Tag Archives: Devon

FA Defends Appointment of Man U Fan for Home Fixture Against Leeds United – by Rob Atkinson

Paul Pogba congratulates Taylor on another fine decision for Man Utd

In a move hardly calculated to reinforce perceptions of fairness and impartiality, the FA have chosen Wythenshawe born official Anthony Taylor as referee for this Sunday’s meeting of Manchester United and Leeds United at Old Trafford (kick off 4:30pm). It is, of course, quite possible that this appointment is free from any taint of bias and favouritism. The question remains: with the choice of any Premier League referee, why pick one from a man u stronghold six miles from Old Trafford, whose family are strongly rumoured to hold season tickets for the Red Devils?

Actually, it’s not quite true to say that any Premier League referee could have been picked to referee this particular match, as Yorkshire’s Martin Atkinson is ineligible due to his White Rose roots – do you begin to see the difficulty here?

The problem for Anthony Taylor is that he does not wish to be excluded from involvement in some of the so-called “biggest games in the Premier League calendar”, and is therefore most anxious to scotch any rumours that he has any emotional ties to Old Trafford. In fact, he claims, winking furiously and concealing crossed fingers behind his back, he’s a supporter of Altrincham FC – so that’s ok then.

It is further claimed in defence of Mr Taylor’s impartiality that he is a founder member of a Manchester-wide organisation of football people which was formed to promote Mancunian football as a whole, rather than the interests of any one club. Soccer Can Unite Manchester (SCUM) has been close to Anthony’s heart for many years, according to one neutral Mancunian who wished to be known only as Fred the Red. Another witness for Mr Taylor who doesn’t even live in Manchester, hailing instead from Devon, has pointed out that Leeds United’s last visit to Old Trafford had ended up with man u going out of the FA Cup. “We’m didn’t even get a penalty and Jerrrmaaaaine Beckford was only a yaaaaaarrrd onsoide, and it wasn’t fair,” said our man in Ilfracombe, neutrally, “So ‘opefully Aaaaanthony can help set thaaaat record straight”.

All eyes will be on Anthony Taylor this Sunday, which is perhaps not the most conducive of circumstances in which to operate in a professional manner. Everybody is also aware that Man U have had an extraordinarily large number of penalties awarded this season and last, and many punters are placing heavy bets, not on whether the home side will get a spot kick, but rather on how many they will get, with two being the marginal favourite. But the FA have defended their appointment of Mr Taylor, saying “We are sure that, as Howard Webb has now retired, Anthony is the best possible man for this match, and that he will act entirely as we expect him to. Come on yooouu Reeee-eds!”

Alan Hardaker, 108, has let it be known (through a medium) that he entirely approves of this appointment.

Can Liverpool’s Suarez “Do a Cantona” on Comeback Against Man U? – by Rob Atkinson

Sic 'em, Suarez!

Sic ’em, Suarez!

There was a feeling of inevitability all those years ago when Eric Cantona, enfant terrible and martial arts amateur extraordinaire, returned from his lengthy FA-imposed ban for being the true incarnation of “The Shit Who Hit The Fan”, to face the old enemies of Man U.  Liverpool were the visitors, before an expectant crowd of Devon day-trippers at the Theatre of Hollow Myths.  The script was written, and although the scousers aimed to poop Eric’s party by taking the lead, the man from Marseilles had the last laugh, ensuring a draw for his side with – you’ve guessed it – a penalty.

All of that was a long, long time ago – but these old rivals have memories like elephants (and backsides to match, for many of them).  So Cantona’s ban, comeback and celebratory strike will not have been forgotten by fans of either side.  Even though the personnel will be almost entirely different, give or take a superannuated Ryan Giggs, there will be many who might wonder if that old script might not be taken out and dusted off.  Man U host Liverpool in the League Cup next week.  Suarez is available for the first time since being banned for biting without due care and attention.  He’d love to take a chunk out of Man U’s season – wouldn’t he just. Could it really, actually happen?

Think of it: Suarez is the man that the Man U faithful love to hate after his run-in with their own less-than-likable Patrice Evra – and the subsequent Handshakegate Scandal. All very petty and handbags of course, as matters relating to bruised Man U egos tend to be.  But these things matter when you have a close rivalry based on mutual antipathy between Merseyside and, erm, most of the South of England.  Can Suarez, like Cantona so many years before, make his long-awaited comeback from durance vile, in the media glare – and, again like Cantona, stuff it up a hated enemy?

There would be such a neat reciprocity about it, if it actually came to pass.  How funny, how satisfactory it would be.  Cantona made his mark at the Liverpool fans’ end of the Theatre of Hollow Myths – could Suarez possibly end up laughing in the faces of the Stretford End?

I have a great respect for football omens and fate in general.  It’s tempting to look up the odds against Liverpool to win 2-1, Suarez to score at any time.  Anything above 10-1 might just tempt me to have a punt on that.  Come on, Liverpool!!