So Ryan Babel is likely to face an FA Inquisition after posting a depiction of Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt on his twitter account. In truth he was probably only displaying a visual representation of what most Liverpool Fans believe and probably a lot of neutrals as well – that Mr. Webb has made a pact with the Red Devils, though quite what he is getting for selling his soul remains a mystery. The keys to Sir Alex’s wine cellar perhaps?
The penalty decision that seems to have prompted Babel’s ill judged efforts in Adobe Photoshop certainly looked a bit harsh (to a neutral). The fact that Dimitar Berbatov has felt the need to claim that there was enough contact for him to lose his balance suggests that he is concerned that people believe that he dived. The various slow motion camera views of the incident suggest that he must have felt the hairs on Agger’s socks. Whatever the truth of the matter, it seems to be written into every striker’s contract today that they must go to ground in the box at any time when there is the possibility of gaining a penalty.
Is Howard Webb (or any other referee) actually likely to show favouritism to Manchester United? - Probably not. The reality is that everyone wants their team, and frequently other people’s teams, to beat Man U. Anything that seems to make that more difficult is likely to upset non-Man U fans everywhere. Never can a club have become so universally hated that refereeing decisions or errors are dressed up as bias in favour of that club. Referees tend to have bad days (too many of them) but the fans only tend to notice the decisions that go against what they wish to be – so Man U 1 any other team 0 will always be Ref’s Fault. I did notice that there wasn’t much injury time today – if it had been 1-0 to Liverpool on 90 minutes there would have been at least 6 minutes wouldn’t there