Writer: Grassy Knollington
Date:Tuesday January 24 2012
'Infamy, Infamy, they've all got it in for me!' shrieked film legend Kenneth Williams' Julius Caesar in Carry On Cleo. This season we've seen Carry On Clattenburg and Co...
The refereeing standard at the highest level of English football is absolute garbage. For some reason you won't find many hacks in The Street of Shame* pursuing this fact. Numerous decisions and glaring inconsistencies have beggared belief, in many cases all but ruining contests as more and more paranoid top whack paying fans assess the next referee's form before that of their team's opponents.
League leaders Manchester City are not the only club to bemoan the random, often populist scattergun distribution of yellow and red cards or inexplicable non use which mirror the rambling overseeing of the English Football Association. The FA's seemingly jerry built fixture computer and creative cup draws keep on knocking out big money generating clashes at will when required...but that's another story.
Yet their refereeing rotation is odd to say the least. Phil Dowd is about to officiate his 5th City game of the season, whereas Peter Walton, who hasn't seen an Etihad shirt yet in this campaign will referee his 3rd consecutive Everton v City game next week. The Citizens lost the previous two.
In a season where Martin 'Fergie Time' Atkinson, the serial card flourishing mentalist has raised his right arm a whopping 105 times in 25 games yet saw fit not to send off a Wigan defender for a basketball manoeuvre which denied the predatory Sergio Aguero a clear run on goal, anything is now possible.
City fans have developed a pretty thick skin since His Highness Sheikh Mansour came to town 3.5 years ago. Even this very day one of Wapping's finest droaned on about City ruining football again. As if football wasn't ruined long before liddle ciddy dared to challenge the accepted elite.
And this is where the conspiracy theories kick in.
But for Chris Foy, the referee who refused to sanction a crazy stamping attack by Spurs' Tom Huddlestone on Bolton's Johan Elmander last season, City would have been led through the bulk of a pivotal January by arguably the finest centre half in Europe, Vincent Kompany. As it stands, united's limitations were still shown up by 10 man City in the FA Cup contest that Foy savaged inside 12 minutes. But the damage was done and the cup holders exited the tournament to yet another showing of derby elation by united's support previously unprecedented in the modern era.
The rags had desperately hoped to see City humiliated the way they were torn apart at the swamp last October. Intriguingly and excluding Kompany's dismissal in the FA Cup 2-3, since the 1-6 City have been factually subjected to hardline refereeing.
In the 8 league games prior to the 1-6, The Blues registered 8 bookings. 4 of them coming in the 1-5 win at Spurs.
In the 8 league games that followed, The Blues shipped 12 yellows and 3 reds. Despite initially threatening cricket scores, City dropped 5 points in two of the red carded fixtures.
In the subsequent 6 matches City have seen perfectly legitimate goals disallowed, wreckless opposition tackling and handballs go unpunished, 7 more bookings, an unbelievably soft red and an imminent retroactive red.
Considering the thrilling football that Roberto Mancini and his squad have strived to maintain, they hardly constitute a dirty side, despite the fact they are a strong and athletic young team. The foul stats back that up. Yet repeated adverse decisions have had undeniable impact and have factually arrested Mancio's side from breaking clear of united at the top of the table.
What's all that about, then?
*Street of Shame copyright Private Eye
all times East Manchester
Tomorrow 19:45 Liverpool, Anfield, LCSF2
Tu 31 Jan 20:00 Everton, Goodison Park, PL
Sa 04 Feb 17:30 Fulham, The Etihad, PL
Su 12 Feb 16:00 Aston Villa, Villa Park, PL
Th 16 Feb 20:05 Porto, Estádio do Dragăo, ELR32
We 22 Feb 20:05 Porto, The Etihad, ELR32
Sa 25 Feb 17:30 Blackburn, The Etihad, PL
Date:Tuesday January 24 2012
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