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SAF's Puppets

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I found it very interesting, when watching the United game on tv - that about 30 seconds after the commentator says "Fergusson is hounding the 4th official about Everton time wasting"..... Tim Howard was booked for time wasting!

I believe that the 4th official has radio communications with the ref. I can see how this all works now..... I reckon if you were to bug this system, you would hear something like this going on at Old Trafford:

4th Official: Erm, Peter. Sir Alex thinks that Everton are starting to get into the game and he's looking a bit stressed... his cheeks are turning purple. You couldn't just play centre half for United for a few minutes, make an interception or two to help nip this in the bud?

Peter Walton: No problemo, tell Sir Alex I'll make sure those cheeky scousers don't get anywhere near the United penalty area. How dare they come to Old Trafford and try to score.


4th Official: I know that big oaf from Everton has just absolutely done the England Captain on toast, made him look completely shite and devoid of pace, forcing him into committing a very clumsy foul in the box, but it is NOT a penalty... I repeat, Sir Alex says this is not a penalty!

Peter Walton: Looks a blatant pen to me ? but if Sir Alex says it's not then it's not. I can just say I was unsighted as I couldn't keep up with play ? I didn't realise that Anichebe kid was so quick... usually only see him rolling on the floor!


4th Official: Hi Peter, sorry to bother you again, but these Toffeemen just don?t look like they?re going to give up the points here. Me and Sir Alex have just been having a quick chat though, and we think United are due a goal from a corner. Sir Alex has asked if you wouldn?t mind giving United a couple of extra ones.

Peter Walton: Consider it done. Anything that goes behind and was within a meter of a man in blue, I?ll give the corner.


4th Official: Me again Peter. Sir Alex thinks Tim Howard is taking too long to take his goal kicks and he's not very happy about it.

Peter Walton: No worries, tell Sir Alex I'll book Howard, that will stop this nonsense. Be sure to tell Sir Alex not to worry though - if United take the lead, I'll still let Edwin take as long as he likes over his goal kicks.


4th Official: I?m going to put up five minutes injury time on the board.

Peter Walton: Can you please just check with Sir Alex if that is the five minutes where I can blow for time as soon as it passes four minutes ? or the one where he threatens to kill me if I blow up before 5 minutes 59 seconds?

4th Official: So long as United are ahead, just go for anything in the low fours. Blow even earlier if Everton are about to shoot, however unlikely that seems right now.

Jamie Sweet, Nelson, New Zealand     Posted 26/04/2011 at 03:17:25

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Tony J Williams
1   Posted 26/04/2011 at 15:38:08

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I find it interesting that Howard was booked for time wasting but after they had scored Van Der Sar did it for longer and didn't even get the customary wave to play on.

The corner were it missed everyone by about 2 yards summed up Old Trafford for me.
Chris Bannantyne
2   Posted 26/04/2011 at 15:15:30

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Haha nice one.

Obviously I'm not sure it goes down quite like that, but there is a lot of evidence of United benefitting from decisions as opposed to opposition benefitting from decisions. I think they send him to the stands for a couple games each season to try and create the illusion of equality and non-bias, but you will notice he still has his handy shoe-phone so he can bitch to whoever he likes, and I think it may be wired directly to the Ref's headset. And anyway, what difference does it make where he sits in the stadium?? He just chews gum and looks angry in a slightly different spot.

They may be a pretty quality team, but without a fair amount of help from the referees,United wouldn't be sitting so pretty at the top of the table, and I doubt they'd really even be in the title race at this stage.

I don't know all the facts and figures to back this up, but undoubtedly there's some budding statistician out there who has it all jotted down.
Thomas Owen
3   Posted 26/04/2011 at 16:09:08

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Great article! It's good to see ? over a week after I left a post in the mailbox suggesting the officials are biassed towards United ? that I'm not the only one who sees it!
Andy Crooks
4   Posted 26/04/2011 at 17:14:09

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When was the last penalty at Old Trafford at a league game for an away team? I don't know but I'll bet there haven't been many.
Tommy Byrne
5   Posted 26/04/2011 at 17:10:02

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We got nothing from the ref. It was just as well the three fouls that happened in the penalty area were against us otherwise we would have been 3 down. Imagine Baines pushing away that forward. Jags doing what Ferdinand did and the tussle in the box with Beckford.

Those incidents were all fouls and had they been committed anywhere else on the pitch they would have been given. It's hard enough being up against the best team in the league but it does not help when the officials are clearly biased to one side playing in red.

Tony J Williams
6   Posted 26/04/2011 at 17:32:03

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I think someone said 11 seasons ago... but I am sure there was one last season. Unless it was 11 months ago?
Trevor Mackie
7   Posted 26/04/2011 at 17:50:51

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4th official : Mr Moyes I'm gonna have to blow up early, SAF says so.

Moyes: Whatever the boss says.
Andy Crooks
8   Posted 26/04/2011 at 18:35:03

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Tony J, surely not 11 seasons ago?
Pat Finegan
9   Posted 26/04/2011 at 19:00:25

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Andy, the guy calling the game on the feed I was watching (I think it was Steve McManaman) said 11 years.
Jamie Barlow
10   Posted 26/04/2011 at 19:14:37

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Didn't Steven Gerrard score a penalty at Old Trafford this season?
Pat Finegan
11   Posted 26/04/2011 at 19:06:30

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McManaman was wrong (surprise?)... It was actually 17 March 2007. Bolton got a penalty and Gary Speed netted from the spot.

Still, 4 years without a penalty? That's a bit ridiculous.
Martin Handley
12   Posted 26/04/2011 at 21:10:55

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Can anybody remember the last time we got a penalty against Man Ure in the league home or away? Nope, me neither... and I'm in my forties!

As per normal, the officials were like like the Three Monkeys: See no evil, Hear no evil... and definitely See no evil at Old Trafford. Oh and the 4th official was watching Harry Potter on his iPhone!

Chris Bannantyne
13   Posted 26/04/2011 at 21:15:49

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Holy hell! 4 years! That's incredible.
Lee Courtliff
14   Posted 26/04/2011 at 21:25:59

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It's not 4 years, lads. Remember the game where Liverpool stuffed them 4-1? Well I am sure Gerrard scored a penalty in that game. And celebrated by kissing the camera and that ultra loyal, non-glory hunting Man Utd fan, sat in the Man Utd end, actually stood up and took a picture of him.

Best fans in the country!
Lee Courtliff
15   Posted 26/04/2011 at 21:32:02

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By the way, that game was in March/April 2009.
Tony J Williams
16   Posted 26/04/2011 at 21:52:34

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That will tie in with the 11 months then, Lee.
Tony J Williams
17   Posted 26/04/2011 at 21:53:58

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Doh, that is actually 24/25 months.... never mind.
Liam Reilly
18   Posted 27/04/2011 at 09:16:53

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We didn't lose at OT because of the Ref or their goalie's time-wasting. That game was lost mentally before the players took to the field.

A real shame, as we really had nothing to lose. Can't understand why we didn't just have a go at them instead of the usual 'defend for your lives' approach away from home.
Kevin Gillen
19   Posted 27/04/2011 at 11:24:17

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Good point, Liam Reilly. United were there for the taking and, in spite of the manager's urgings, the players got complacent and went deeper and more cautious. Mind you, I thought we were bad until I saw Shalke last night. They wouldn't be half way up the Championship on that performance. The referee was poor though. All my United pals agreed the Anichebe foul was a pen. Referees do defer to the top four at their grounds.
Tony J Williams
20   Posted 27/04/2011 at 12:50:42

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"United were there for the taking." ? Hurray!!!
Jeff Armstrong
21   Posted 27/04/2011 at 22:44:46

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Just as Anichebe is fouled he loses control of the ball, and that's enough for the ref to cop out, it's got to be a stonewall, nailed-on, no-doubter before a ref has the balls to give a pen at that ground. That is why there have only ever been 2 or 3 pens against Manure in all of Ferguson's tenure, espeically in league games.
Sam Morrison
22   Posted 27/04/2011 at 23:15:28

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I heard that, when Mrs Ferguson tripped over at home with a tray of tea and biscuits, she got nothing as well.
Damien McKay
23   Posted 28/04/2011 at 09:06:33

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Liam Reilly (#18) is spot on. Most teams enter Old Trafford all too often beaten before a ball is even kicked and we are no exception.

No win away to them since 1992 is shocking ? don't know if any other prem team has a worse record than us at Old Trafford??

We need to change this soon if we are to be great again and the manager is the one who should be giving them the belief and ego boost to go out there and take 3 points. We would've been ecstatic with a point, which says everything really.
John Anderson
24   Posted 28/04/2011 at 14:26:31

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I think Kevin Sheedy missed a penalty in the Old Trafford game in the 84-85 season, we drew 1-1, Mountfield getting the goal... not sure if that was the last one though.

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