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“Manchester United are champions. They are the best team in the world,” says referee Bennett



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We had an e-mail at Soccerlens this morning from a distraught football official who feels that he has been unfairly castigated by fans, managers, players, pundits, his family, his friends, people in the street, total strangers, his pets, the media, the unions, the employers, his colleagues and anyone who knows the slightest thing about fairness, efficiency or football.

The man is very down and he needs our help.

Dear Soccerlens,

I am writing to you in despair. I have seen the help you have given others and you are the only people I can now turn to. Before I start, I would like to ask you how much you pay your excellent writer Graham Fisher. I’m sure it isn’t enough.

I have officiated at two games of football this season involving my favourites, the champions Manchester United. In both of these games I have performed admirably and made some excellent and crucial decisions. Despite the brilliance of my performance, everybody else in the world seems to think I have got it wrong. How can I have got it wrong if United have won the league?

I am equally disappointed that despite taking centre stage and producing performances of elegance and beauty, managing to combine likeable good humour and banter with the air of authority, some media outlets insist on talking about the players rather than me.

The two games to which I refer are the game at Old Trafford on 23rd March between the wonderful United and that team that play in red from just up the road. Liverpool, yes that’s it. The other game was yesterday when my United won the league by winning against some Rugby League club.

In the first game, some nasty little Argentinean feller tried to hurt my favourite player the effervescent, bubbly red head, Paul Scholes. I managed to avoid the temptation to send him off or punch him and just showed him the yellow card. Oh how the silly little man moaned at me.

Then, after that awful attack on my Paul, this man kept going on at me. I was so cross that I didn’t dare warn him or say anything to him because I might just have said something that I would regret. Then when I booked Liverpool’s best player for nothing, ha ha, this little man had the nerve to ask me why I had done it. Obviously, I sent him from the field of play. Has he not heard of the respect agenda?

Some people criticised me for that decision. I was baffled, but then I realised that real fans, Manchester United fans, didn’t criticise me. I knew then that I was right.

The fuss about that game had died down and then I managed to arrange it so that I could referee the title decider yesterday between United and someone else.

Quite early on the lovely Scholesy did a silly tackle. I could have let him off but I thought people would only moan at me so reluctantly, I showed him the yellow card. I apologised and Paul was very good about it.

Then one of the players from the other team had a shot on goal that might have gone in. Luckily, my God son Rio Ferdinand stuck out his arm and stopped the ball. Some people said I should have given a penalty and even sent Rio off. How ridiculous. If I had done that it would have been so much harder for United to win.

Paul really was naughty after that and he fouled another player. I gave him a good talking to and told him that if he did it again I would be telling his father what he had done. Paul knew exactly what I meant as my brother has a fiery temper, like many red heads.

I was able to give United a penalty which was a huge relief, and then because I was sure that all would be well in the end, I was even able to teach my nephew a lesson by not giving him a penalty when someone from the other team assaulted him in area. It was a great day all round and I just don’t understand what people are moaning about.

Didn’t people want United to win the title?

Yours in desperation,

SB, referee, all round good egg and United fan.

Soccerlens reply

Dear SB,

Have you considered that you might not be very good at your job? Now could be a good time to reconsider your future career. Maybe you could go back to refereeing in the Kent League where you started, or could go full-time in your job as chairman of the Manchester United supporters club.

I don’t fall out with your decisions because I think United probably deserved to win the league. I just think that wearing a red and white scarf and jumping on Ryan Giggs after he scored was taking things a little too far.

Good luck in your future career and send my best and congratulations to your family, next time you visit Old Trafford.

Any similarities to real people living or dead in the above article are entirely accidental.

Graham Fisher