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I read this today in a blog about United.

I think it is true - and very funny too.


Manchester United were branded the “luckiest team in the league†in a recent poll
announced a few weeks back. Whilst I will definitely admit we've had our share
of good luck over the years, the pot has definitely been drying up in recent times,
with referees too gutless to give the right decision for fear of becoming another
statistic which proves what they all say. The fact that their wages are paid by the
FA, who notoriously have different, less lenient rules for our players, is forgotten.

When I returned home to catch the last minute or two of the Merseyside derby on
the radio, after watching the first half in the pub, I was frustrated. You always
want to see the dippers drop points, even if they are already beneath us in the
league. So to hear that they got a penalty in the dying moment because of a Phil
Neville handball did not leave me best pleased.

As the commentators ran through the events of the game, and I read a couple of
write ups online, I couldn't quite believe what I was reading. It appeared as
though Kuyt should have walked in the second half for a two footed challenge a
couple of feet off the ground. P Neville's career is in tact thanks to his ability to
out jump the dirty Dutch striker. It also appeared as though Liverpool's first
penalty was a bit soft. I also read that the referee had taken out a yellow card
for the defender, only to change his mind to a red after a few strong words from
Gerrard. It also appeared as though Everton had two good penalty shouts
turned down. Surely this couldn't be right?

Then lo and behold, I watch Match of the Day, and I see all these events for
myself, and watch on in disbelief. I saw Hyypia's own goal and again laughed at
the sheer stupidity shown when trying to clear a ball with his right foot which
could have been hooked away easily with his left. The ball rifled in to the top
corner, with Reina standing no chance.

Then I see the penalty, and on first viewing, looked like a good penalty shout.
Gerrard sprinted down the park and was always going to be first to the ball.
However, when the replay is shown, you can see both players pulling on each
other's shirts. As Gerrard approaches the area, he's looking off balance, and
contact from the defender's leg is enough to send Gerrard flying. In true Gerrard
fashion, he splays out both legs, falling on his face, and instantly turning to the
referee. Of course, whilst it is so wrong and so highly publicised when a United
player claims for a penalty, with United being turned down two blatant penalty
calls against Chelsea and Wigan in recent weeks, nothing is said about Gerrard.
Not so big and ****ing hard now are you, throwing yourself to the ground and
kicking your legs out like a little school girl.

Then what happens next beggars belief! Gerrard gets up, sees the ref with a
yellow card in hand, and says something which changes his mind. Instantly, the
referee puts the yellow card away and gets out a red card. How a referee can
change his mind on a decision based on the say so of a player is as ludicrous as
it is corrupt. Everton go down to ten men, and Liverpool are back on even terms
as Kuyt finds the back of the net. It appears as though England are lucky to have
a captain and vice captain who are both so eager to tell referees what to do. If
Terry isn't trying to rip red cards out of referees hands and going unpunished,
Gerrard is demanding red cards are given. When a slimy foreigner signals for the
referee to do just that, doesn't the press rip them apart? Don't the
commentators bang on about how unsportsmanlike it is? But I suppose we're
past the point of demanding sportsmanship from a player who dives, berates
referees and fouls as freely as Gerrard.

Lescott, who was shockingly poor for England midweek, should have won two
penalties, both far stronger claims than the penalty Gerrard earned. The first
shout was due to Finnan, who held both of Lescott's arms behind his back, as he
pulled him away from the ball. The ref didn't bat an eyelid. In the dying seconds,
after Liverpool had been awarded a second penalty, which Kuyt, who shouldn't
have still been on the field, scored, Everton were denied the most blatant
penalty shout you will ever see. Scouse Carragher, who wasn't showing enough
passion to be subbed off like Gerrard, threw Lescott to the ground.

In a game which Everton should have won 3-2, having eleven men on the field,
until injury time when Phil Neville deserved to walk for his hilarious save, they
lost 2-1, thanks to the bent refereeing of Clattenburg. Rafa Benitez, who has
been losing appeal as well as respect and class over the past year, astonishingly
claimed Lescott had dived. “In England you don't like to see players diving so it
was a surprise to me,†he said, in response to being quizzed about the stonewall
penalty Everton were denied.

Seventeen years have passed since Liverpool won the league, and this is their
year the dippers claim. After watching a game which illustrated the dippers' never
failing life skill, robbing people blind, teams challenging for the title will be
forgiven for not shaking in their boots. Not every week will they be gifted a result
in the way they were against Everton, with it becoming beyond a joke what the
referee was prepared to do for the sake of allowing Liverpool to leave with all
three points, and they will continue to drop points at the rate they had been
doing over recent weeks. But I'd love for people to remember days like today
when United are being rounded up next time they win a penalty when the game
is already wrapped up. Of course though, along with the ever precious Gerrard,
some things will never be criticised.
 
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