Bad Press: Setting the Record Straight for Manchester United


Last night I was on an EPL chat site, and I came across an Englishman ranting about Alex Ferguson owning the referees and Manchester United getting all the calls (a popular Twitter sentiment as well I might add). I argued with the jealous Spurs fan, which lead to about four other EPL fans representing different teams all pouncing on me.  I think it’s time to really examine if United is indeed getting the calls people claim they are.  I will try to make this as quick as possible because this could go on forever, so I will just review Manchester United’s Barclays Premier League run beginning December 1, 2012.

December 1, United @ Reading –  United won 4-3,  RVP scored a goal where the ball just barely crossed the goal line, however the referee did not award the goal.

December 9, United @ City –  It was an extremely important match where United were up 2-0 and Young scored to make it 3-0, but he was improperly called off side by the official.  City went down the field directly from the awarded free kick and scored to make the match 2-1 and shortly after tied it up at 2-2 before RVP won the  game in injury time 3-2.  The goals City gained out of this could have played a significant role in how the season moved forward.

December 15, United vs Sunderland – United won with ease, 3-1, however Sunderland did escape a definite hand ball in their own penalty area.

December 23, United @ Swansea –  RVP was clearly taken down hard during a threatening run with no call by the referee, from which the Swans then went up field to tie the game at 1-1.  Things became worse near the 80th minute where a Swansea defender deliberately booted the ball at the back of RVP’s head after a whistle. It was definitely red card worthy, and that could have helped United to a late winner!

December 26, United vs Newcastle – Johnny Evans headed the ball into his own goal, however Cisse from Newcastle was offside and interfered with Johnny Evans on the play.  By ruling the play should have been called offside.  Later in the match a Newcastle defender put his arm up to block a shot in his penalty area.  It was debatable whether it should have been a penalty or not, but the ref chose not to give Manchester United the call.  United still triumphed 4-3.

December 29, United vs West Brom –  A well-called match by the referee, and United won 2-0.

January 1, United vs Wigan –  Hernandez scored early in the match to make it 1-0 but was called offside.  Hernandez was millimetres offside, and it was a great call by the ref.  I’m glad he didn’t give United a false call because if you listen to countless fans out there they apparently do all the time!  Still waiting for that to be qualified…  United went on to win 4-0.

January 13, United vs Liverpool –  United was up 2-0 in the match and Kagawa was shoved hard in the penalty area chasing a loose ball to put into the net.  It should have been a penalty with a chance to go up 3-0.  United won anyway, 2-1.

January 20, United @ Tottenham –  The latest screw job, and the second time vs Spurs. In this edition, United was up 1-0 with a chance to make it 2.  Rooney was blatantly tripped in the penalty area with the referee looking directly at the foul yet he elected not to blow the whistle.  Spurs scored a late tying goal and the game ended 1-1.

This non-call lead to Ferguson blasting the official again, which precipitated my argument last night.  Apparently Ferguson is pending a fine or suspension.  Does he deserve to be suspended for arguing a call that should have been made?  Can anyone argue he is actually wrong in his assessment (other than Spurs fans, naturally).  Also, if he escapes penalization, I will have people know that since 2003 Ferguson has been suspended for a total of 15 matches, and has been fined 75,000BP.  He doesn’t always escape.

Also, during that 9-match run from December 1st, if you noticed there were 7 out of 9 games where the refs have affected United in a negative way, but the Red Devils still managed to win 7 and draw 2, and avoid any loses in any of those matches – don’t tell me they need refs to win games!   Not to mention Manchester City and Chelsea have been awarded more penalties then United have this season.  

Another fact – Manchester United last won the title in the 2010 -11 season where they had only 5 penalties called for them, and had 6 called against them, yet they still won the league.  So for a team that is “always getting the calls”, there is the evidence that it’s not the case.

Now, obviously United also gets calls that go their way – I’m not saying they never get calls.  My argument is that they don’t get any more than any other big team in pretty much any league – Barcelona, Bayern, Juventus, etc.  We’re talking EPL today so I’m not going to break down those teams and their fortunes.  All I will say today is that Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are the three teams that can win this league as it stands, and they are the three teams that get the most calls.  But remember, they are also the team who attacks the most and has the most possession, which is when fouls occur.  Right now United is on a bad run for the calls.  Personally, I just wish the refs would put the whistles away and let them play, but you and I know that’s never going to happen!

What I am trying to explain is that Manchester United do get calls in their favour, but they have always been an all out attacking team, and if you look at past seasons they are getting the same treatment as the other big clubs.  They also have calls against them, as I have shown, but people are quick to forget them.  Regardless, their highest competitors have also had the same treatment from the refs, as well as some rip-offs along the way too.  Therefore, United have always earned their titles – so take that you jealous EPL fans!


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