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Refs Keen To Show Their Courage Against United

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.

Date:Monday November 9 2009
Time: 2:24PM


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
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!
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
09/11/2009 15:19:00
*how many offside calls do linesmen get wrong per weekend
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.
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
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
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
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
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
09/11/2009 17:52:00
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