The Great Manchester United Referee Conspiracy
Will today be the day Newcastle United end 41 years of hurt at Old Trafford, or will the great Manchester United Referee Conspiracy strike again?
Against all odds we did actually get a penalty award in recent years against Manchester United on their home turf but will Newcastle get a fair crack on this occasion?
Burning Toon Injustice To Set Fire To Moyes United
People say Man United are a wounded animal after losing to Everton midweek but we should be burning with a sense of injustice – after Howard Webb of Lies helped the Swans destroy our winning run – and be ready to set fire to Old Trafford.
It’s time for the Newcastle United squad to get off that bus at Old Trafford and onto the pitch and attack Man United like never before. Or rathe,r Moyes United, because since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement the illusion of Red Devils power has rapidly evaporated.
Not much has changed; the players are the same, it’s the same stadium, same set of fans, yet the aura of fear and power has gone forever (or until Fergie is forced to come out of retirement at Xmas like Scholes did).
The size of football pitches up and down the country is the same, the dimensions of the goals don’t change, it’s 11 men against 11 men yet belief is so, so important in football and Man Utd’s has been punctured possibly beyond repair.
Yet in front of 75,000 fans in the Theatre of (Soon To Be) Shattered Dreams, Man United have seemed invincible, run by Fergie with massive help from referees.
Man United have had assistance from the referees for years – the fact that ‘FergieTime’ is in the sporting lexicon at all is evidence of that and superb articles like ‘The Manchester United Refereeing Conspiracy’ (an absolutely must read by Nadim Bedran – look it up) explore it further.
So it’s probably no coincidence that in the same week Alan Pardew talks about the importance of “Momentum” and name-drops Sir Alex Ferguson, his mate Howard Webb does everything he can to ensure that our momentum built up in November is stopped right before we play Man United.
Phil Dowd tried to stop us in the West Bromwich Albion game, initially in the first half when refusing the clear sending off of Jonas Olsson for shirt-pulling the last man Loic Remy down when through on goal and about to score. Then in the second with two clear penalty appeals turned down for handballs. Suspicious – I happened to be in the Platinum Club when Dowd walked through with his entourage before the match, looking so dodgy I was tempted to give him the “I’m Watching You” gesture from ‘Meet the Fokkers’.
While he didn’t stop the win, he did make sure Newcastle didn’t comfortably win and boost confidence by a few more goals and scorers on the score sheet as a Shola penalty would have made it 2-1 or 3-1 if given for the first or second appeal.
At Swansea, Howard Webb turned down our best appeal for a penalty of the week (Of a decent four in four days) against Swansea when Loic Remy’s goalbound shot WAS handled by Davies in the area. Spurs didn’t get a pen all last season yet it’s a football truism that you can tell by the player’s reactions what decisions should have been and every Newcastle player near the incident was protesting and Debuchy was so incensed he hacked Hernandez down to deliver a justice of his own.
This is Howard Webb, for years he has been known by his nicknames of Howard Webb of Lies and Man Utd’s 12th Man, the successor to Mike Riley. He didn’t give any of the major decisions to a Newcastle side not playing well, yet who would have got back into the game if either of the major decisions went our way.
Newcastle don’t have a divine right to win games yet we do have one to expect fair play from the officials and we simply were not given it at The Liberty Stadium like so many games last season and Pardew should raise the issue and complain.
Saturday’s referee at Old Trafford is Andre Marriner, the man in the middle when Man United beat Arsenal 1-0 recently, yet he’s known for being a fairly good referee by the independents at www.refereeingdecisions.co.uk so the jury is out for the time being, though I’m watching him.
Belief Is So Important In Football
A team’s self-belief can be the difference between winning and settling for a draw or losing so it was heartening to hear Shola and Tiote have put the dressing room right straight away after Swansea.
“We are together. If you win, you win together, If you lose, you lose together. We all need to stay together and think about the next game now.” said Titan Tiote.
With that attitude, they will pierce the illusion of the new Man United who were beaten off Everton at home on Wednesday night and were well beaten off the West Brom side we dismantled last week.
Last season’s 4-3 showed what can happen if you go and attack Man United even when Fergie was in charge and briefly The Entertainers were back in black and white as we lit up The Premier League in 2 televised games scoring 6 goals at Old Trafford and The Emirates. We weren’t tight enough at the back to get anything, though Arsenal’s week of Xmas rest due to having their West Ham game postponed due to the Tubes being down gave them a decided advantage in the 7-3.
Yet a season on, we’re far, far stronger, higher than Man United in the League, we’re the team of the month with the Player and Manager of the Month and they haven’t, with any luck, got the injured Robin Van Persie and the suspended Wayne Rooney.
Forget talk of ‘Well Swansea didn’t have Michu and Bony’ on Wednesday; no they didn’t but more importantly they had Howard Webb representing a League absolutely terrified of us and if Marriner can rise to the challenge and navigate the storm of the Toon in high tide, we’ll be in business.
Make no mistake about it, a successful Newcastle United are the biggest threat to the established order in English – and European – football.
The authorities will do anything to keep us down – 10 wrongly disallowed Cisse goals last season home and abroad anyone? – because they know the threat we pose to the established moneyed order once we get things really going as we did under King Kevin Keegan and briefly under Sir Bobby Robson.
Pardew being named Manager of the Month is a massive step in the right direction and although Webb & Swansea temporarily halted our Champions League march, we’re more than capable of going straight to Old Trafford and winning like we went to Stamford Bridge after losing 4-0 at Wigan in 2011/2 having just won six on the bounce and won 2-0 with Cisse worldies.
It’s time for Newcastle fans to believe as good vibes and positivity in the stands transmits to the players and onto the pitch, especially in this age of social media networks where you never, never know the impact of one uplifting tweet or text – or the opposite.
Drop The HatemBomb
I was interested to read in The Chronicle that the Man United authorities will look down upon smoke bombs wielded by Geordies at Old Trafford yet it’s the man with the grenade launcher in his football boots they want to be worrying about as I can see Ben Arfa stepping up to the plate and delivering the performance of his life if selected.
He won our disputed penalty – yes, miracles happen, we got one – at Old Trafford in 2011/2 when we got a point and with a World Cup place with France in his sights, I’m expecting big things and a goal from the little genius in an away win, alongside that other great arbiter of football justice, World Cup Shola.
FHWTL – You can follow Stuart on Twitter @ultrastartime
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