The FA = Fergie’s Association?

The FA has recently been under fire again after handing Chelsea Captain John Terry a 4 match ban for racist incidents, after previously banning Liverpool striker Luis Suarez for 8 matches for a similar incident. The Football Association has gone through many controversies in their history… yet one that never really amounts to anything is what happens at Old Trafford on a almost weekly basis.

As many rival fans have noticed, Manchester United always seem to have the upper-hand when it comes to refereeing and close 50-50 decisions by the referee almost always go their way. This phenomenon has been well discussed, with United fans simply dismissing the theories of rival fans.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has recently hinted at the FA’s unfair favoritism of Manchester United when he said that he cannot talk about refs at Old Trafford as he fears he will receive a fine for doing so. AVB was asked if he thinks that close calls tend to go the way of Ferguson’s men, to which he responded:

“It’s an interesting question. It’s a question that, in this country, is impossible to respond to.

It would be good if we could respond, but last year [when AVB was Chelsea manager] I received a very hard fine, and I won’t make the same mistake again.”

The question came after Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was charged by the FA over comments he made following the Latics’ away loss to United in September.


Luckily for me, I am in no way affiliated to the FA, so there’s no way they can fine or ban me for anything I say or write.  I’ve always known that somewhere, something is not quite right and I now have some stats to prove this. You know what they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. The stats below definitely proves that there’s smoke…

  • Mike Dean, referee, when Blackburn beat United 2-3, hasn’t refereed a United game since.
  • Mike Dean, referee, in 2010, after United’s defeat to Chelsea, was demoted to the Championship.
  • Wiley, called “fat and unfit” by Alex after United’s draw with Sunderland, “agreed to retire” that season.
  • Clattenburg (reffed in the 1-6 loss to Man City) hasn’t refereed a single United game after that Manchester derby. (has acted as 4th official in 3)
  • Martin Atkinson – Involved in United’s defeat to Chelsea, criticized by Sir Alex, hasn’t refereed United since.
  • Ex ref Jeff Winter openly stating that he hadn’t been given a United game for 2 years after sending Keane off.
  • Howard Webb has been United’s most used referee since the defeat to Manchester City.
  • More than 18% of the penalties Webb has awarded in his 8 year career have been to United.
  • United’s CEO is on the board of the English FA. (Just in case the refs don’t do their ‘jobs’.)
  • FA reacts to Ferguson’s criticisms by only appointing referees he approves of.
  • Ferguson not happy with Chris Foy, Foy referees a League Two game. something he hasn’t done since the 2001-02 season.

Some interesting stats don’t you think?

Ofcourse I don’t expect United fans to understand or acknowledge this post, as they will probably give the normal response of “19 titles” (read here for more about that.) For the rest of us, these stats simply offer a ‘proof’ of what we have known all along as well as giving us some ammo to throw at United fans when discussing referee’s and decisions.

Thanks to @daveTheCarGuy for sending me the stats.

Written for The Pundits by @thatWallace

The Pundits

Founded by Ryan Wallace & Keegan Kruger, The Pundits is a South African Sport Blog & Podcast that brings braai-time banter to our readers and viewers online.

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  • This is brilliant!! After reading this entire article only 1 question springs to mind: why even bother supporting any other team?
    The refs love us, the FA love us, and Webb is our best player. If I supported any other team, I’d be crying right now.

    Just got 1 point on this though & I only saw it in an RT earlier, just to play devil’s advocate….Debatable Decisions is a panel who sit down & decide if decisions were correct or not. Take a look at last season. MUFC would have won if the decisions were correct:

    Now I for 1 hope that Debatable Decisions is wrong & that the refs really do favour MUFC. I hope Webbdinho scores a header for MUFC against Newcastle this weekend. I’d love it. I don’t buy into conspiracies much at all, but I do like the thought of the FA & the refs being on MUFC’s side. I wish they would stop banning Fergie. In fact, I think he’s been punished by the FA more than any other manager.

    PS. Wallace, if you’re out there, do you remember the last PL title that Chelsea won? It was off the back of a Drogba goal that was exactly 1,438 cm’s offside. Daylight robbery! I accepted it though. It’s football. It happens. We owe you one for that. Us & Mr Webbdinho!
    Anyway, I enjoyed this piece a lot & hope the conspiracy is true….at least till we get 20!

  • Yeah, someone sent me that link earlier, pretty interesting. RE the Drogba offside. Offside it was yes, the way I justified it at the time was looking at all the kak decisions that’s been made against us resulting in Chelsea falling out of comps….that one was just due, you know, karma and all that.

  • I saw this article earlier in the week and funny enough these stats were published by a Journo that supports LFC. I think I’ve said enough about this topic!

    PS. Has Fergie been blamed for Terry’s ban yet? 😉

  • Its been pretty obvious to most whom watch the league but that’s life in the EPL. Rafa stated the facts, he was labelled a loon more for his outburst but no one ever went through what he said. Likewise with these, the first thing said is that “it was published by a journo that supports Liverpool”. How about we analyse each of the facts/ accusations and see if they’re true or made up bullshit? You will find they’re true but then the average Utd fan might claim its pure coincidence. Each to their own I guess, I’m part of the group that thinks there is something going in with the FA and United but I’m a Liverpool supporter so will probably be labelled as “bitter”

  • Man Utd, the period stain on the tampon that is the FA… Oops did I say that out loud? GFYS

  • You’re clutching at straws here.

    “He presented flawed statistics. To provide a reputable case you would also have to present the stats for everyone else and also the stats for the times where the referees went on to officiate games after questionable calls. For this reason the point raised is incomplete of factual relevance and thus void until a whole picture can be assessed.”

  • The other day, some tool posted something over twitter and on his blog about this one and that one scoring at this time and that time (for Liverpool) which all added up to 96 – the Hillsborough number.

    Gerrard scored at 45.51 Shelvey was sent off at 38.58
    and Raphael and RVP scored at 51.45 and 80.16 apparently this all add up to 96, time match finished. How does this work out.

    Now go watch the game and tell me how wrong those figures are.

    Point? People make up shit and everyone just goes with it an accepts it as FACT.

    For example: (source: Wikipedia)

    On 3 October 2009 Sir Alex Ferguson launched a scathing attack on Wiley in a post-match interview following Manchester United’s 2–2 draw against Sunderland, complaining that Wiley was ‘not fit enough for a game of that standard’ and accused Wiley of ‘walking up the pitch for the second goal needing a rest’.[11] Ferguson received a four game touchline ban (two of which were suspended) and a £20,000 fine for his comments.[12]

    Ferguson has since apologised to Wiley but stated that the overall fitness of referees in the Premier League needs to be addressed.[13]

    On 20 January 2010, Wiley did not penalise Arsenal’s William Gallas for his tackle on Bolton’s Mark Davies in a sequence that led to an Arsenal goal. Bolton manager Owen Coyle said that Gallas should have been sent off.[14]

    Wiley was accused of a further blunder-prone performance the following month when he disallowed a late Ryan Shawcross goal for Stoke City against Manchester City and did not punish a blatant kick from Patrick Vieira on Glenn Whelan.[15]

    In April 2010, Wiley was reported to have performed inconsistently in his handling of an FA Cup semi-final match between Portsmouth and Tottenham.[16]

    In July 2010, Wiley retired from refereeing and agreed to become a full time referee coach, sharing his expertise in developing the next generation of referees.

    ON OCTOBER 3 2009 Ferguson made the comments…. July 2010 the guy retires after a string of shocking decisions NOT EVEN INVOLING MANCHESTER UNITED.

    Why were you even allowed to post this?

  • Mate, I received the stats in a email, and put it up as is. I’m not a journalist that needs to research every little thing. The post was meant to entice banter around a topic that people often banter about: Man United seem to always get calls their way. Obviously refs get calls wrong for all teams etc.

    Stats like this could be found for any team, words can be changed and manipulated with key timelines etc being left out to suit the message. At the end of the day, the high trees catch all the wind and that’s why United will always be the team that gets picked on.

  • Personally I have no problem with banter/debate. Bring it on.

    However, If I were to state Arsenal are shit because:

    1) Arsene Wenger is never at an Arsenal training session.
    2) Wenger doesn’t talk to his assistants during a game.
    3) Out of 14 games, in the last six months, Wenger has not given a team talk at half time in 13 of them.

    So now, that must explain why Arsenal haven’t won the league, right?

    False facts really don’t make for a fun banter, do they?

  • Remember Justin, there’s a difference between ‘false facts’ and bending the truth, so to speak. In other words, leaving out key information does not make something false.

    To use your example about Wiley: Fergie did call him “fat and unfit” and he did retire later that season. This is the truth. Criticism from other coaches was left out, along with the timeline in which it happened, this was to make it look like Fergie had something to do with his retirement…. bending the truth…but not false. Insinuating something… but not false.

  • Oh nonsense!

    This was not “bending the truth” – this was false facts!

    The fact that Ferguson called him whatever is true.

    The fact that he retired due to said comments, is false!

    There’s no bending the truth here. Either it’s truth (fact), or it’s false (a lie).

    You’re not going to win this one I’m afraid. This post is hereby noted as “ridiculous”.

  • It does not say he retired due to or because of the comments. It does not offer a reason for the retirement, it simply suggests a reason. Suggestion cannot be seen as false facts.

    But to avoid going in circles here, I’ll agree to disagree. And ridiculous yes, because it is ridiculous for one club to have so many refs on their pay-roll 😉 *runs away*

  • Anyway, since David Gill is now vice-chairman of the FA & everyone will scream CONSPIRACY, I thought I’d come back & explain the background of the FA & what happened.
    The stuff you read on Twitter is generally put a certain way to make you believe something & it works. What nobody bothers doing is researching after reading it.

    I’ll start with Fergie first:
    Fergie has been punished more times by the FA than any other manager in the league.
    May 2011 – commented on Howard Webb. Warned by FA (along with Ancelotti)
    March 2011 – Fergie got a 5 (FIVE) match ban & fined £30,000
    August 2010 – fined for his boycott of the BBC
    Nov 2009 – Fergie got a 4 (FOUR) game ban & fined £20,000
    Nov 2008 – Fergie got a 2 game ban & fined £10,000
    If anything, it appears the FA actually don’t like Fergie, unless missing nearly 3 months of football and paying nearly £100,000 is something friends do to each other. I don’t think the FA like Fergie that much since he doesn’t STFU. And I think he should. He’s old and talks a bit of shit now, but favouritism? I don’t think so given the amount of times they fine/ban him (and Rooney, Rio, Cantona). I’ll agree he talks a bit of shit though.

    Ok, but here’s the meat of story. A bit long, but it interests me…maybe it interests you too:

    1. The first independent (not through the FA ranks) chairman of the FA was in 2008 – David Triesman. He is a lifelong Tottenham supporter & remains one today. Obviously, Spurs didn’t get an special treatment since it’s actually a board (more than one person) that make the decisions.
    2. The next & current chairman is David Bernstein. He was Man City’s CEO up until a few years ago (I think when the Shiekh took over). Once again, no conflict of interest since the FA is a board & the exec positions are voted upon by the FA members (not an individual club like Man City, Spurs, MUFC).
    3. David Gill was a board member of the FA. He shared the board with the above as well as Phil Gartside (Bolton’s chairman…Bolton were relegated….shows how much influence he had), Barnet’s chairman (also not a BPL team) and a director from Middlesborough as well as others. Gill had as much power on the board as Bolton & Barnet’s chairman.
    4. The man Gill replaces as vice-chairman is Sir Dave Richards who is Sheffield Wednesday’s director or chairman (ask Joe about him).
    –> So far we have a conflict of interest with MUFC, Bolton, Barnet, Man City, Sheffield Wednesday, Middlesborough, Tottenham, Doncaster Rovers (FA Chairman in early 2000’s), West Bromich Albion (FA Chairman when the Premier League was formed) and a club called Pegasus (Chairman in the 80’s) right?
    5. Here’s one for the LFC fans out there. The CEO of the FA from 2005-2008 was Brian Barwick, quite a huge Liverpool fan. He’s the one who appointed the mistake known as Steve McLaren. CONSPIRACY?
    6. ALL of the clubs in England are part of the FA.
    7. The FA can overrule any decision made by Chairman (ex-Man City) or CEO (Altrincham FC fan) just in case the board think Altrincham are being favoured in any way.
    –> At this point you might wanna know how they come to be on the board of the FA. As far as I know, you are voted onto the board by other CEO’s of Premier League teams. Yes indeed, Gill is there because your team’s CEO voted for him to be there. Why should he be there? He was on the board of the G-14. 14 heavy weights in Europe formed to provide a united (I said United, ha) voice to deal with UEFA & FIFA. Originally it was just MUFC & Liverpool on the G-14, later Arsenal. Milan’s, Juve, Barca & Madrid too.
    8. So Gill has the history, knowledge, stood with the LFC member on the G-14, works under Man City’s ex-CEO, amongst many other CEO’s & was voted onto the board by other team’s CEO’s. He was nominated for a promotion to vice. Also not so much of a conspiracy since he was nominated (not by himself I’m told).

    Anyway, take what you want from that. At the end of the day I believe tactics & players will win you the league. Sorry for the essay!!

    Oh and here’s something to start more debate….I encourage you to take a look at this site. Interesting stuff & lots more to debate –

The Pundits

Founded by Ryan Wallace & Keegan Kruger, The Pundits is a South African Sport Blog & Podcast that brings braai-time banter to our readers and viewers online.

We share sport news, banter and products across various online channels including our live sports podcast on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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