No Official Response to WHY Mancunian Ref Taylor Was Picked for Man Utd Match – by Rob Atkinson

Former Man U favourite Howard Webb celebrates with his team-mates... but at least he wasn't from Manchester

Former Man U favourite Howard Webb celebrates with his team-mates… but at least he wasn’t from Manchester…

Leeds United fans have cause to remember Wythenshawe referee Anthony Taylor – not too fondly, though – for his performance in a game between United and Middlesbrough early in the 2011/12 season. Taylor contrived to send off Jonny Howson and Max Gradel of Leeds as well as Boro’s Tony McMahon in a game which then United manager Simon Grayson described as “not having a dirty tackle in it”. Middlesbrough won the match 1-0.

That might well establish Mr. Taylor as a referee of less than optimal competence, certainly in Whites fans’ eyes – and yet he has gone on to officiate regularly in the Premier League, appearing to court controversy at about the same rate as any other referee on the roster – less, even, than some that we could name (and have named in the past). The other week, though, proud Mancunian Taylor dropped a particularly public clanger when failing to award a clear penalty against Man U at Newcastle United‘s St James Park, in a game won by the visitors with a late goal. Tim Krul gifted an easy chance to Ashley Young, who snapped it up before he could even remember to dive – and another Man U smash and grab was done. Same as it ever was, you might say. A penalty not given against Man U and a spawny late winner for them too – what’s so unusual?

The major issue here, though, may not have been the missed penalty – nor even the unsavoury spitting incident that Cisse of Newcastle admitted and apologised for, with Evans of Man U characteristically denying any wrongdoing, in accordance with club policy – despite clear video evidence. No, the real bugbear here is the fact that – for no apparent reason and with no possible justification – the authorities saw fit to appoint a Mancunian referee for a match involving a Manchester-based club.

To my knowledge, there was always a rule whereby a referee from the same area as one of the teams contesting a match would not be selected to take that fixture. That just seems like good, plain common sense, and I haven’t heard of any change to what was always a rigidly-observed convention. The not exactly infrequent situation whereby what seemed an obvious penalty was not awarded against Man U becomes even more unfortunate and embarrassing when combined with this additional and avoidable referee situation. Why on earth would the authorities court even more controversy than arises as a matter of routine, every time Man U get off scot free on a stonewall penalty shout?

Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything has been a loud and frequent critic of the kid-glove treatment that is still handed out to the Pride of Devon, even now in these post-Ferguson times when – presumably – the powers that be are in somewhat less of a state of abject fear than they were when the Demented One was in charge of Man U and, by extension, the game. So this is not, perhaps, a voice that will be seen to be particularly impartial or unbiased. And yet the facts speak for themselves. It is simply true to state that rarely a month goes by without some blatantly naff decision in favour of the denizens of the Theatre of Hollow Myths. It’s no secret, and there’s plenty of internet wringing of hands that goes on about it, with a predictably bland and complacent attitude on the part of both Man U, their hordes of armchair fans and the nominal rulers of the game. But to have them allocated their own, local referee as well, for a game that might well have been tricky for van Gaal’s men had decisions gone as they perhaps should – that really rather does take the biscuit, if not the actual urine sample.

I’ve not been able to find any guidance or regulation which formalises rules as regards geographical origin of referees insofar as it’s relevant to any particular fixture – I’m aware that there are some pretty nifty sleuths out there though, so any input to clear the matter up would be welcome. But it’s surely just common sense and good practice to select an official who hails from as far as possible from the homes of any two competing teams. It just makes for a fairer feel to proceedings. And – let’s face it – you could actually choose a ref from Devizes, and he’d be just as likely an adoring fan of “Nitid” as not. Those glory-seekers are all over the place, after all. But it rubs the nose of every fan of every other club in the league well and truly in it, to make such a daft and open-to-suspicion appointment as a Mancunian ref for a Man U match.

Are they really that stupid at the FA and/or EPL? Are they really that loftily complacent and arrogant as not to bother even giving the impression of ensuring fair play?? The distasteful combination of yet another bottled penalty decision, together with the fact that it was a blatantly Manc ref that bottled it, leaves a decidedly nasty taste in the mouth.

So what are these idiots and incompetents actually up to? I first asked this question immediately after the game in question. Predictably, there has been zero response. But, surely, it’s time we were told.

23 responses to “No Official Response to WHY Mancunian Ref Taylor Was Picked for Man Utd Match – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Surely if he’s a manc he supports city. Be more worried if he came from devon, surrey, barnsley or China


    • With respect, that’s not the point. Contrary to popular belief, there ARE some scum fans in Manchester. Taylor says he’s an Altrincham fan – but that doesn’t change the fact that transparent fairness is the victim here.


  2. Make em have it rob’s a Leeds anthem , stand up if you hate man u.


  3. Rob you couldn,t make it up we should be used to it by now but words fail me


  4. As a toon fan couldn’t agree more I’m now just waiting for poor old jonny to get off with the spitting incedent , apparently the ref is listed as now being Cheshire based . But given cashley was charging toon fans 77 quid for the match on wednedsay I dont actually think he gives a toss


    • Historically in Cheshire,[1] in 1931 Wythenshawe was transferred to the City of Manchester, which had begun building a massive housing estate there in the 1920s to resolve the overpopulation and deprivation in its inner-city slums. (Wiki)

      The fact is, it’s only 9 miles from Old Trafford, and that’s far closer than the normal “margin of safety”.


  5. I had a bad feeling when Dwight York who was covering the game on sky said Newcastle had a blatant pen turned down .That messed up my bet had i known that fool was from scum land was in charge id have left them out .I just hope the ref in our game 2moz is leeds born (no chance). 2-0 win 2moz easy.


  6. Mike Lawson

    Premiership referees Mark Clattenburg (Newcastle) and Michael Oliver (Newcastle) are not allowed to officiate at either St James’ Park, nor the Stadium of Light. Did Anthony Taylor get a lift on the Manchester United team coach?


  7. Steve Emsley

    One rule for one and the others do as they are told. Football is losing it just look at the FEFA mess. I have come to the conclusion in my later years that all the rulers of the game are all bent I think they have been taking guidance from the Banks.
    But we are Leeds united and we don’t give a U no wot
    Give them a shout for me at the game to day as i am in Perth WA



  8. Rob,
    Ran the line and ref’d some games whilst in the services,seem to recall dim n distant…emphasis being on dim, that FA rules state the you should give notice if you have any affiliation to clubs involved in matches you officiate. Being honest I don’t know if this is the case with Proffessionals(REF’S) is there any way you could research this on t’net???
    Or is there someone whoes more clued up n up todate?


  9. To be fair Rob I would have been more concerned about the ref being a man yoo fan if he’d come from Paignton or the home counties!! he must be a city fan surely? If not I’m sure the F.A will carry out a full and frank enquiry into it- after all they have a proud record in ensuring the credibility of the association is up held do they not?


  10. Graham Atkins once flagged offside for a scum goal at Elland Road that wasn’t. From Bradford and apparently has a Leeds tattoo on his upper arm if that’s any consolation


  11. Why is there no reference to the fact he was in charge for the Hull City v Man City game earlier in the season. Based on the fact he comes from the south of the City his alliances are likely to be more with Man City. I think you all need to move on and realise, like the 1980s, Leeds United are no longer of any significance to Manchester United.


    • So, that’ll be why the Man U fans sing about Leeds every single game then – right. I didn’t know about Man City v Hull, but the same principle applies – though City hardly have the same name as the Pride of Devon for being handed the odd advantage by the game’s craven rulers.


  12. The same thing happened with City last season when Greater Manchester ref Lee Mason was given the Man City v Liverpool. Liverpool had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside and Suarez maybe could have had a penalty. Rodgers in his post match press conference questioned why a ref from the Manchester (even though Mason is from Bolton, 12 miles away) area should have been given the game, which could be viewed as worse considering this was a game between Merseyside and Manchester clubs. Therefore the pride of Stockport have have benefited in same way that you have suggested with Taylor and Manchester United.


  13. Pingback: ‘Grateful’ Man United to Unveil Statues of Rupert Murdoch and Howard Webb – by Rob Atkinson | Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything

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