Manchester United were branded the “luckiest team in the league” in a recent poll announced a few weeks back. Whilst I will definitely admit we’ve had our share of good luck over the years, the pot has definitely been drying up in recent times, with referees too gutless to give the right decision for fear of becoming another statistic which proves what they all say. The fact that their wages are paid by the FA, who notoriously have different, less lenient rules for our players, is forgotten.
When I returned home to catch the last minute or two of the Merseyside derby on the radio, after watching the first half in the pub, I was frustrated. You always want to see the dippers drop points, even if they are already beneath us in the league. So to hear that they got a penalty in the dying moment because of a Phil Neville handball did not leave me best pleased.
As the commentators ran through the events of the game, and I read a couple of write ups online, I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. It appeared as though Kuyt should have walked in the second half for a two footed challenge a couple of feet off the ground. P Neville’s career is in tact thanks to his ability to out jump the dirty Dutch striker. It also appeared as though Liverpool’s first penalty was a bit soft. I also read that the referee had taken out a yellow card for the defender, only to change his mind to a red after a few strong words from Gerrard. It also appeared as though Everton had two good penalty shouts turned down. Surely this couldn’t be right?
Then lo and behold, I watch Match of the Day, and I see all these events for myself, and watch on in disbelief. I saw Hyypia’s own goal and again laughed at the sheer stupidity shown when trying to clear a ball with his right foot which could have been hooked away easily with his left. The ball rifled in to the top corner, with Reina standing no chance.
Then I see the penalty, and on first viewing, looked like a good penalty shout. Gerrard sprinted down the park and was always going to be first to the ball. However, when the replay is shown, you can see both players pulling on each other’s shirts. As Gerrard approaches the area, he’s looking off balance, and contact from the defender’s leg is enough to send Gerrard flying. In true Gerrard fashion, he splays out both legs, falling on his face, and instantly turning to the referee. Of course, whilst it is so wrong and so highly publicised when a United player claims for a penalty, with United being turned down two blatant penalty calls against Chelsea and Wigan in recent weeks, nothing is said about Gerrard. Not so big and fucking hard now are you, throwing yourself to the ground and kicking your legs out like a little school girl.
Then what happens next beggars belief! Gerrard gets up, sees the ref with a yellow card in hand, and says something which changes his mind. Instantly, the referee puts the yellow card away and gets out a red card. How a referee can change his mind on a decision based on the say so of a player is as ludicrous as it is corrupt. Everton go down to ten men, and Liverpool are back on even terms as Kuyt finds the back of the net. It appears as though England are lucky to have a captain and vice captain who are both so eager to tell referees what to do. If Terry isn’t trying to rip red cards out of referees hands and going unpunished, Gerrard is demanding red cards are given. When a slimy foreigner signals for the referee to do just that, doesn’t the press rip them apart? What did Gerrard say about the Portugese players who were calling for the ref to send off Rooney? That players like them were “damaging football”? Is there no end to his hypocrisy? Don’t the commentators bang on about how unsportsmanlike it is? But I suppose we’re past the point of demanding sportsmanship from a player who dives, berates referees and fouls as freely as Gerrard.
Lescott, who was shockingly poor for England midweek, should have won two penalties, both far stronger claims than the penalty Gerrard earned. The first shout was due to Finnan, who held both of Lescott’s arms behind his back, as he pulled him away from the ball. The ref didn’t bat an eyelid. In the dying seconds, after Liverpool had been awarded a second penalty, which Kuyt, who shouldn’t have still been on the field, scored, Everton were denied the most blatant penalty shout you will ever see. Scouse Carragher, who wasn’t showing enough passion to be subbed off like Gerrard, threw Lescott to the ground. Astonishgly, Carragher claimed that the contender for the most blatant penalty of the year, was in fact not a penalty. Between this and Rafa’s claims of Lescott diving, the cheating and denial is simply incredible. How does the chant go again? Same old scousers, always…?
In a game which Everton should have won 3-2, having eleven men on the field, until injury time when Phil Neville deserved to walk for his hilarious save, they lost 2-1, thanks to the bent refereeing of Clattenburg. Rafa Benitez, who has been losing appeal as well as respect and class over the past year, astonishingly claimed Lescott had dived. “In England you don’t like to see players diving so it was a surprise to me,” he said, in response to being quizzed about the stonewall penalty Everton were denied.
Before the dippers come on here whinging (like they usually do. It’s cute they enjoy United blogs so much I guess) about the decissions United got yesterday, I would like to point a few things out. 1. United were 3-1 up at half time, before any red cards/penalty had been awarded 2. No United players should have been sent off in the game (as Kuyt should have been) 3. Villa weren’t robbed of any decissions (as Everton were robbed of two penalties). Nothing the referee did yesterday in the United vs Villa game changed the outcome of the match. We were flying at 3-1, and that was against 11 men. In contrast, Liverpool got their result PURELY because of the bent decissions of the referee.
Seventeen years have passed since Liverpool won the league, and this is their year the dippers claim. After watching a game which illustrated the dippers’ never failing life skill, robbing people blind, teams challenging for the title will be forgiven for not shaking in their boots. Am I secretly scared and that is why I am writing about them? In all honesty, no, I get grumpy every time I see the scum get a result, particularly a result they were gifted by a dodgy official. I just would like to see the difference in points between the two clubs grow, which should have happened yesterday. Not every week will they be gifted a result in the way they were against Everton, with it becoming beyond a joke what the referee was prepared to do for the sake of allowing Liverpool to leave with all three points, and they will continue to drop points at the rate they had been doing over recent weeks. But I’d love for people to remember days like today when United are being rounded up next time they win a penalty when the game is already wrapped up or a decission wrongly goes their way, but I imagine that is probably too much to ask for from our ABU nation. 😉
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.