Ref con­spir­acy? Nope… just a load of bull­shit

Midweek Sport - - TV GUIDE -

DAL­GLISH seems to think there’s a con­spir­acy among ref­er­ees against Liver­pool.

Alex Ferguson reck­ons a goal­keeper with two years of La Liga ex­pe­ri­ence needs “bet­ter pro­tec­tion” from the men in the mid­dle.

They’re both wrong. And it’s time this tripe talk was banned.

If the man­agers of Liver­pool and Manch­ester United truly be­lieve they are get­ting a raw deal from refs, what hope have the small clubs got?

Both teams have ben­e­fited from more than their fair share of “gen­er­ous” de­ci­sions down the years.

Luis Gar­cia’s “ghost goal” at An­field against Chelsea, Pe­dro Men­des’ “win­ner” at Old Traf­ford that crossed the line by at least two yards but went down as a Roy Car­roll save.

Then there’s the count­less dodgy penal­ties that have been awarded to both sides.

Ref­er­ees are only hu­man. They make mis­takes. They are – whether they like to ad­mit it or not – in­flu­enced by the crowd, the me­dia and the oc­ca­sion.

And as pro­fes­sional as they claim to be, they all sup­port a team – a bias they might hide, but one that’s hard to shake.

Re­mem­ber Mike Reed? Not the pop quiz goon, or the gravel-voiced late Eas­tEn­ders star.

Reed the ref. He took charge of a Liver­pool v Leeds game in 2000 and af­ter Pa­trik Berger had whacked in a screamer he CEL­E­BRATED the goal. Oh yes.

Bet­ter than that, he tried to de­fend it with an ex­cuse from the Garry Cook school of bull­shit.

“I clenched a fist in front of my shorts in cel­e­bra­tion of the fact that I had played an ad­van­tage to Liver­pool,” he said. “There’s no bet­ter feel­ing for refs than play­ing an ad­van­tage and the ball end­ing up in the net.”

Bwa­ha­haha... OK, Mike. Sure. Given that Liver­pool


Man United are two of the best sup­ported teams in the world, is it a big leap to sug­gest of­fi­cials might be se­cretly will­ing them on? Maybe, maybe not.

But I don’t be­lieve for a minute Dal­glish and Fergie truly be­lieve they’re be­ing dealt a bad hand. They are just “play­ing the game”.

But, like div­ing, it’s a game that leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

They’re putting a sug­ges­tion out there which will worm around the minds of refs and sup­port­ers.

Then, when a big de­ci­sion next ar­rives, the of­fi­cial will feel obliged to rule in favour of United. Or Liver­pool. And if they don’t, it will fuel the fire.

Fans will get an­grier, refs get more abuse, man­agers will carry on point­ing the finger. It’s a vi­cious cir­cle that must be smashed.

It’s not within the spirit of the game and all it achieves is to pile more pres­sure on the ref­er­ees. Their job is tough enough al­ready.

If the suits banned bosses from mak­ing ANY com­ment on of­fi­cials to the me­dia what would we lose apart from a big load of bull?

Mean­while, it could lift some pres­sure from refs and mean fewer of those dodgy de­ci­sions.

It’s time for the FA to grow a pair and fi­nally get to grips with moan­ing man­agers.

Over to you, Mr FA Big­wig.

BLAME GAME: Kenny & Fergie have had loads of de­ci­sions go

their way, like Gar­cia’s ‘ghost’ Euro goal (left)

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