on integrity of the Premier League.

    Regardless whether the rules were broken or not , I’m not expecting any investigations to be initiated any time soon . Premier League is a money making machine and it’s not in any one’s interest to rock the boat and jeopardize the profitability of its product, which in turn might hurt every club’s bottom line.

  • Florian

    Off-topic, just endured the pain to watch a ManU game, during which Vidic pushed Altidore so he couldn’t take the header, and the ref did nothing. It was 85′ or thereabouts. Old habits die hard. Applies to both sides of the whistle.

  • jambug

    Graham poll was on Hawksby and Jacobs a couple of weeks ago. They got on to the topic of Halsey and his accusations.

    I posted on here regarding that very debate. I cant remember exactly now what was said but it went something like this.

    Poll with H and J in total agreement: “….I believe our referees are the best in the World……”

    H with J and Poll in agreement: “….I don’t believe for one second that our refs are anything other than totally impartial….”

    It Begs the quistion, if poll had this info up his sleeve why did he just sit there and lap up the Fergie, United love in that is Talkshite? Just shows you…if your on Talkshite you tow the talkshite line, or thats your little earner out the window !!!

    I mean, how can a radio station thats so obviously biased towards Man Utd possibly critise refs for showing the same bias and favouritism to the same team ???

    Same goes for the SUN.

    Brian Read: He said about Halsey something along the lines of “…why doesn’t the little snake crawl back under the rock from whence he came…” or something like that.

    Woe betide he’d be outraged and feel it needed a little further thought and perhaps even investigative journalism.

    Nope dismissed out of hand.

    I am behind the quest to ‘out’ United as cheats, because thats what they, but with so many on the pay roll in the media (well it seems that way) we have no hope.

    Another dose of how United get treated on SKY tonight.

    They get yet ANOTHER player, JANUZAT, booked for diving (good job Fergie and moyes keep telling them to stop isn’t it OJM !!) and this is what we get……..

    Firstly, theres hardly a word of critisism when he did dive, but worse was to come when he scored. I quote “getting booked like that for diving then scoring shows great mental strength”

    my god, yet again they turn a United player getting booked for diving into a POSITIVE.

    They did it with Young by somehow turning the week following his LATEST dive into some kind of Moyes/Utd crusade to eliminate diving from the game !!

    When Pires dived it turned into a WHOLE CAREER of comdemnation.

    Yet you still get the likes of OJM trying to infer Utd get a BAD deal from refs.

  • jambug

    Talking statistics.

    A practical demonstration of bias and what even a little favouritism can do.

    A) 100 Metres sprint: 1% bias gives you a one Metre margin of victory. That is a BIG gap.

    B) 1600 Meters: 1% bias gives you a winning margin of 16 Metres. Thats a Big Big gap.

    C) 5 Furlong horse race: If your moneys up against a nag thats been doped, just a little. Well, a 1% advantage means your moneys down the drown to the extent of about 2 lengths. Not even close.

    But this is where it gets interesting because as we all know a football season is a marathon not a sprint.

    D) The Grand national: If you’re up against that 1% in this slog then I’m afraid you are in big trouble because you’ve hardly even got to the elbow and your moneys been done !

    E) A Marathon: Well if you can nick that 1% in this you can really leave them in your wake. By over 400 Metres. I think you’ll find the oppositions not even entered the Stadium.

    So don’t even start to try and trivialise just how much difference these little things make. What makes it worse is when you look at the stats, the bias shown there is often well OVER 1% and as I hope I demonstrated above even just a 1% swing is a MASSIVE advantage taken over a season.

  • jambug

    If all these reverlations where about Wenger it would be all over the Scum, Talkshite, the Mail etc. Christ knows what SKY would of made of it. A week long series of programes looking into the ‘scandalous revalations’ no doubt.

    But what do we get because it’s Fergie?

    All I know is there’s more shit under the carpet than on it !!!

  • Unbelievable belief

    Some shockers today in the PL from the refs and assistants.
    Why bother playing the games, we might as well buy scratch cards.

  • Unbelievable belief

    Offside decisions have been generally good,

    But two footed challenges have been let go.
    Even Arsenal could have been given a few reds.

  • Malaysiangooner


    Then why do we got screwed over by taylor, when we have a certain sir chips keswick as chairman?

  • Doanythingformoney

    If chicanery like all this occurred in racing and other ‘gambling’ sports there would be Jockey Club inquiries (or the equivalents) followed by criminal processes. The Press and Media would pounce on it and ravish it endlessly. It would run for years.
    ‘Refgate’ would make Watergate look like a leak from a playground puddle. The truth would come out and there would be many unhappy bunnies in the dock.
    We need a ‘Refgate Guru’ to start the ball rolling and root out all corruption. I nominate Walter. come on you foreign journos- get in and give a hand.

  • WalterBroeckx

    maybe because some sirs are really Sirs?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Take your point about sirs Walter, know he is not a sir but do you think dein could have done anything? He always backed us in the corridors of power, some would say to a fault. Ivan is now pretty powerful as well. Will all this go away with fergie, or are there still vested interests in Utd?

  • Malaysiangooner

    Sorry but i’m confused? What do you mean by really Sirs? Is there fake Sirs?

  • Obsever


    Walter is alluding to the character of the individual – those who really deserve the “sir” title display the sort of character that is above and beyond the sort of things, that are the other “sir” is alluded to demonstrate.

    Hence, a real “sir” would display that character you would expect from that title.

    Some might have claimed the title despite not being so deserving – hence the analogy of the Lance Armstrong argument etc.

  • Malaysiangooner

    Right. Got it now. Thank you

  • Hassan

    Man utd are d biggest match fixers in Europe. FA is bias too. I prefer the Italian n German league. They are pure and matured. Fuck FA n EPL. No fair play in England.
    Man utd, finding it difficult to win. Ashley should be shot for diving again.
    FA should start deducting points for cheats.
    FA is in competent. So annoying and 100% bias. They will never host any international competition.
    Clueless FA.
    Ferguson should be jailed

  • TommieGun


    Following Jax’s comment and the contents of this post, it would really be advisable to be more careful when expressing opinions which are not factually founded, that imply to illegal conduct of others. Shard – not just for you, but for Walter and Untold as well. The cost of “allegedly” is meager…

  • AL

    I say that Channel 4 documentary must be re-run, it’s in the public’s interests.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Walter – Thanks for this article. I wondered if you would write on this topic when I first heard about the Halsey book.

    I noticed a few years ago the Ferguson/Man U manipulation of the league and it almost wore me down to my last nerve. 2009 comes to mind straight away, as it was a year that for whatever reason, I watched a lot football matches besides Arsenal’s in the premiership and I really noticed how obvious the margins were being fudged. In Man U games I noticed that their players were very menacing and aggressive towards the ref’s and challenged the official on just about every decision. Some of which the broadcasters picked up on it, but quite a lot wasn’t shown.

    I don’t remember many Man U players being yellow carded for their behavior, but opposition teams never seemed to get the 50-50 calls in their favour, so the intimidation obviously worked and therefore continued. I remember there being a lot of penalty awards, many dubious and I was shocked by how the manipulation of the League had become an open secret.

    After games commentators danced around Ferguson, not asking difficult or awkward questions about games where his team was second best until a favourable decision turned it around for them. He often though of his own volition would denigrate a ref who didn’t give him a helping hand.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Jambug,10:38pm – I totally agree with you.

    There are so many ‘little’ things that can shade things in ones favour. On their own they are not insurmountable, but they can really skewer a situation or circumstances when added together.

    Below are a few things, but I am sure there is much, much more:-

    *The Ferguson/Man U close relationship with the head of the referee’s

    *The influence over the ref selected for the Man U games.

    *The oversight and imput into the league fixture list.

    *The influence over Skysports TV timetable, other teams found themselves sometimes playing every two days with
    little rest and recovery, Man U – rarely.

    *The relationship Ferguson held with other managers. It was remarkable how inhibited teams were against Man U and poor performances were almost shrugged off by opposition managers. Maybe the the pro’s outweighed the con’s (the invitation to his regional dinners, FA organised training sessions for players and coaches, after match drinks, loaning of players and outspoken moral support in the press of a manager.

    *The influential and very chummy friendship between Richard Scudamore and Man U over the years. Scudamore by the way is not a David Dein fan and by extention over the years, Arsenal.

    *And finally the very senior role David Gill had within the FA whilst also Man U CEO. How there could not of been a conflict of interests, is beyond me.

  • Goona Gal

    When you really reflect on the environment to which Arsenal have had to operate in, the club & manager deserve respect. Even more when you factor in agents and player betrayals.

  • I have a bitter memory of fergie berating a youth game ref in merseyside, screaming ‘you will never ref again’.That was 15 years ago , the lad has NEVER reffed again…..COINCIDENCE ??
    you decide !

  • Cheating Manc Scum

    Surprise, surprise. Well it isn’t really is ? Yernited gifted three points week after week, year after year. They should be stripped of their titles and demoted !