Howard Webb – Thanks for nothing

by Ashleigh Rose

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Is this man really the best we have?

As the dust settles on yet another Premier League season, it looks like one man will go along way in deciding what happened at both ends of the table. That man isn’t an 11th title winner from Old Trafford, or a unfortunate West Brom member but someone who is recognised as the number one in his profession in this country – referee Howard Webb.

I’ll be honest, I’m not usually one who jumps on refs backs, after all they are human and they have to make crucial decisions in the heat of the moment that can’t be right 100% of that time. And the mistakes make this unpredictable game we love even better, especially when they come from a Norwegian ref on Champions League night! However Mr Webb, seen as the best ref this country has to offer has made to downright awful decisions that could very well go a long way to deciding crucial events in Premier League 2008-09.

The first was at Old Trafford last month, when a sterling Spurs side looked liked turning the title race on its head with a shock 2-0 lead, until Webb’s crucial call just minutes into the second half. Michael Carrick raced into the box looking round keeper Gomes, only for the Spurs stopper to legitimately poke the ball from under Carrick’s feet and out of harms way. Carrick of course fell to the ground, but he along with most of the United players did not appeal for anything, but Webb saw fit to hand them a penalty and gift back into the game. Of course Ronaldo scored the pen and Spurs fell apart as they were hit for five by the champions. But who’s to say if that penalty hadn’t been awarded that, Tottenham who were defending doggedly wouldn’t of frustrated United and left Old Trafford with at least a point? It would of meant that going into the last weekend we’d still have a title race on and Liverpool would still be with in a shout.

If that wasn’t bad enough, worse was to come from Webb this weekend when another of his crucial decisions could well mean the end for Newcastle United as a Premier League club. With the Magpies one down, Mark Viduka thought he had equalised with a towering header from a Newcastle only for Webb to disallow the goal due to an ‘infringement’ from Kevin Nolan on Mark Schwarzer. But if you look at the incident again you can see that Nolan is doing nothing more but standing his ground and if anything its Schwarzer who tries to gain an advantage by hooking his arm under Nolan’s and trying to manoeuvre him out of the way. But Howard Webb, probably with Newcastle’s goal against Middlesbrough in mind from Monday, when a similar incident occurred saw fit to rule out what was a legitimate goal and see’s Alan Shearer’s men head into this week hoping for a favour from the Man Utd reserves to keep them in the top flight.

That’s two key decisions, two easy two decisions and two decisions that could have changed the face of both ends of the league that Howard Webb got wrong. As I said I don’t expect refs to get everything right, but to have England’s number one ref get two incidents so wrong in such high-pressure games just seems unjust – even if these things seem to swing in roundabouts. I don’t ask much from refs, all I want is for them to get the big decisions right, not everything but things like these that matter and could go a long way to deciding who wins what are who stays up. Is that really too much to ask?

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  • stevie

    he’s on the Man United pay role, everyone knows that

  • Darren

    They all love United, Rafa was right in what he said in his rant!

    Everyone is happy now they have won the league. It’s quite sickening, when Arsenal went 50 games unbeaten the press coverage was no where near as ars licky

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