Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday February 28 2012
Anyone in any doubt of Manchester united's domineering of the English game need look no further than next weekend's refeering appointments...
Nevermind the rarely reported likes of the rags securing 6 home Premier League fixtures last year following each Champions League commitment whereas City were forced to travel, it's strange comings and goings over officialdom that are raising a few eyebrows this week. Tourettes card flourisher Martin Atkinson will referee the crucial Spurs v united clash on Sunday.
Rewind almost one year ago to the day and Stamford Bridge. Chelsea 2, united 1. Atkinson at the controls. The rags had gone ahead through one of only two shots on target all game only to be overhauled by a David Luiz strike and a Frank Lampard penalty. Nemanja Vidic was then sent off in the final minute for a second bookable offence.
Sir Alex Ferguson went mental, ripping into the officials as they left the pitch and offloading to the rag smugfest MUTV proclamining he'd 'feared the worst' when Atkinson was appointed and 'We need a fair referee and a strong referee and we didn't get one.' - There were of course no such complaints when Atkinson afforded Taggart's team an inexplicable 7 minutes of injury time at the swamp's Manchester derby in September 2009...
The Football Association's regulatory commission had to act and charged Taggart with the obvious. He reacted with a defiant appeal and ordered a mardy 10 day media blackout for his club. The ludicrous appeal subsequently failed and the affable Scot shipped a 5 game touchline ban including 2 games which had been suspended for claiming Alan Wiley wasn't fit enough to referee one month after Atkinson's derby gift.
Fast forward to this week and the fact that Atkinson has not refereed a Manchester united game since that fateful day in London.
Since then, he has overseen 41 games across all competitions and during that time officiated every single one of the Premier League's current clubs. Except of course, Manchester united.
Factor in that despite numerous late challenges and repeated dissent this season, every rag's favourite scouser Wayne Rugney has yet to pick up a Premier League card. In fact, he was only booked twice late last season following his own suspension for swearing into the camera at West Ham last April. Funny old thing.
The odds are that somebody is going to get booked at White Hart Lane. Atkinson unleashed 156 cards last season in 41 games including 13 reds. This season he's chalked up 116 already in 29 games dishing out another 9 reds.
Whatever happens, it would be interesting to hear a Football Association explanation as to why Atkinson and Ferguson have not crossed paths for so long. Atkinson declined to referee last month's FA Cup tie between Liverpool and united due to a virus.
all times East Manchester
Sa 03 Mar 15:00 Bolton, The Etihad, PL
Th 08 Mar 18:00 S Lisbon, Estádio José Alvalade, ELR16
Sa 11 Mar 14:00 Swansea, Liberty Stadium, PL
Th 15 Mar 20:05 S Lisbon, The Etihad, ELR16
Mo 19 Mar 20:00 Chelsea, The Etihad, PL
Sa 24 Mar 17:30 Stoke, Britannia Stadium, PL
Sa 31 Mar 15:00 Sunderland, The Etihad, PL
Date:Tuesday February 28 2012
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