Manchester United v. Tottenham Hotspur: HOWARDisgusting!

David JacobsCorrespondent IApril 25, 2009

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 25:  Dimitar Berbatov of Manchester United is congratulated by team mate Wayne Rooney (L) after scoring his team's fifth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on April 25, 2009 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

I have officially had it with the FA! If you don’t like brutal honesty, kindly click on another article because this is going to be the "hard stuff". I’m spitting feathers and as much saliva as a salivating llama.

Today was the most depressing and annoying day for Spurs fans across the globe as Manchester United steal a 5-2 win at Old Trafford when they looked like they were being played off their own pitch in the first half.

A goal from Darren Bent plus another from Luka Modric equalled ecstasy for the travelling Spurs fans as they glared at one of the most surprising scorelines ever to grace Old Trafford for years.

Two goals to nil at half-time.

Then, in the second half, things got frustrating and ugly as various Manchester United players vented their anger on the Spurs players whilst getting away with some of it.

Just a few minutes into the second half and midfielder Michael Carrick was through on goal with nobody else but Spurs goalie Gomes in his way. Gomes rightly challenged Carrick for the ball, but Carrick tripped over Gomes’ arms and fell down in the penalty box.

From that moment, the game was completely turned at a full 180˚ as Ronaldo made his first mark on the match. He centred a penalty kick into the net, preceding four more goals against a Spurs side which had ran out of steam and was spluttering for the rest of the game.

However, everybody thought and knew that Gomes had got his hands on the ball as Michael Carrick went down. Only the officials didn’t "see" that and referee Howard Webb gave a penalty unnecessarily.

Spurs fans like me have been venting their own anger on forums and Facebook comment pages around the web[b]—little pun there—and who should blame us? Inconsistencies and favouritism towards the bigger club have gone too far!

If it was Van der Sar challenging for the ball in the same situation, the referee would wave the appeals away with his hands like an eagle on crack.

But seeing as it’s Spurs, who were about to prove they were playing better than Man Utd at Old Trafford, Howard Webb decided to save their blushes by giving them the benefit of the unreasonable doubt and handing Utd a goal.

Not only that, but there were more iffy officiating. Woodgate got booked for a block on Ronaldo, but Rafael got nothing for knocking Luka Modric around.

Ronaldo lashed out in anger by whipping Lennon’s leg from under him without any intention of trying for the ball because it was already out of his way. No booking.

When Ronaldo scored one of the additional goals for Man Utd, he took his shirt off and would’ve been sent off had it not been for Howard Webb’s earlier "harsh leniency"—if you know what I mean.

I’m sick of it!!! [angry face emoticon]

Fair enough, Spurs lost their momentum and confidence, letting the game wander away from them, but where did Man Utd get any momentum from apart from that penalty?

They were totally outplayed until that moment. The letter below isn’t just frustration from me, but from all the clubs who fall victim and lose matches due to bias and favouritism. Some obvious, some not.

Has anyone besides me noticed that the only people to complain about the Wembley Stadium surface recently have been Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger?

Both their teams, bizarrely enough, were the losing teams in their FA Cup semifinals last week. I wonder why...

Here’s the letter I wrote to the FA and the Referees Association. Comment however you please.

Scathing? Yes.
Honest and from the heart? YES!

“Dear Sir/Madam,
I am absolutely disgusted and outraged by the complete farce of a decision that turned a Premier League game on its head at Old Trafford between Spurs and Manchester United today.

Even without replaying, referee Howard Webb could clearly see that the goalkeeper of Spurs, Heurelho Gomes got a hand to the ball when challenging Michael Carrick in the penalty box.

Even if it may not have been too clear, standard procedure of Premier League football would ominously dictate that protection for goalkeepers comes above protection for field players in situations such as that.

I'm afraid that this decision to award a penalty was unnecessary and inconsistent with how you would treat Edwin van der Sar, if it was Manchester United for example.

I have a few other moments from today's match to refresh your memories which have been noted by other Spurs fans:

Aaron Lennon got tripped up by Cristiano Ronaldo out of Ronaldo's pure frustration at the fact that a player was doing better than him on the pitch. He got no booking when he should've had one because he was not in any way trying to play the ball, which had already been drawn away by Lennon.

Then on scoring one of Manchester United's goals in the second half, he took his shirt off in celebration. The tripping of Aaron Lennon for no rational reason would’ve eventually and lawfully seen him sent off. But it seems to me as if there’s pressure on officials to please Alex Ferguson on his home turf.

Jonathan Woodgate got booked for blocking Cristiano Ronaldo in the first half. A fair booking. However, in the second half, Rafael received no discipline after knocking Luka Modric.

When is this utter unfairness (an ironic take on the 'Fair Play' policy which the FIFA have tried to enforce) going to end?

Also, it hit me that a bad decision was made at Old Trafford against Tottenham a few years ago when Pedro Mendes shot from the halfway line and the ball landed in the goal cleanly and clearly. But the linesman only saw Roy Carroll look like he saved it when he was actually scooping it out of the net.

What I'm trying to put forward here is a polite inquiry for you as to if there's either an element of favouritism towards Alex Ferguson amongst the FA, favouritism towards the top-four, or an element of fear that Alex Ferguson will throw his toys out the pram if Manchester United look[ed] like they were losing a match at home, losing their so-called 'credibility' and 'reputation'.

I'm asking for a full review of the replay.

Considering that Howard Webb is supposed to be refereeing the Cup final, what's there to stop him doing the same thing again, in favour of Chelsea? There's plenty of blatantly wrong decisions made in the past. Not just against Spurs, but against ANY non-top-four side.

I ask that this inconsistency be stopped by means of goal line technology and replays during the match in case of dispute. It's fully available, isn't it? How can a fair decision 'spoil the game' as most officials believe. It would take the heat off of them and reduce criticism.

Just one more point before I end this letter—recently, the Wembley Stadium playing surface was criticised for its quality by Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.Their two teams, Manchester United and Arsenal were BOTH, surprisingly enough, the losing sides of the FA Cup semifinals! And yet, the FA have only ordered the resurfacing of the pitch when they started complaining.

Can you please explain that too. I would truly appreciate it.
Thank you very much.
Yours Sincerely,

Call it bitterness, call it bias, but don't call me wrong!

I've had it with the unnecessary protection of top four clubs' reputations at the expense of important points and the rules.

If you wanted my rant in a nutshell, see below:


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