There are very few times that I agree with the ramblings of the master of the dark media arts Alex Ferguson and his accomplices, but yesterday the officials made far too many mistakes during Manchester United’s defeat by Chelsea.
During the game advantage was played too often, even when it was clear no advantage was to be gained and too many small decisions were given the wrong way. Worse still, when Mike Dean and his assistants were faced with big decisions, they appeared to bottle them.
However Manchester United’s management have no right to blame the officials for the shortcomings of their team in the game, if anything the inadequacies of officiating were the best we can hope for in football. They were balanced offering no advantage to one side or other and having no clear impact on the result.
Manchester United can point to an offside goal that they conceded and a penalty that on another day would have been given. Yet Chelsea can also feel hard done by that Nicholas Anelka was denied a stonewall penalty and that Federico Macheda was able to pull a goal back with a touch, that replays show clearly hit his arm.
Instead of focussing on these errors we should be thankful that they favoured neither side and therefore kept the integrity of the game intact, errors creating integrity may appear an oxymoron, but no one wants the title to be decided by a catastrophical refereeing error.
It is a severe bugbear of mine that given this balance, so called men of football cannot accept defeat but seek to play the mind games of manipulation regarding the officials. Where is the humility, the admittance that on the day a side can be outplayed, frankly the outburst from the Manchester United camp smack of desperation and a lack of class.
Referees cannot produce good displays with the pressure heaped upon them in the modern game, each decision is reviewed with a slow motion microscope and the respect campaign has become a joke. Time and time again Alex Ferguson and his ilk have been allowed to taunt and deride referees in an attempt to influence them; a governing body with testicular fortitude would have put paid to this many years ago.
As previously stated the general review of the match official’s performance from Manchester United was correct today, but if the decisions in a game are balanced I think that is the best we can hope for.
Referees are not machines and should be given more protection from the publicised ramblings of those with vested interests and games to play.
Also: United 1-2 Chelsea