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Outstanding work.


Two very interesting articles, like you say, it's about time some investigative journalist made a name for themselves by looking into the connections a little deeper.


Rather than aimlessly listing how many penalties United have been awarded, I'd suggest a better course of research would be to investigate how many of the penalties given were awarded correctly or dubiously.

The fact is, as one of the top teams, Man Utd spend the majority of their games attacking opponents, so therefore, they naturally spend a lot of time in the oppositions area, hence more opportunities for them to win penalties.

The way you have articulated this article makes it come across as if winning a penalty is some sort of cheat mechanism, which is not the case at all.

A quick glance at some penalty statistics shows us that in the last 10 years Man Utd have been awarded only 5 more penalties than Liverpool have. That is hardly a margin that suggests any sort of corruption.

Furthermore, your point about about Referee appointments lacks any sort of context to give your point any validity. For example Mike Dean refereed 6 times more Arsenal games than he did Aston Villa games last season? Does that mean anything?

Sorry, but your whole article comes across as slightly bitter, paranoid and a tad bit deranged. I suspect you could soon be a laughing stock amongst online football communities.

Henrik Farstad


Thanks for an interesting piece on the referee selection process. The way you present it, it is easy to start thinking that there is something fishy going on.

However, I am curious about all the united referees. How many referees through a season? Are there cases of referees who do not make mistakes, but still go a long time without officiating MUFC matches?

I think you might be on to something, but without background numbers I think your argument is weak. We need to see what is normal for referees who do not make mistakes as well.

I hope that you are able/have the time to have an even closer look at the matter. Because as it is now it comes of a bit conspiratory. If you were able to show that the treatment of United officials who officiated United losses, differs from the treatment of those who officiated the wins, it would be a much stronger argument.

Keep up the good work!


Not sure which betting site offer odds for penalties given during match play or before a game, but that would indicate beforehand any suspicion.

Gambling sites spend a lot of time, more and computing power to derive at specific odds. They take into account patterns of behaviour etc and the only person who can award a penalty is the ref. Deduction would then link the likelihood of a particular referee giving a penalty based upon previous games.

Howard Webb is officiating Uniteds next game against Newcastle, wonder what the odds for a penalty being awarded compared to say the Arsenal game?


CA26 statistics can be made to show anything. Lies, dammed lies and the statistics. How many penalties have been awarded to each team, and what percentage is the 5 difference?

I don't know the figure hence why I'm asking, but if Man Utd had 20 penalties and LFC 15, then the 5 difference is a huge percentage. If we are talking, 100 and 95, then 5 isn't as bad.


"statistics can be made to show anything. Lies, dammed lies and the statistics."

Which kind of proves the weakness of his argument. He's cherry picked a few stats and without any context worded them into some embarrassing conspiracy theory.

To answer your question, since 2002, United have had 60 penalties, Liverpool 55.

Simon W

If I didn't know better? I'd say CA26 in the face now of TWO such posts of incontrovertible evidence of WHAT is going on in front of us? Then spouting the line the sheep (ahem sorry ex'professonals & supposed sports pro's) of our cough 'unbiased' media (don't make me laugh)IS one of said media or someone whose been asked to LOOK for just such stirrings of REAL investigation? And ridicule them - but then that sort of thing NEVER happens in sport does it? Not here - Or doesn't it? Calciopoli in Italy? Got its ideas from SOMEwhere & again? I defy you CA26 if you're SO sure that nothing is wrong? Take up your OWN challenge man (or should that be mouse trembling lest his beloved United GET what they've deserved for so long & what they WILL get in the end?) FIND evidence as powerful as THIS blogger has in the case for the prosecution to defend the most corrupt, skewed & looked after excuse for a so-called team in English football along with the man who runs them;

Me? I think you'll find PLENTY of allies amongst the cowed sheep from our media in doing that but if you ever see the light & end up trying to find evidence to SUPPORT this? Well let's just say I think you'll find the silence deafening & that? Says it all. They don't even HIDE it anymore. The rest of Europe might envy the PL it's money & everything but NOT at the cost of what it's done to the soul of our game where the words "impartial" & "fair" have been virtually REMOVED from the dictionary & despite ALL knowing what is going on? the FA attempt to keep up the absurd pretence that we alone are whiter than white - don't make me F**king laugh - The only reason European Leagues say NOTHING about our leagues ref's & the bias & rubbish they Clearly show? Is because they're to busy laughing at us & with good reason.

It goes on under our noses & smells like a dead fish RIGHT from the top but we STILL won't call it WHAT it is? I will if none other will - the English game is corrupt from top to bottom & HAS been since 1992 in fact? I wouldn't be surprised to find that ever Since the day long ago when Alan Sugar conspired to hand the PL rights to Sky & thus give them a VESTED INTEREST (what is behind all this) in the PL (& thus it's biggest brands) doing not just well but VERY well to make ALL it's chairmen rich? English football has not been a sport - it's been a business & in businesses? Money not sport rules. The ONLY way to change that? Is to DO what so many in England are afraid to do - DESTROY the PL's power & LEVEL the playing field - Only THEN will the VERY top of English Football which right now Feels & IS a different game from grassroots up to the level BELOW The PL? Be connected BACK To the lower levels of our game - It's a change that's LONG overdue - the sooner it comes the better. Just maybe? We're seeing the beginnings of such change - The PL & Sky & MU & FA & all else who benefit from the current unholy arrangement? Are clearly beginning to panic about certain questions being asked.

You just have to witness the spate of articles condemning Liverpool & foreign divers whilst rambling on at length about the honesty of good old Fergie's troops being denied THREE clear pens on Sat' as well as numerous sudden (deliberate?) mentions of Liverpool's "diving record" (since when?) to see just WHAT is happening now questions ARE being asked;

Oh before I forget? To there's the ridiculous red card & penalty last week at Anfield, the NON red card & penalty also; The second NON-Penalty for Liverpool, the punishment of Roberto Martinez for SAYING what we can ALL see & the Lord High Gargoyle himself reacting with fury & CAUSING said demotion of Foy whilst at the same time? DEFENDING foreign players diving - less than a year after organising one of THE most pathetic excuses for a case built on LIES (that WOULD have been slaughtered in a LAW Court) I've ever seen to? You guessed it - help damage the reputation of a player HE deemed to be a diver - whose also foreign - The only thing I think is? The change isn't coming quick enough -

IMO? Jonjo Shelvey had the right of it last week - only he didn't go FAR enough - he should have chinned Ferguson at the very least (none of the physically weak cowards on the United team would have stopped him - he's to physically powerful for them) But re' THAT man? IMO the sooner he retires or is pensioned off to live out his dotage somewhere? The sooner the English game can recover from the damage he's done to it & it's spirit - As it is? THAT will take decades - we USED to be called the land of fairness in sport? We haven't been for a LONG time now & it's mainly HIS fault - he's a poison on the game here but like all diseases? He'll be BURNED out eventually - mark my words................

NB Blog Author? Some journo's HAVE asked the hard questions but like the ARTICLES asking such questions? For some reasons their work has been obscured amongst more Fergie etc friendly articles or just plain ignored - look up a couple of books by David Conn for one? He is a brilliant author; There was another one by Chris Horrie I think about the Premier League in England? But Conn is the best for that IMO & particularly his second book about the state of the game here written in 2005 IIRR? He spoke in that of a meeting with Noel White who helped FORM the PL & an unspoken 'reason' by which said league was formed that he thought WOULD have made sense of the whole disgusting power grab by the PL & FA - he never found out WHAT That reason was but me? I'd put money on it involving commercialism, money & football being governed by monetary needs from thenon instead of sporting ones which leads to the conclusion then? That ONLY The biggest money-cartels WOULD do well in such a case in stark contrast to before when ALL had a chance - and WHO is the biggest money-cartel of all? I think we all know the answer to that one - Indeed look at it along the lines Conn was? And a great many things become clear about English football - A great many things indeed.......


I assume you have done the same analysis for referees that have taken charge of all the games Liverpool have lost over a season to prove your theory.

I appreciate that might take a little bit longer of course.


Foy missed 2, possibly 3 penalties at the weekend. That doesn't fit with your agenda though, does it?

Liverpool fans are becoming a laughing stock to fans all over the country.

Simon W

Really Bergkamp is God? So if we're a laughing stock? What were your own club when Rooney dived Twice against them IIRR to win penalties? Or when Solksjaer conned a ref' into sending off your main defender in a title race a while back? As to Foy missing pen's at the weekend NOT fitting the agenda? Look at WHERE he's ended up only a week after reffing & tell me again that's coincidence? And by the same (happens each week) method re' selecting officials? Look at just WHO has been selected for United's Next (Difficult & Away from home) game & how many pen's & red cards HE'S given in favour OF United; Then? Look again at what you just said & tell me about a so-called agenda?

It's a pattern NOT an agenda & concerns what happens TO refs after Reffing United in losses as well as in their favour - & more specifically WHERE they go or how long it takes them to ref' United again? Anyway Like I said? 'Tis a pattern & easy to discern IF you look & in short? If you don't see it now? You never will................

Mark Wellington

Want evidence? Try Debatable Decisions (www.debatabledecisions.com/) or Refereeing Decisions (www.refereedecisions.co.uk).


"It seems that Atkinson was given a clear message that day."
- Not to make bad decisions in high profile games?

"The 3rd United loss came at Anfield, where a Dirk Kuyt hat trick secured a 3-1 home win. The referee that day was Phil Dowd. He was criticized by Ferguson for not sending Jamie Carragher off. In the very next United game Dowd refereed, he gave them a penalty which secured a 1-1 draw
at Blackburn and their 19th league title."
- Legitimate penalty awarded, correct decision made.

"He did however referee 2 United games in the cups during that time. The first was in the Carling Cup against Crystal Palace."
- Legitimate penalty awarded, correct decision made, United lost the game.

He awarded United a penalty. The second was at City in the FA Cup. United got a penalty and Vincent Kompany was sent off early in the game.
- Legitimate penalty awarded, correct decision made, Kompany sent off for two footed challenge.

"Subsequently, Jones was not given a single football game, at ANY level, to referee for an entire month. The next United game he was handed came a few months later, the 2-0 home win against Stoke which saw… You guessed it: 2 penalties awarded to Manchester United which, according to reports, were “very soft”."
- Neither were "very soft", both were correct decisions.

"How about Mark Halsey? Well, when he gave WBA a debatable penalty in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in May 2005 it was his 5th United game that season. He then also went an ENTIRE YEAR without being given any United games to referee. From 5 games in a season to none for a year. His
record since then? He’s refereed 11 Man Utd games which have seen 11 United wins: the latest coming at Anfield, where 3 controversial decisions went the away team’s way."
Man Utd win games shocker. Ex Liverpool player Mark Lawrenson stated on MOTD that the referee got all the big decisions right at Anfield, is he corrupt too?

"The people I blame are the ones that are letting this happen. The media who have not uttered a peep or written a single article about this for 2 decades. The FA who run the game in this country and have allowed this situation to fester. The clubs who see no issue with having David Gill, United's CEO, on the board of the FA. And of course, the PGMOB: the people who regulate officiating in England"
- Phil Gartside is also on the board, I presume your blog on pro-Bolton bias is being drafted.

"Riley’s bias was so suspected than when was awarded the Everton vs Man Utd FA Cup semi final to officiate in 2009, David Moyes actually called for an investigation on whether Riley was a United supporter."
- Riley failed to award a blatant penalty to Manchester United, Manchester United lost the game.



It was one year later before he refereed a Liverpool match again.


great article!! total truth.


"Cherry picking can refer to the selection of data or data sets so a study or survey will give desired, predictable results which may be misleading or even completely contrary to actuality."



You'd agree that the beachball situation was one which any ref should pay for though. Has nothing to do with the fact that it was Liverpool. Completely different situation than the one being discussed in the blog.



More corruption?

Afrikan Gunner

Talk about things that make you go mmmmhhhhh.....????!!!!

Lucky 7

TBF if there was any bias for Liverpool id want it outed too. If there is a problem it needs sorted out.

George Courtney

Don't referees get told which game they are taking charge of 2-3 weeks in advance? There are also 16 premiership referees and only 10 games every weekend so it makes sense that now and again they will officiate less glamorous ties. It's hard to take any credibility from the article with this in mind, the whole thing seems fuelled by blind bias to lfc and a bitter hatred of mufc. Liverpool supporters over the last 12 months or so have proved themselves to lack a lot of knowledge about how the game is run and as someone already said are becoming a laughing stock. Saying referees get demoted is almost as daft as when Benitez said the fixtures were hand picked by Alex Ferguson. If you knew how things really worked you would be able yo spend your spare time doing something more valuable than writing silly little conspiracy theories. I'd suggest putting more effort finding out the only 'truth' that really matters which is what really happened that day at Hillsborough.


Rubbish, just another ABU. You'd have more credibility if you'd done the same level of research for every team in the Premiership and see how it compares. Until this is done this holds no weight whatsoever. Oh, and if you really want to investigate this, have a look at Liverpool down the years when they were winning things (a long time ago), teams got absolutely robbed against them. Just a bitter bitter article, pile of garbage.


Oh and Brian Barwick, ex chief exec of FA was a confessed Liverpool fan. And David Fein, ex Arsenal chairman was on FA board for years. Hell even David Sheepshanks when he was on FA was connected to Ipswich. Articles on any bias towards them please? Ermmm somehow don't think you will.


More scientific evidence ... http://www.refereedecisions.co.uk/how-the-refs-treated-man-u-last-season/

For impartiality in the FA board - NO CLUB should have a representative on it. Otherwise the perception of bias will always be there.

Chris Foy's demotion to League 2 is convenient at best and suspect at worst. In any case it could have been changed to avoid the appearance of corruption or other such accusations. He hasn't reffed a Lge 2 match since 2008 but suddenly he is after criticism from Fergie ? Couple that with previous demotions and the perception of problems will exist. Like it or not Man U fans that is the way it is.

Sadly the PL and the referees don't seem to recognize the perception that they are creating of unfairness whether accurate or not.

If you have 16 PL referees the maximum they should ref each PL club in a PROPER rotation system is 4 times each season including cup matches. Simple maths. But to exclude referees for in excess of 30 matches from one particular club is just wrong.

Oh and btw it's not just LFC fans who have a problem with this. The link above is written by an Arsenal fan.


Couple that with Martinez getting a £10k fine today for criticizing a referee and Ferguson getting away scot (!) free for his outright criticism of Foy and it's pretty clear there is something wrong.

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