Ref admits United blunder

2009-04-29 07:03

London - Top English referee Howard Webb conceded on Tuesday he had been wrong to award English Premiership leaders Manchester United a crucial penalty against Spurs last Saturday.

Spurs were leading 2-0 at the time when Webb - who only last week was appointed referee for May's FA Cup final - pointed to the spot after judging Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to have fouled Michael Carrick.

That proved to be the turning point as Spurs folded completely to end up on the wrong end of a 5-2 defeat.

"I've looked at it again and I think it was a mistake but we make these decisions honestly," said the 37-year-old, who last year received death threats from Polish fans for awarding Euro 2008 co-hosts Austria a late penalty in their group game which they converted to force a 1-1 draw.

"It's not always easy to see the way the play pans out from pitch level," he told the BBC.

"I could see the Manchester United player touch the ball and saw him get clattered by the goalkeeper but didn't see the extra deviation from the goalkeeper's fingers touching the ball.

"I'm disappointed as I always strive for perfection. I'll look at the tape in detail later in the week and try to avoid it happening again in the future.

"I never want to have a negative impact on a game and I get no pleasure from not reaching the high standards we set ourselves.

"But show me a man who's never made a mistake and I'll show you a man who's done nothing."

Webb admitted in January he had experienced the lowest moment of his career when during the Birmingham Wolves FA Cup third round tie he inadvertently deflected a pass by Birmingham's Radhi Jaidi to Wolves striker Andy Keogh which led to Sam Vokes scoring - Wolves won the match 2-0.

"You want the world to swallow you up at that moment," he said at the time.


  • Nash the Gunner - 2009-04-29 07:52

    So what do those manure supporters have to say of this after they were so convinced that it was a penalty, and here the report also states that the penalty was the turning point in the match.... wonder what the result would have been had the penalty not been awarded....

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 08:06

    Mr Nash... What does the score book say? What is the final score? Man Utd 5 Spurs 2.... No use crying over spilled beans. Man Utd top with a game in hand. Fergie make us proud and get the 3rd title in a row as well as European glory!!! Man Utd FOREVER.

  • The Stretford Faithful - 2009-04-29 08:07

    Everybody has suffered dodgy calls just look at united against everton when Jagielka fouled Welbeck in the box that would have won the game for us but do you hear us complaining at all no not even slightly and Nash the score would have been 4 2 sorry buddy if you cant see the talent skill and persistence in united's game you dont belong watching football

  • Jeff - 2009-04-29 08:15

    Nash - get a real life, MU won, no remarks column. Turning point maybe - however there were FOUR other goals!!!!

  • YNWA - 2009-04-29 08:17

    Man U should delve into the records over the past ten yrs & see how many games they`ve won due to ref`s errors. Time to bring in video refs as done in rugby.

  • maxie - 2009-04-29 08:24

    Nash---the result probably would have been 4-2!!

  • Selwyn - 2009-04-29 08:25

    Hey Nash the Bummer, the score would have been 4-2 can't do the math then hey? Go back to school. BTW wich means by the way for you, where are Bummers on the log hey? Oooooh, suurgat.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 08:35

    See, these little instances are why people say Man Utd get all the decisions their way. BECAUSE THEY DO. Is tv referals the right way to go? who knows. Michael Carrick should join the Didier Drogba school of diving.

  • Ed - 2009-04-29 08:40

    It's good that the ref can admit the mistake. There should be some form of penalty to referees and umpires as there is for players. And a review board for generally poor refs. Unfortunately the goal will stand. And...a 5-2 win doesn't just happen from 1 goal. Man Utd did lift themselves and although they might not have won 5-2 they would have won anyway. Tottenham are indeed a poor team if 1 goal after a 2-0 lead lets them fall apart to a 5 goal beating

  • mark - 2009-04-29 08:47

    I can accept that the ref made a mistake, but it is strange how often these mistakes are made at old trafford in the favour of United! However, they are a great side and deserve to win the league. I am a Spurs fan but this is not the 1st time they have turned the tables on us. A few years ago we lead 3-0 at half time and lost 5-3. No other team will be able to emulate that apart from United ( as much as it pains me to say that, it is the truth).

  • Michael Bowery - 2009-04-29 08:51

    It's just one more very good reason for using the TV replay while the match is in progress. Why not give the captain of both sides two official queries on decisions each half and put it to the guy upstairs for final decision. In an age of instant replays, the problem is FIFA or the English Football Association. Mike

  • Russell - 2009-04-29 08:56

    My daddy is bigger than yours!!

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 08:57

    This was definately the turning point in the game, the question is, there were another 4 goals, but would they have scored it???????????? ManU should thank Howard Webb. Where was the 4th referee, are they all blind?

  • Coolidge - 2009-04-29 09:03

    People who say man u wouldn't have won obviously didn't watch the game... the last 55 minutes was all United. Even with replay after replay it was difficult to see the keeper's fingers grazing the ball. Commenting on that 5 goals to 2 win negatively just makes you sound bitter...

  • SCOUSER - 2009-04-29 09:04

    All you MU supporters - stop ragging on Nash. Obviously, none of you have any clue as to how a crap decision like that - after getting a start like Spurs did - can take the wind out of teams sails. I have no doubt that if Spurs could hang on to their lead for longer the red side would have panicked & folded under the pressure. I'm just surprised that C. Ronaldo wasn't given a spot kick sometime through the game - they will give the guy a penalty if he twists his ankle climbing off the bench...

  • Shaheen - 2009-04-29 09:08

    How long have you people been watching football? There will be a bad decision against (or for you) during the course of the season. That's just how it is. United were denied a blatant penalty in the FA Cup semi, and now got a cheap one in the League, Liverpool got a dubious penalty against Real Madrid (Heinze handball when it actually came off his shoulder) which knocked the wind out of Real sails, but the teams just move forward, knowing that these things do happen. So why should you supporters have to bitch about it. Move on, focus on the next game, and quit looking to the past for excuses.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 09:08

    Guy's saying the score would have been 4-2, i have to disagree. As the article said, it was the TURNING POINT. No penalty, and Utd may just have dropped 3 points. But Spurs are a big team, whose team costs even more than Liverpool & Arsenal, so they should not have 'folded' after the wrong decision, but rather kept their heads up & the pressure on

  • Crofty - 2009-04-29 09:08

    Where are all the comments when a bad decision is made against United?? There have been many decisions made for & against United, that's the way of the game. We don't whine everytime other teams benefit from a bad decision, Have Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal etc never benefited from a bad decision?? Of course they have....many times, you all just choose to acceptit, however when it's United you all get hysterical!!! Clearly you've realised that the only way you can beat us is if you get a little help from the ref 'cause if it comes down to skill you guys are very quiet on that issue!! At the end of the day we would have still won 4 - 2!!

  • taz - 2009-04-29 09:11

    so when stevie g falls(dives) over in the last minute of injury time in a champions league game against benfica we all cant say anything because only united get freebies

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 09:12

    The only reason so many dive, is that the refs fall for it EVERY time. If it always works, why shouldn't some of the MU players also use the tactic?

  • Glen - 2009-04-29 09:12

    I agree the score would have been 4-2 probably. Im sure all UTD supporters wish there team played the way they did in the second half all the time. Refs have a hard job. I take my hat off to them, you got a split second to make a decsion. I dont agree with "The Stretford Faithful" you guys looked for every excuse after that semi-final. Final score was 4-2. Utd against spurs final score 5-2 thats just the way it is!

  • Kevin - 2009-04-29 09:15

    bring in TV refs and have the same debacle and time wasting like the recent test series between SA and aus. Get on with the game. All teams benefit from poor ref decisions: Pool vs Villa (Red card rescinded), Pool vs Chelsea (Jose on about the best team won), Pool vs Hull (Mascherano got 20% off that dive), Pool vs Inter (Materrazzi red card)...wait a minute wait a that a pattern I see

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 09:17

    Nash is right. Yes they scored 4 more goals but the point is that Spurs were holding them out and still threatening on attack. The penalty galvanized united and sure, they were brilliant after that. Again, the penalty WAS A TURNING POINT and had there not been that turning point it could have been a different result.

  • Nazeem - 2009-04-29 09:20

    Here we go again... All the United haters adding their worthless two cents worth.... Anyone of you who hasnt actually ref'ed an actual soccer match, will never know just how hard these decisions are to make. The ref is under immense pressure at that moment to make a decision. Right or wrong it has to be made based on what he has seen. Armchair critics have the luxury of slowmo replays from every conceivable angle and can see whether or not, as in this case, the ball was actually handled by the keeper first. Either way, the result and goal still stands. Thats the game gents, get used to it as I guarantee that there will be as controversial decisions to come in furture games and you can all again get on your high horses and bicker on about it like little girlies... Oh, almost forgot... GLORY GLORY MAN UNITED..... :-)

  • Adrian - 2009-04-29 09:20

    Strange, isnt this the same ref that handed Ronaldo a red card for deliberately hand balling the ball earlier in the season, resulting in him being suspended for a couple of games? I guess he owed us one. Thanks Howard, its all square now!

  • Ravspur - 2009-04-29 09:22

    When your team is weak phsychologically and you know they will collapse after they have conceded a goal, then the only way to beat United would be to make sure that they dont concede a goal. We did that and would have probably done that the whole game long if it wasnt for the REF. So those 4 goals by United would have never happened if we werent broken down. If your United's first goal was an honest goal, it was going to be much much later in the match.

  • Nash the Gunner - 2009-04-29 09:30

    haha why would i cry, werent u guys the people crying just a couple weeks ago bout the ref shouldve been given a red card, come on now don't wana be suurgatte when things dont go ur way and no the score prob. woundn't have been 4-2, as a football supporter u guys should know that a match shifts after a goal. O and if i could give the ref any advice on tonights game it would be to be careful of those manure players around the box, o i bet they will be tumbling all over the show, i would also give Shara Khan a call, he could do with Christiano in one of his movies

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 09:34

    I am always amazed at Man united haters claiming that refs always favour them and this and that, but in the FA cup game againast Everton they did not get a clear penalty and it was okay.There are some people who just hate succesful people, because they have such low self esteem.Man United are doing things right, so lets give to them.

  • Bob - 2009-04-29 09:53

    @maxie and his friends who think 2-0 becomes 4-2 instead of 5-2 when you take the penalty away: This has nothing to do with maths. Why were United down 2-0? Did they look like winning? No, they did not. No penalty = no scent of victory, perhaps even a further hanging of the heads. At best the result would be 2-2, or perhaps 3-3. But it's ok; you smoke good stuff in United land.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 09:57

    All you man u fans saying the score would have been 4-2 anyway are either delusional or just plain dumb. I would understand your reasoning if the score was 3-2 or 4-2 at the time of that lousy decision but at 2-0 down that turned the whole game in your favour. The fact that the ref gave a yellow and not a red card for the challenge just proves he knew it was the wrong decision from the start. Two wrongs don't make a right. Is there is only one thing worse than being a bad loser and that is being bad winners!

  • Nash the Gunner - 2009-04-29 10:15

    Well said anon 9:57 and Bob those manure supporters are way to dilusional, they remind of those Anc supporters, really sad

  • BA - 2009-04-29 10:21

    Justin Timberlake sums it up``TOO LATE TO APOLOGISE,HE HAS GIVEN MAN UNITED THE LEAGUE`` and he must just shut up.If he claims he he did not see the keeper touching the ball,why he did not consult with his assistant?If he says it`s a foul ,because that was a clear scoring opportunity,why issuing a yellow instead of a Red? ,because that`s what the law says...

  • DougieB - 2009-04-29 10:21

    All i'm reading is more proof that MunU supporters are generally just as dumb as Rooney is!!

  • Shaheen - 2009-04-29 10:21

    ~sigh.... bitchers and moaners. I'd like to see all you anti-United people whine about a penalty that was wrongfully given in your favour and protest with vigour on your forum. Can tell you now that would never happen. I rest my case with you lot.... That's just the nature of the Sport. Yes the momentum changed, but who's fault is it that Spurs fell like a row of dominoes? They're a team in the top flight and have decent players. They should never have let in four goals after that. To say that was the deciding factor in entire match? Rubbish, they were still leading 2-1 at the time! If you get rocked with one goal against you while leading 2-0 then you shouldn't complain. Football is about BMT, and the Spurs defense clearly lacked in the second half. Who's to say that United were not coming out all guns blazing, 2-0 down you might as well through everything (including) the kitchen sink at it, to get the goals required in order to win the match? United simply threw caution to the wind and they would have probably won 3-2, because Spurs made the fatal error of defending their lead allowing United to come at them.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 10:24

    All you Liverpool fans going on about the penalty which changed the course of the match...what happened 3 hours earlier when you got a very,very dubious freekick which lead to yr first goal.What happened on the 4th of November last year against Atletico Madrid..was THAT a the last minute??was it????

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 10:30

    Football is a game is a game for gentlemen played by hooligans, and highly overpaid ones at that. They should all be on stage and are a bunch of whingers as are the majority of people whose comments are here. Watch a decent sport and stop complaining about the result - you sound like women at a tea party.

  • maxie - 2009-04-29 10:45

    @ Scouser - Don`t jump on the band wagon because it means worse for Liverfool and @ Bob ofcoarse its got nothing to do with maths. United absolutely dominated the second half from the start. Even if the penalty wasn`t awarded the score would have been 4/5-2. Maybe more maybe less, who knows. All you idiots think the league is designed for United to win. All teams get good, lucky or bad decisions all the time. If you`re going to get upset every time United win either stop watching them or get used to it. Bob, even the stuff in United land is the best!!

  • Red Blooded - 2009-04-29 10:56

    Ha hA HA !!! Everybody who says we wouldn't have won without the penalty are dumb. You're just p!ssed off cos you all saw the halftime score and tuned in hoping to see us lose but were instead treated to a turnaround of note. I want all u Liverfool and ARSEnal supporters to get used to seeing Fergie and co's butts becos thats all u have been seeing try to play catch up. The Premier League should just be presented to United at the BEGINNING of every season while everyone else can just fight for second.

  • Timothy - 2009-04-29 11:27

    As an avid Spurs supporter as well as supporting my familes team (Man UTD), I can only agree with Mark who spoke earlier in this article. Spurs were doing well and commanding the game for the 1st half. I can only imagine what Ferguson said to the United side to make them perform in the 2nd half like they did. All the Supersport presenters predicted a change that worked miracles for United. Nani taken off, Tevez on and Rooney moved to the left wing. The solidity of the attack from there was amazing. Yes - The penalty was a BIG turning point, but I have to admit that the way United was playing, United were going to come back into the game somehow. Spurs needed to hold themselves together more, but collapsed under the constant pressure. But - Seeing the way United put the pressure on, I think any side would have folded. Congratulations to United - I think this game won you the league. Congratulations to Spurs - Redknapp has saved your bacon and brought you out of the relegation battle and within a small chance of Europe. may Spurs win a few more and West Ham lose a few.

  • TrueTreble - 2009-04-29 12:00

    Liverpool supporters were on a high at half time, and but were shocked at the end result. Thats why its all about the penalty. When Gerrard is losing; all he does is carry the ball at speed into the opposition penalty area and falls down when a denfender challenges him. penalty awarded! (That's y when he is not there they lose/draw). In Istanbul, the score supposed to 3 - 2 to A C Milan. The penalty was a con. All the saves that Dudek made were illegal, be'cos he kept moving far off his line, 2 metres before the ball was struck and the referee allowed it.

  • naphy - 2009-04-29 12:43

    "When Chelsea play badly, Chelsea loses the game. When Manchester United play badly, they get a penalty and win anyway" - Jose Mourinho

  • Steven - 2009-04-29 12:51

    @ truetreble, LMAO mate, get real mate you having a laugh right.

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 13:25

    TrueTreble - u should know Liverpool supporters NEVER celebrate at 1/2 time ! We have scored more late winners than anyone this season, and in our past, that's why we are known as the Comeback Kings ! And we have been winning fine without Stevie incase you have not noticed. Ofcourse he makes a HUGE difference, but look at Utd without Rooney & Ronaldo - they are nothing ! As for Istanbul, what a joke ! STILL can't believe we came down from 3-0 at 1/2 time in the Champions League FINAL to win hey. And Utd fans should NEVER talk about diving when their team is so good at it, they should be Olympians ! This thread has nothing to do with the Reds anyway, so why must you guy's always bring us into it ? Guess Rafa is right, pressure is being felt ...

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 14:13

    @Anonymous 1:25PM - comeback kings my ass, how bout you come back to the champions league, oh wait, you can't... nevermind!

  • Bibz - 2009-04-29 14:31

    As economist put it, on the one hand I agree it was a fatal mistake by the ref which translated into some kind of impetus for ManU, on other hand, let’s not ignore the vigor and change of attitude that we saw from the MU side in the 2nd half, it sounds quite tempting to assume that given the no penalty scenario, Utd would still put the game to rest. To all soccer fanatics, let reason and rationality rule over anger and bigotry. May the best team win, Man u fan.

  • utd til i die - 2009-04-29 14:41

    nash the gunner where were you comments the whole season on the english football articles, OH YES, arsenal( i mean The bummers) were not winning, in the champions league semi and you guys start talking, i really like the football arsenal play they are one of the most entertaining teams in england, but guy go comment on arsenal articles like the adebayor one who thinks he is going to score a hatrick against manutd.

  • Nash the Gunner - 2009-04-29 14:59

    @ Naphy, very wise words coming from a great and wise coach, if this was answerit u would've received best answer

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-29 14:59

    you know how Ronaldo had his accident...... some1 touch his foot.....haha haaaaa

  • Wayne - 2009-04-29 17:23

    When I say the decision I thought it was a bad one, but the keeper clattered Carrick no dive. So anyone who says dive did not watch the game. After seeing the replay I think the keeper got lucky to get any of the ball, he was always going to get the player. I think spurs need to get a new keeper, this guy sucks. Three of the goals including the penalty were just bad keeping.

  • Krakatoa - 2009-04-29 18:29

    @naphy, you are quoting Mourinho, so i assume you admire him for some reason. But the chappie hasn't achieved much. Give him credit for what he did at Porto, that's it (EC & ECL). At Chelsea he inherited what Claudio Ranieri built, splashed the cash and bought the league twice. Even I could have done that. When he felt short because of injuries he bought more players, while others improvise. When money got tight, he got fired. At Inter he interited a team that was winning the Serie A with ease. He has still to prove himself, until then the self anointed "special one" is not that special. Thanda Royal Zulu will be a lekker challenge!!