David Moyes Warned Referees Will No Longer Favour Manchester United

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2014

HULL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  (EDITORS NOTE: THIS BLACK AND WHITE IMAGE WAS CREATED FROM ORIGINAL COLOUR FILE) Manchester United manager David Moyes shouts instructions on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Manchester United at KC Stadium on December 26, 2013 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Six months after taking charge at Old Trafford, David Moyes is still getting to grips with the changes that have occurred as a result of his Manchester United appointment.

In his most recent column for the Daily Mail Online, ex-Premier League referee Graham Poll has noted that the Scot must adjust to the fact he won't be given decisions in the same manner as his predecessor.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is applauded by players after his 1,500th and final match in charge of the club following the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson's intimidating presence over the last three decades grew to the point that he garnered an infamous reputation for asserting his dominance over officials.

However, it appears that is not to be the case at the Theatre of Dreams any longer.

LONDON - MAY 28:  Referee Graham Poll in action during the Coca-Cola Championship Playoff Final between Derby County and West Bromwich Albion at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2007 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Poll writes:

I would concede there was a sense of relief when United played well and won, particularly at Old Trafford.  

Of course Moyes has had to deal with a few dubious decisions, in particular the one to not award a penalty when Ashley Young was brought down by Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris during the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford. However, he had to deal with those regularly when he was managing Everton and he dealt with those with a lot more dignity than he has managed of late.

The former official is right in saying Moyes has had to cope with his tests of temperament this season. United have already seen key penalty decisions go against them against Tottenham and Sunderland in 2014.

Moyes responded to the most recent game at Sunderland by claiming United are now playing against the officials, per BBC Sport. But try as he might to evoke the same touchline spirit as he who ruled before him, there isn't as much fear being translated these days.

Poll states:

Is this latest outburst a reaction to the undoubted pressure that Moyes finds himself under or is it an attempt to put pressure on upcoming referees?

If it is then I fear another defeat for Moyes, who must accept that he does not have the same intimidating presence as his predecessor had. However hard referees tried, that presence did affect some decisions.

The aforementioned Ashley Young has found himself at the centre of numerous controversies this season. There have been shouts of simulation ringing around some of his performances, most notably against the likes of Crystal Palace and Real Sociedad.

Moyes has seen decisions go in his favour, such as when Rafael escaped a red card at Sunderland, but United are not the same presence of old, not necessarily just in terms of playing strength but in intimidation factor as well.

Goal.com's Greg Stobart is one of those who agrees that United's drop in playing standards has contributed to the difference in respect now being afforded to them:

United have lost five home games so far this season, contributing to the now well-known statistic that this has been the club's worst start to a campaign for some 24 years.

A lot of Moyes' reign as Manchester United boss will be about asserting his own stamp on the side and not just striving to emulate Ferguson's influence before him, regardless of how successful it may have been.

Poll's admission that Ferguson influenced referees confirms the fears that many rival fans have carried for years. However, it will take far more than the rants of Moyes to ensure United benefit from such subconscious favouritism in the future.

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