Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fergie 100% right to question referee Howard Webb...

Immediately after the game with Arsenal had ended and before Fergie had given his post-match interviews I posted that the United manager will be upset with Howard Webb for the blatant fouls on Louis Saha - but somewhat strangely the referee gave the decisions against the French striker, which gifted Arsenal possession and indirectly led to the Gunners taking a point at the death. Sure enough later that afternoon, Fergie did indeed have a go at Webb stating that he'd made some very poor decisions when Saha was clearly fouled.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that another referee Mark Clattenburg was 'rested' following an appalling lack of judgement in the Merseyside derby, granted Webb's indiscretions were less controversial in that the incidents in question took place on or around the half-way line. Clattenburg should have awarded two penalties to Everton and he should have sent off Kuyt.

Webb's bizarre decisions yesterday may not have happened in the penalty area, but nonetheless the end result was the same, the final-score was affected by poor officiating.

That said, I personally think a draw was a fair result and I do not advocate introducing video evidence on such issues. Referees will make always bad decisions from time to time, the game is not perfect and that is part and parcel of football, as is the controversy, which often envelops us all. However, when they get such easy decisions wrong, it is entirely correct to question why this happened.

Fergie says that Webb has the potential to become a very good referee, and I again I agree here. But if he's going to go on and become our top referee (it shouldn't take much to achieve that when you think about it, there's not a lot of competition) then he cannot afford to continue to get it so wrong as he did late on in what was a very big game.

Webb's card has been marked for sure, I hope that what happened yesterday was something of a one-off.

Questions will certainly be asked if it happens again in another United v Arsenal game if Webb is appointed as the man in the middle.


  1. Webb also missed the shirt tugging of Vidic on Hleb in the first half, which could have easily been given as a penalty. He also chose to ignore the push by Brown on Hleb in the build up to United's first goal. He also failed to book Anderson for waving an imaginary card after being fouled.

    Fergie is right; Webb did have a poor game!

  2. You dont think there was a foul on Wes Brown on Hleb before he sent Ronaldo in to cross for Rooney's first goal? Fact is, there were 2 non calls that led to goals so it kind of evened out. Plus, Vidic clearly pulled Hleb's shirt in the box earlier and Hargreave's handball wasnt given. I dont think you can argue Webb was unfair to United.


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