Manchester United - Refs Keen To Show Their Courage Against United
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Refs Keen To Show Their Courage Against United

For once, the world sees things as they happened: most independent observers agree that United should never have lost at Stamford Bridge and even acknowledge the contribution of Martin Atkinson, the referee who strongly influenced the result with several dubious calls.

Of course Rooney wasn't offside when he was sent clear by Anderson - Ashley Cole played him on. Of course Terry pulled Valencia to the ground (to be fair, we can't really blame Atkinson for that, it would have been his assistant's job to spot that) which should have resulted in a penalty and Chelsea's goal should never have stood: Fletcher won the ball fairly before the free-kick, Drogba pulled Brown to the ground and he was offside and interfering with play.

So the referee played a very big part in Chelsea's victory and I'm afraid it's not surprising, not after what happened against Sunderland and Liverpool where we witnessed similarly disgraceful refereeing performances. The reasons look quite clear to me: it can be traced back to Owen's 96th minute winner over City.

While that moment was just about priceless, we look set to pay a huge price for it anyway. The subsequent storm over the completely legitimate amount of injury time put awful pressure on referees: giving United any decisions would result in further, even more embarassing scrutiny and nobody knows it better than Martin Atkinson who allowed that game to continue until 97 minutes were gone.

And Atkinson was in no mood to be the target of the nation again: he knows, as all referees do, that the safest things to do is calling the decisions against Manchester United. After all, what are the consequences? A bitter rant from Fergie? But that will only result in our manager getting crucified, as it was demonstrated several times in the last few weeks. That just about takes the pressure of the ref while giving United anything can do a lot of harm to their careers - just remember that, after the Spurs game in April, there was talk about demoting Howard Webb after daring to award what had looked like a stonewall penalty at first!

So referees, maybe not even consciously (although that is unlikely in my opinion), are keen to show that they are not intimidated by Sir Alex and there's only one way to do that: the Atkinson way, as seen at Stamford Bridge yesterday. Or we could call it the Marriner way, after a similarly one-sided refereeing performance at Anfield. In a way, this is Fergie's fault, too: his criticism of Alan Wiley was totally justified (he did take an awful lot of time at every booking and he did not give a second to the minimum amount of added time, despite a goal and Sunderland's best efforts of timewasting and of course he should have awarded a penalty for Reid's handball) he should have expected the wrath they were always going to incur.

I guess this season will be like this but we must take heart from the team's excellent performance. We outplayed Chelsea at their own backyard and though they registered an important and totally undeserved win, we have a few reasons to be cautiously optimistic about our chances.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 9 2009

Time: 2:24PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Title held promise for a thoughtful and interesting article but it seems that was all there was, a title. Manure are all crying because for the first season in their history, somebody forgot to pay the refs! I blame Phelan, he's been spending all the money on wigs but hasn't got the balls to wear any of them. "totally undeserved win" - minimial advantage in possession stats, 6 Shots on Target to your 2 and corners mean nothing especially as one of them wasn't even a corner. You came up against a proud Blues team yesterday, your newly formed thug duo of Evans and Fletcher couldn't even sway the ref this time. Martin Atkinson? Fergie sign him up, Fergie, Fergie sign him up! CAREFREE
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09/11/2009 15:05:00

While you list the atrocities of the referee remember the kung-fu tackle by outplayed a team whose goalkeeper only made two saves?you must be kidding!
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09/11/2009 15:11:00

The Rooney decision was onside, granted, but you can't actually put any blame for that on Atkinson, and how many offside calls do linesmen get per weekend? A good handful. You were just unlucky that one went against you this time. Fletcher's tackle on A.Cole looked like a foul to me first time round, so I wouldn't be too harsh on the ref for that one either. Drogba's barely touching Wes Brown, certainly not enough for him to go sprawling to the deck, and the JT/Valencia tussle could have gone either way. Stop getting your knickers in a twist, folks. We suffered a far more unjust refereeing performance from Mr Ovrebo last season, not even on the same scale, and you were all happy to delight in that. Now it's payback time, me thinks. Five point gap, thank you very much! CAREFREE
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09/11/2009 15:19:00

*how many offside calls do linesmen get wrong per weekend
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09/11/2009 15:22:00

Yes, that's right. Martin Atkinson had a shocker. However, if you lot were a little grown up, you might have had the good grace to recognise that he had a shocker all around, failing to give decisions in Chelsea's favour also. The worst tackle in the game was Johnny Evans kicking Didier Drogba in the chest, a straight red. I don't hear you talking about that. Bad losers. It's the Siralex way: 'look concorde' he says about the fact that you managed 2 shots on target and failed to defend properly a set piece.
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09/11/2009 15:35:00

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND. For years you have played with 12 men so i know this seems like a culture shock when finally games are refereed in the right fashion and not the utd fashion. That being said i do think what happened to you yesterday was slightly bollox
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09/11/2009 15:59:00

How many people now have said we have played with 12-men just to get embarrased by alist of numerous occassions in which we were perhap, if you will, robbed. Keep your mouth shut jljyid because you might just end up looking stupid. I've thought for a long time now technology needs to brought into the game, its too big and competitive for 'human error' we all know and have been on the receiving end of human error and know what the price of it can be.
One United 92
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09/11/2009 16:11:00

Firstly no i wont keep my mouth shut, secondly if you cant see how many bollox decisions you guys get then you truly are blinkered, get over yourself one utd u plank. i gave my opinion if you dont like it dont read it, and definatley dont comment on it you idiot. As stated i thought you were unlucky yesterday but you one tard united have reminded me why i despise your clubs fans (most of them) pure arrogance. get over yourself
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09/11/2009 16:40:00

i apologise to the fans of UTD that are well educated on the world of football but plonkers like that do my ed in and im sure there will be more to come when hes finished his homework
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09/11/2009 17:02:00

do your 'ed' in do I? And you say im uneducated, hypocrite. Whats with the language issues? Mummy don't let you swear? I've finished my homework so now whatelse have you got for me mummys boy?
One United 92
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09/11/2009 17:52:00

what else*
One United 92
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09/11/2009 17:53:00

Oh and for everyone reading, we've got a sore yid here, he appears to be illiterate so please reframe from using big words. He has got anger among other issues so dont mention the t-h-r-e-e-...o-n-e...s-c-o-r-e-l-i-n-e (had to break it up so he couldn't read it and get angry and swear)
One United 92
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09/11/2009 17:56:00

thats a genuinley good post one united. made me smile and im not being sarcastic. yes i think i got out of the wrong side of bed this morning. i distinctly remember agreeing with yourself on our website a few days back so we have something in common. illiterate hmm ''anger among other issues'' excellent use of the english language. Enough banter my point still stands UTD get (or used to atleast) the decisions the way they want, if you cannot see it i stand by my ''your blinkered'' point
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09/11/2009 19:02:00

wow, one united 92, you're the coolest. you are still blatantly moving the discussion away from evans horror tackle. maybe you guys are just worried that ickle rooney is gonna join his best friend ("ooh, football friend") Chrissy in Spain.
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09/11/2009 19:09:00

again i have spotted a hole in your last post one utd ''please reframe'' reframe what a picture? i believe the phrase is please refrain.
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09/11/2009 19:22:00

Hell will freeze over before a manure fan will accept a defeat with good grace. And if you think anyone will say a bad word about Evans doing a Bruce Lee on Drogba (and Drogba got booked! come on rags, tell me how that works?) then you really don't know the rags. Fergie goes on a rant against refs yet again, Wayne Rooney mouths "12 men" at the camera, etc. etc. Yet the rags fans moan about how they were robbed. Quite amusing!
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09/11/2009 19:29:00

Hey - I get it now. Evans was merely tring to remove the poppy from Drogba's shirt as he was jealous that the united kit man didn't provide him with one. That explains everything
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09/11/2009 19:32:00

come one one utd surely youre not afraid of a ''sore yid'' and a couple of blue boys are you?
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09/11/2009 20:16:00

I dont get why people get angry when United fans cant lose. It is really funny to observe their behaviour with constant complaining, blaming the ref etc. Just put a smile on your faces and watch them ridicule themselves xD Zae, you wrote what I expected from your, nonsense as usually xD
german blues brother
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09/11/2009 21:32:00

Something to wind up the ones with low IQ : you`re 3rd below Arsenal xhahahaha
german blues brother
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09/11/2009 21:42:00

Evans won the ball first I believe the first kick was accidental the second one was on purpose. Drogbas reaction was Over The Top to say the least, I've unfortunately witnessed someone have a heart attack and they did not react the way that cu*t Drogba did.
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09/11/2009 23:11:00

How about you let me kick you on the chest and tell me how's it like NRD? You don't actually think Drogba was trying to simulate a heart attack do you?! haha!! It's just a reaction to pain, simple as that. And also your post proves you are either blind or ridiculously biased. That Karate kick was not on purpose?! then your mama is not a woman.
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10/11/2009 00:33:00

Drogba did get what he deserved. At no point was he trying to play the ball (which if you hadn't noticed Evans had already won) he was blatantly trying to stop Evans from getting there and got found out his reaction was pathetic and a major overreaction the way he was shaking his legs. Classless ****.
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10/11/2009 01:39:00

NRD relax they guy is obviously an internet hero don't get so worked up about it. But on a football note to be honest united really do get a lot of decisions go their way but i hardly doubt they would ever have affected the outcome of all the titles we have won because united outplay teams every week and ALMOST always deserve the results they obtain and no one can deny this because they have played easily the best football of all teams in the league for the past four years. About the Drogba incident it really was a bad error from the referee in not booking Evans but Chelsea supporters really must understand that all fans are looking at it from a different perspective. We all find it, though this does sound bad, hilarious because Drogba is a notorious diver I'm sure had Ronaldo ever been booked in a similar incident all Chelsea fans would be laughing their asses off.
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10/11/2009 07:11:00

For years, you have had the cut of the grass, and now the tide is slowly turning. Now that it is happening to you, maybe you can understand how everyone else has felt for so long. It matters not a jot, as to whether some decisions went aganst you or not, the fact is, the game stands as it ends. ---- As for Evans, it was an awful, awful tackle, but to admit that 'Drogba deserved it', is quite unbelievable, and crass of the highest order.
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10/11/2009 11:48:00

Just wanted to gauge United opinion on ending Sunday's match with a strikeforce containing two Scousers?!
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10/11/2009 14:48:00

Not a good idea to point that out, doesn't sit well with their anti-scouse sensibilities.
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10/11/2009 16:06:00

NotoriousRedDevil - If Evans hadn't put his studs into drogba's chest, Drogba was clear on goal with only Van Der Sar to beat. You lot have gone mad after the realization that after winning the title 3 year running, this is NOT your year. This is Chelsea's year, and that just makes u fume doesn't it. You'll even go to the extent of trying to convince yourselves that you dominated the match when all important statistics point to Chelsea being the better side...It's just sad really...
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10/11/2009 18:48:00

oh! change the feckin record! All the help you get off refs and you still moan on and on..........
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10/11/2009 20:34:00

Clear on goal with what a one on one sprint the ball had already been played and the fairy drogmother was nowhere near it. I even said at the start of the year that I doubt we would win it this year purely on the basis that no team has won it 4 in a row. So what the point u tryin to make chelskipride. You're a club that can talk such short memories weren't that long ago you used to moan (and still do) about everything that don't go your way under Mourinho & more recently the Barcelona game ;-). All that money you got of took off that big russian crook NEVER win 3 in a row.
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10/11/2009 22:05:00

NRD, clearly you are deluded. Yes, a utterly deluded freak. Go home and cry over your dollies punk.
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12/11/2009 08:30:00

Interesting to hear a United fan speak about us moaning (When there is a reason to), when they and their team moan at every decision that goes against them. Pathetic, worthy of tearful girls.
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12/11/2009 08:31:00

"Fletcher won the ball fairly before the free-kick, Drogba pulled Brown to the ground and he was offside and interfering with play. " God, you lot mad?Fletcher fouled Cole. It does not matter if you won the ball, lifting him up 3 feet in the air with a malaicious tackle warrants a free kick. During the game, HOW many freekicks like that went against us, I lost count. ONE went against you and we made it count. Drogba was NOT offside. SEE the damn replays again. Brown went down too easily. SEE the damn replays again. He lost Drogs, so he went down, which the ref correctly adjudged in Drogs's favour. And any excuses for your defending? Lampard, Terry and Anelka rose UNCHALLENGED for that ball. Again, poor united play and you fans and your idiotic manager warm your hearts by blaming the referee, the opponent players, the linesman, the bird that flew overhead, the sun, the moon. Oh my God, what absolute idiots you lot are.
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12/11/2009 08:36:00

Did any one of you even see the match? Or did you watch MuTV for their opinions and come and post here? By the look of things, looks loke the latter.
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12/11/2009 08:37:00

Why do you keep forgetting to cancel your subscription? Seem to know an awful lot about it.
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12/11/2009 17:48:00


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