27 Sept 2012

LFC vs. Man Utd: 20-year refereeing decision comparison. Conspiracy...?

The accusation: Whenever Liverpool play Manchester United, refereeing decisions always seem to go in United's favour, and this is a result of an elaborate refereeing conspiracy against the Reds. At the centre of this dastardly conspiracy is Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who uses his Sith-like powers of mind control to manipulate the Premier League's highest profile referees into favouring United over Liverpool when the two teams meet. Sound familiar?

Controversy erupted again after last Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Anfield, with two hotly-disputed Mark Halsey decisions handing United an improbable victory against the run of play. Is this just coincidence, or is there a refereeing conspiracy against Liverpool FC?

The only way to establish if referees do actually favour United over Liverpool is to look at the objective facts, i.e. refereeing decisions against both teams over a specific period of time. For the purposes of this analysis, I've looked at:

* All key refereeing decisions in the Premier League era (1992-2012)
* Key decisions = Yellow cards, Red cards and Penalties.

I could've looked at free kicks, corners and offsides too but those decisions have rarely proven to be contentious over the last twenty years. As we saw in Sunday's game, controversy always rages over cards and penalties, so I've focused on those three decisions only.

I also haven't looked at decisions that weren't given. I don't have the time to comb through 41 games looking for decisions that should've been given (!), and in any event, who decides if the decision should've been given? It's too subjective, and thus arguably useless for the purposes of analysis.

As you can see from the figures below, the idea that there is some kind of Man United-led refereeing conspiracy against Liverpool is total nonsense:

liverpool v man united refereeing comparison


* United receive MORE yellow cards than LFC.
* United also receive MORE red cards.
* Liverpool get MORE penalties at Old Trafford than United do at Anfield.
* On average, United receive MORE cards per game (red and yellow) than Liverpool.

With these figures in mind:

* Where exactly is the evidence of a refereeing conspiracy?

* How is it accurate to assert that United are treated better by referees in games against Liverpool?

* Clearly, refereeing in LFC-Man United games is very consistent.

I'll inevitably be accused of being a 'Manc in disguise' against after this post (!) but like most stat analyses I undertake, I don't know what the end result will be until I've compiled all the figures.

There is no Man United refereeing conspiracy, and the sooner that particular facet of the club's embarrassing fan-led victim mentality ends, the better.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. What about the cards that weren't given? Surely that can also affect a match

  2. That is subjective, and cannot be quantified.

  3. That's true, but if the referee is judging every tackle made, then it's up to him to choose whether it's a foul or not and whether it's worthy of a card. It doesn't matter if all the people say it wasn't a foul because if he decides that it is, then he gives it.

  4. We honestly don't care. Fans, real ones - have never said there was a conspiracy. We always ask for more consistency. Nothing else.

  5. Based on the results of the actual decisions given, it's highly unlikely - on the balance of probabilities - that the decisions *not* given would create a picture of some kind of conspiracy.

  6. fair play m8 for distancing urself from the victim tag

  7. Many of the early games you have looked at were refereed by the likes of David Ellery and Paul Durkin, who were excellent refeeres. But over the last 5 years we have had Steve Bennet and Howard Webb (and it looks like we can now add Mark Halsey), so there may have been no conspiracy in the 90's (and possibly most of the 00's), but there most definitely is one now.

  8. Many of the early games you have looked at were refereed by the likes of David Ellery and Paul Durkin, who were excellent refeeres. But over the last 5 years we have had Steve Bennet and Howard Webb (and it looks like we can now add Mark Halsey), so there may have been no conspiracy in the 90's (and possibly most of the 00's), but there most definitely is one now.

  9. Sorry, the stats don't back that up. In the 00s:

    * United yellow cards = 53. LFC = 46
    * United red cards = 6. LFC = 5

    On what basis is there a conspiracy in the 00s? What is your evidence?

  10. There is just one problem. In the last game these teams played, the decisions that weren't given were almost as important as those given. Evans could have had a red, Scholes too and RvP. Suarez could have had a penalty. It just constantly feels like when there is a 50/50 decision, it sways Man Utd's way.

  11. The problem with that thinking is that someone else will argue that there were decisions that weren't given that should've gone United's way. Who is right? Who decides whether the ref was right or wrong to not give a decision? LFC fans will think Liverpool are always losing 50/50s; United fans will think their team is losing the 50/50s. There's just no point considering these alleged 'missed' decisions as no meaningful, objective data can be gathered.

  12. I'm glad you did this analysis. It is kind of embarrasing hearing our fans go on like this the whole time. It makes us look like fools. Some games will go for us and some against us. We need to make sure we're not left lamenting a wrong decision by out scoring our opposition.

  13. Which is exactly why your analysis is useless, since any possible bias in refereeing would inevitably show in penalties/reds not being given that should have been, as well as being given that shouldn't have. It can't be enough to just count decisions given, independent of whether those decisions should or should not have been given, and leave out altogether all those not given that should have been.

  14. it may be fair in terms of stats, but if u take into account the reason for the reds we conceded to united, the decisions are very poor!! mascherano in 2008, hyypia 2003 both at old trafford very harsh decisions, was never a pen on sunday and if shelvey goes then evans has to go aswel, 2003 at anfield sinama pongolle should have got a blatant pen and didnt, the pen they got at old trafford in the fa cup in kennys 1st game back was a joke aswel!!! am not saying its a conspiracy by any means but the refs always seem to sway towards utd and seem scared to give anything against them

  15. The decisions that were given are just as subjective as those that were not given!

  16. You are debunking the wrong myth/conspiracy. No one claims that utd get more fks or pens awarded to them, people claim that they get more undeserved decisions in their favour. If you really want to see who the refs have favoured then you will have to look at every game united have played, not just against LFC.

    If team A gets 10 blatant penalties awarded to them in a season and team B gets 10 penalties awarded to them in a season that should not have been given, would you say that they have been treated fairly?

  17. Refereeing in favouring Man United not only involved matches between Liverpool and Man United, I remember there's one match Man United against Spurs, Spurs' goal disallowed even the ball was clearly crossed the line.

  18. No, you are being biased. You are assuming that decisions didn't go Liverpool's way, when the reality may be that some of these decisions were deservedly not given. You and others won't countenance that possibility though because you're biased. In the eyes of some LFC fans, every decision not given against United is a refereeing mistake. That is just nonsense.

    Even if you take into account decisions not given, there is still no evidence (IMO) of some kind of ridiculous conspiracy/unfairness towards Liverpool. Every team gets decisions that don't go for them sometimes. And where do you stop? Should we count every offside decision that wasn't given; every throw in that was awarded incorrectly etc?

    If you were right about LFC not getting decisions against United then there would inevitably be some correlation when it comes to decisions actually given. If refs are deliberately not giving LFC decisions then how are the clubs' figures for decisions given close to identical over the last 20 years?!

  19. I know it would take a lot of research but it would be good to know how many of these were the right decisions, we lost lost 11 points last season by debatable decisions and we are 2 down already this season.
    Info from debatabledecision.com

  20. Who decides that decisions should've been given? You? How is it possible to objectively consider decisions that allegedly should've been given? Given the rampant bias of football fans, it's an impossibility, and no one will ever agree.

  21. The only way to settle this properly would be for the a panel of experienced referees to trawl through every decision made and decide whether it was correct or not

  22. Exactly, Pete. until that happens, the only accurate gauge we have is whatever objective evidence is available, and in this case, it's the decisions that were actually given.

  23. You have to work on the basis that even if inept in some cases, referees are not biased and do the best job they can under difficult circumstances. Not a job I'd want to do. Still doesn't stop me ranting during a game, though.

  24. i actually don't believe in any conspiracy and don't believe that the refs deliberately ref against any side. I do think though that utd have had the rub of the green against us, with it being down to nothing more than luck. Like I said, i don't think your table and stats prove anything more than the numbers thay produce but I do agree with you that there is no conspiracy, it's a rediculous notion.

    I think people in general are even minded enough that if utd got 10 obvious penalties in a row against us no one would complain.

  25. First of all: I am not saying that your conclusion can't be correct, i.e. that there is no conspiracy, I am just saying that the method you used to arrive at it is useless and therefore the conclusion is not a particularly valid one. Second: I agree with you that an objective assessment of this is near impossible. However, although there may be no evidence for a consistent bias over the whole period you picked, that does not mean that refereeing in individual games can't have been biased, even to the degree of travesty. Sunday could have been one of those games.

  26. You shouldn't be happy to settle for bad evidence, This table proves nothing

  27. It is not useless, and just because you say it doesn't make it so. When analysing this issue, the most unbiased objective evidence should be used, and in this case, there is only one method: looking at decisions made. What else is there? If you don't analyse it using that data then no analysis can exist.

    You may not like the conclusion but that doesn't make the comparison useless.

    It's possible that refereeing in individual games may have been biased, but what does that prove? isn't it equally possible that referees were biased *in favour* of Liverpool too sometimes? If not, why not?

  28. What a useless exercise. You've completely and absolutely missed the point.
    Considering this is a pumped up derby its likely that the number of red cards, yellow cards and penalties are going to be similar. There's no point in differentaiting betweem 1.9 cards per game and 2.1 per game. Its an average of 2 per game which is expected in a heated game. Means nothing.
    The contention arises from whether or not decisons were correct. And you've made absolutely no attempt to do that which makes it pointless. How many of the red cards and penalties were the correct decision. Without doing that this means nothing.
    Lets look at the game on Sunday. The contention arose from not just Shelvey being sent off but Evans not being sent off. It is arguable that both were worthy of a red. We got the red, Utd didn't. Made a massive difference to the game as we were clearly on top at the time. That's the contention, not the red that was given as it was a dangerous tackle, but the red that wasn;t goven for an equally dangerous tackle. One penlaty was given, one penalt wasn't.
    The contention for us fans is not necessarily what was given but what wasn;t. And also whether the decision given was correct. So unless you go through each decision and see whether there was legitimate contact for a penalty and whether it was clear foul, or whether it was a definte red card according to the rules, i.e. a reckless or dangerous tackle or porofessional foul., this means absolutley nothing.

  29. Sorry Jamie but as others have stated I gotta disagree with your logic here. Often its not about the cards, pen etc given but more over the cases which are not. Example (made up to show point)

    Game 1
    Liverpool v Man utd = 2 pool players sent off and 1 pen given to Man utd - However Liverpool had 3 100% pens turned down, Man u had none.

    Game 2
    Man Utd v Liverpool = 2 Man utd players sent off and 1 pen to Liverpool - However Liverpool had 1 100% pen turned down.

    Ok bit extreme, but you can see the point that dispite on paper the cards pens are even, the actual reffing isnt. Also that reffing would change the results.

    I`m afraid to say without watching every game back to back you wont ever know the real results. I dont though for one min think its a conspiracy, more just refs are afraid of going against the Biggest teams of each game. (yes I know, but right now Man Utd are bigger/better than us - sucks). When we were in the top four year in year out I remember how lower teams would not get the "luck" of the ref against us.

    From what ive seen of the prem, the top placed teams get a lot of help from the refs, we have benifited in the past from this too. It`s not right but until big changes in how refs are managed, it wont change.

  30. You obviously just don't get the meaning of 'objective analysis'. I'm not going to waste my time going through it again.

  31. Zanatos - I don't claim that this is an absolute answer; it is, however, the only objective analysis possible given the available data.

    What might have been/should have been is pointless and subjective as everyone will argue differently based on the personal biases.

    The decisions that stand cannot be argued with; they are unchangeable, which makes that data-set the most persuasive, whether people like it or not.

    You and others can go on about decisions that should've stood, and that's fine, but it doesn't prove anything. It's all assumption based on decisions you think were wrong. Another objective observer of the same decision might reach a different conclusion.

  32. you say your not bias but clearly you are

  33. I completely understand the meaning of objective analysis. This is a half arsed analysis.
    There are rules in this game, so it is entirely possible to look back at the decisions and see whether they were correct decisions and maintain objecticity. Was there contact or was it a dive? Was it a reckless tackle deserving of a red card according to the rules of the game or was it a contentious decision? If you did this, it could still prove your theory correct, that there is no bias. I'm not trying to disprove what you say, just that it is a half baked analysis and therefore a pointless analysis.
    Most Liverpool fans are fair, If its a red card or penalty we'll admit it was. The contention and theories of bias and conspiracy arise from the contentious decisions and the decisions which should have been given that weren't.

  34. Instead of making a pointless, unbacked statement, why don't you explain how exactly I am biased on this issue. Thanks.

  35. Just cause I disagree with your point, it isn`t going on as you put it. Your results show as much and as little as other peoples ideas on here. To say decisions not given is subjective and ones given isnt, doesn`t give credit to the person. I`m no fool and do not work on biased, you should know this from reading my previous posts.

    Everything in football from your view is based on assumption, its the assumption of the ref.

    I`m sorry but if you watch some games, anyone can see them decisions not given are so important. Remember the goal that Lampard scored that went over the line against Germany? Thats not assumption, its a fact, its on video, it dont matter if your German, English or welsh it still went over the line. It wasn`t given though.

    From what your saying, you could have the case where 10 of them over the lines goals happened in one game, the ref had a tattoo of the other team on his forehead, but because he gave one yellow card to each team he was unbaised and fair???

    I appreciate the work you have put in into the stats, but I think to suggest everyone who thinks other stuff comes into being biased is wrong is harsh Jamie.

  36. I think the objective evidence you've presented answers 2 specific questions, firstly, which team gets the most cards and secondly, which team is awarded the most penalties.

    However, it doesn't answer the specific question about conspiracy because this necessitates analysis of whether a refereeing decision is made correctly or incorrectly (unless a referee wants to blatantly confess to being biased). You're correct to say that whilst one party will see a decision as a mistake, the other will see it as correct. Thus, the only way to definitively call a decision a mistake would be to see if a panel of like-minded professionals would arrive at the same decision as the referees in question.

  37. Sort out the modding on this site lol. Comment didnt even appear this time, although it was well written. You have clearly got a bee in your bonnet tho, as that is not what I have suggested at all. I`m not and never have suggested they get 9 out of 10 wrong, I`m amazed at where you found this in my statement??? You make it sound like refs never get anything wrong, and there perfect. That no ref has given the run of the green to the bigger team.

  38. you can go on and on about how ungiven decisions mean nothing. But clearly unless everyone else but you is right, your wrong on this one, just admit it for once lol

  39. of which you seemed to miss where i said i don`t think there biased. Lampards goal against Germany, which went over the line but wasnt given, the one on video, goal or no goal? The point Jamie is ungiven decisions are vital.

  40. I dont think its consistency, its evening out past wrongs but the result is the same everyone gets a fair go. It doesn't matter how you present it Jamie, you will always get stick from the more fervent fans and thats coming from a pro benitez fan! Good post puts things in perspective for people I hope.

  41. People always seem to bring up the Spurs incident as proof of some current favouritism United enjoys from officials, and yet the very fact that it happened 7 years ago and they obviously can't think of anything like that more recently shows that it's not an altogether accurate conclusion. I'm sure if you look back over the last 7 years every team in the league has had undeserved bonuses at the hands of the officials. Especially when those officials aren't in a good position to judge because a player has taken an unexpected shot from 50 yards like Mendes did.

  42. I see that things haven't changed on this site and you continue to delete comments that you don't agree with.

  43. This is a good article - Won't comment too much. Things such as red cards and penalties are 50/50's. Either it is a red card/penalty, or it isn't.

    A different ref at a different time could of given Shelvey a yellow, sent Evans off, and sent RVP off. That's all 50/50.

    However, on occasions there are ridiculous decisions that go in United's favour, remember Mascherano being sent off? Simply for asking why Torres was given a yellow, he was sent off. This is what, IMO, most people are referring to here. It's not the 50/50 decisions, its the blatantly obvious decisions. You had Garry Neville of all people saying LFC were robbed 3 points...

    Also on the last 5 or so occasions Wigan have gone to Old Trafford, they have seen red 3 or 4 times.

    Yes it is subjective, but it's still a fair argument IMO, that United get the rub of the green.

  44. I think you're wrong there. Those aren't the questions. It's not about who gets the most cards and penalty kicks. The question is whether the referees influence the games in favor of Man U. The Shelvey red card. Both players came in with their spikes up. Both should have been cautioned or tossed. They weren't both tossed, it was just our guy. That kind of thing doesn't show up in your table. If you look at a totality of all the PL games, penalty kicks are rarely the deciding factor, whether they are or aren't deserved. I'd even suggest that calling indirect kicks against us that disrupt attacks and turn-over the ball are just as important to the game.

    While I appreciate the study you did, it's just flawed from the outset. It's not completely about the calls that were made and their influence, its about the calls that should be made that never were or were made incorrectly, that went in favor of Man U. And in that sense, I don't think you really can do a study without watching every game of the PL era and looking at every controversial call and whether those calls influenced the outcome of the game. But thanks for trying.

  45. I really think we should leave referee business aside,we should have battered them regardless of the refereeing decisions, we had more of the ball, more chances, and even though we were down to 10 men, we played better than them without any final result.
    this is not down to any referring mistake, its just our players not scoring enough goals
    We have to learn to be more ruthless in games where we dominate and not score goals. sometimes i would rather we win 1-0 and play badly rather than playing amazing and end up losing.
    man utd have learnt this art of playing badly and winning, and we need to learn it as well.
    to say that i am still fully behind rodgers, and once we do start scoring, we will be very difficult to beat.

  46. Good day All, with reference to Sunday's game the problem with the ref was that he was not consistent with the whistle. Many times late in the game, both before and after the penalty decision, Hasley seemed to favor Utd. with his calls and non calls. the dangerous tackle by RVP should have stopped play, but the ref allows play to continue which is a clear message that he did not want to give RVP a red card. A dangerous foul on Suso just outside the 18 was also waved play on as the ball rolled to a liverpool player. Many other hard tackles by Utd were also waved play on whether possesion was retained or not and regardless of field position. However on no fewer than 8 occasions in the last 10 mins. Utd were awarded some of the softest fouls I have seen given and play was stopped each time regardless if Utd still had posession and regardless of field position. This shows the inconsistency in the Refs decisions.

  47. Jamie, it is not all about stat in football, otherwise you will be paying 20 mils for downing.

  48. In terms of red card, many pundits are saying it was red card for both the players, 2nd even suarez should ve got a penalty when fouled but you are only defending and writing abt. valencia penalty

  49. LFC fans are upset about bad decisions and not the number of cards. We don't mind getting 3 red cards if we deserve it. Bad decisions and number of cards are not correlated. Naive again.

  50. Jaimie i have been watching this Livpool vs Man u games as long as a remember but its true we egt more pens at OT and they get sent off more often than us but rarely are we given what we dont deserve example Vidic is the last man he fouls Kuyt its obvious they cant complain then Shelvey goes in hard Evans has his studds up Shelvey sent of no warning for Evans doesnt this call for controversy again last season Rio has a yellow card fouls busting run of Adam near the goal line fouls given but no card.Suarez falls after been clipped by Evans in the box no pen Agger is near Berbatov he clipps himself goes down a pen and i havent mentioned Valencia yet i remember when he went down from a maserano foul no 1 spoke about it coz we knew it was right ...Jaimie since your taking stats if you watche dnay pool vs man game give evidence of Pen not given to man when they deserved it...

  51. You got everything wrong in the article.. I think you should concentrate more on 'controversial decisions' to come to a conclusion. The debate is not about who gets the most red or yellow cards, it is about how biased are refs towards Man Utd..
    I asked a united fan, name me only a match where you got a controversial decision awarded against your team. He couldn't think of any whereas i could name at least 10 of them..
    1. Nani's goal against totenham
    2. Vidic's handball against Arsenal
    3. Welbeck's penalty dive
    4. Agger's sending off in FA cup
    5. Rooney not being sent off against wigan (if i can remember)
    6. Fergie time when required
    7. Non-fergie time when everton clearly deserved.
    8. the list could go on..

    Its about favoritism in the league..

  52. I forgot about mascherano's red card

  53. Its impossible to come to a conclusion that there is "No Man Utd Refereeing CONSPIRACY" just by basing it on these figures you have here. Yes the figures do not lie, you can make a conclusion on who has more YC or RC. But to say whether there are or there are no conspiracies, it takes more...so much more than this my friend.

  54. Man utd ( Sweden )9:36 am, September 28, 2012


  55. The fact of the matter is:

    1) Referees do get decisions wrong
    2) Bigger teams tend to get more favorable decisions come their way than smaller teams, and we have seen this for many years
    3) Each set of supporters are vastly biased and therefore think every decision against them is a conspiracy
    4) Certain prominent managers try to indirectly put pressure on the referees
    5) Player reaction to challenges may influence the referees decision to give out cards
    6) Simulation will have a direct effect on match outcome if not spotted by referees
    7) Each team every season gets decisions go their away and against them
    8) We live in a very corrupt and dishonest world, do not be surprised if some refs are tapped up ( I.E Serie A)
    9)*off topic* The FA are getting ridiculous in handing out charges. Martinez did not say anything wrong and yet they are charging him, football without opinions is dead
    10) Players who play act should be fined, red carded and banned (Suarez, Young, Rooney, Busquets, Pepe, Neymar. etc...Unsure why FIFA has done nothing about it yet.

    A positive step forward:

    A) Action replay. The continuous refusal by FIFA to introduce this is killing the game as more players are improving their acting skills.
    B) One referee can not possibly get all decision right
    C) Have a team of ref assistants by a screen to communicate with the ref in seconds if unsure of a decision. This is very simple and easy to do
    D) Referee interviews- they are an important entity of the match and they should give a brief description on why certain players got sent off
    E) Players and managers should be able to criticize a referee as long as they are respectful

  56. Stats aside...On an emotional perspective, I as a fan feels that we were hard done on a few decisions. I believe those few decisions could one way or another affect the end results.
    But then again I have to accept that had we been more clinical up front and better defensively, we would still have won the game no matter how biased the refs are.
    BR has already done the talking with Riley and now its up to the players to step up to the plate. Be stingy in defense and ruthless upfront (less hitting the posts PLEASE)!. Thats how u win a game.
    Just a penny worth of my thoughts.

  57. Mr Man Utd fan can you check the
    2008/2009 league and why LFC loose the league title please and tell me what
    happened in 38 games how was in favour the refereeing decisions. and check
    please the two game against Chelsea of the last year please too. thanks

  58. it happens both ways remember when we played united at Anfield in 2011 season (Kuyt hat-trick) Carragher came in dangerously on Nani and should of got sent of for it but only got a yellow

  59. Then I would argue that no analysis (including your's) can exist, since it is a futile exercise to attempt a meaningful analysis based on only one part of the data necessary, even if the reason for that is that it is the only data available and it would take too much effort to gather the rest of the necessary data.
    It is of course possible (no, likely) that just as well an MU, LFC may have got the rub of the green from the referees in some games (which in neither case does necessarily mean they were biased). However, I can't remember MU fans complaining as much about wrong decisions that severely influenced the outcome of these fixtures in their disfavour in recent years, whereas it is safe to say that such complaints from LFC fans have been a recurrent thing. Could that be an indicator of some kind?

  60. You can't remember Man Utd fans complaining? That's your argument? Seriously, can't you see the problem with that?

    The analysis is valid in that it shines a light on one particular aspect of the issue, from which it's then possible to make certain reasonable inferences.

  61. Read my post properly. My words were "...
    I can't remember MU fans complaining AS MUCH ..." and that is indeed my experience. It does not mean that I "...
    can't remember Man Utd fans complaining" (AT ALL), as you seem to interpret it.
    I also stand by my reasoning that it is not possible to make "reasonable inferences" from the limited part of the necessary data you based your analysis on. If that means that we continue to disagree on this, then so be it. Worse things have happened to me.

  62. Jaimie we aint talking about genuine decisions, we are talking about dubious red cards and penalties being given ManU's way..All Liverpool penalties at OT and Anfield are UNDISPUTABLE while 80% or more of ManU penalties both at OT and Anfield are DISPUTABLE.
    That is the fact we are arguing about.Stop misleading us.Examine most of your post and you will notice you have some ManU sentiments.

  63. Jaimie just five games gone and ManU have had penalties in four of them.Had it
    been Suarez is a ManU player,he would have had all his claims for
    penalties.My point is the referes know what t hey are doing.Since the
    1989 Hill...fake verdict, all these '23 years era bred referees' have
    been punishing Liverpool till date.Even referee Hasley last Sunday could
    not believe the recent Hill.. verdict is true that is why he punished
    Liverpool on Sunday.

  64. please read

  65. Nice article Jaimie. All teams encounter bad decisions, but most fans only remember the ones that go against their team. Everyone thinks United get the rub of the green but I know United fans who can list all the bad decisions they believe cost them the title last season!

    It's all nonsense though - every club in the land has some paranoid fans who think there's a sinister conspiracy against their team, but it's all just luck at the end of the day. The best teams are the ones who are so good that their luck doesn't matter.

    People think this stuff for the same reasons that people are superstitious and read horoscopes and all that bollocks - they can't handle the idea of luck being completely random so they invent some made-up explanations for how it all works.

  66. just talk abt Halsey... why drag everybody else into the picture... MU is always refs favourite... forget abt stats... just ask the other team managers... u will get the proper answer... why not start with Keegan

  67. And yet the blinkered will still argue that united get it all there way!

  68. Blinkered and biast again!

  69. Penalties awarded in the Premier League in the last 10 seasons:
    Team Penalties awarded Home Away
    Arsenal 60 44 16
    Liverpool 60 33 27
    Man Utd 59 39 20
    Aston Villa 55 23 32
    Chelsea 54 35 19
    Blackburn 48 25 23
    Man City 47 36 11
    Newcastle 46 29 17
    Tottenham 45 27 18
    Fulham 43 32 11
    Everton 41 28 13
    Bolton 39 18 21
    West Ham 32 25 7
    Portsmouth 31 24 7
    Birmingham 28 18 10
    Wigan 28 11 17
    Middlesbrough 25 17 8
    Sunderland 24 17 7
    Charlton 21 13 8
    West Brom 20 10 10
    Liverpool get more penalties than most, So with your therory do liverpool get preferential treatment?

  70. jamie k i would like to know your source for this set of stats?
    I would also like to see the actual amounts of penalties and red cards and competitions?
    you seem to have left out the penalty overall count?
    Here is another way of checking for the referee bias in favor of UTD - check the post match statements by managers including alex fergusons? See how many times the managers complain about the ref favoring utd? See how many times Fergie is happy with the rub of the green being in his favor and how aparently these decisions even out for every other team accept utd?

  71. Please Read:



  72. You need to contextualized these statistics, not just take them at face value.

    What if UTD deserved more yellow/red cards than they got despite the statistic being in their favour?

    What If UTD deserved even less penalties than they got?

    I could go on forever. This statistic, while potentially helpful, is also meaningless because as presented, void of any qualitative data, it can literally be interpreted however it fits one's agenda.

    What I want is justice. Statistics in no way provide this. For what I know, for these statistics to be qualitatively accurate, they would have to be skewed more in our favour.

    It's telling that most of the Man.UTD supporters I know of admit being favoured by the ref, and it's also telling that a lot of managers complain about unfair treatment when playing against Man.Utd.

    Are these statistics provoking? No doubt. Are they representative of justice being served? Absolutely not.

  73. kdoc13, you misunderstood my point. We are saying the same thing. Essentially what I said was that Jaimie's analysis does not answer the question at hand, but only tells us who gets the most cards and penalties.

  74. Jaimie....Interesting stuff which is bound to create fierce debate... after all that is what your site is all about... In some ways it reminds me of going to a pub and ending up in the company of the argumentative bloke that many pubs have that is not a criticism by the way.
    Going off subject a bit what do you think about the many games where we have played man u off the park and lost and over the years there have been a good few and i cant remember that many where it's been the other way round as when they do they usually win....We have had some crap luck against them over the years and maybe this clouds the judgement of some of our fans over your original post so what do you reckon

  75. there was already a large study carried out last year where ref decisions were analysed over the premier league history, I think fulham were at the top of the list of controversial decisions, man utd were around mid-table, this is the biggest study of its kind. man utd don't get more decisions than anyone else, in fact the opposite is true, it only feels like utd get more decisions because when they do it is widely reported and covered in the media, if fulham get a decision, it is last on match of the day and the papers don't care.

    over the past 4 years, man utd v chelsea matches have seen controversial decisions, all but one of those were in chelsea's favour, just to give an example. utd often get clear penalties turned down at old trafford and like any home team get some for them.

    Dont tell me liverpool don't get decisions in front of the kop cause they do, every team gets favoured at home, not on purpose, but the refs are influenced by the crowd.

    Also, it is natural for the bigger teams to get more decisions, even though the evidence does not support that claim, because they have more possession, therefore, they are more likely to spent more time in the opponents penalty area and therefore get more penalties just by the law of averages.

    It really is boring to hear this constant argument made by people who don't really understand the game and don't actually follow it.

  76. Jamie, you are a total twat.

    Conspiracy or not, the way we were refereed and more importantly how United was refereed down the stretch of the 08-09 season, cost us our first EPL title and 19th league. If you don't believe that, then you don't watch the matches; you only see the highlights and read about them the next day.

    It is also a fact that we have been harshly treated by referees since our big spending January that brought Luis and Andy to the club. The FA has used us as scapegoats in their attempt to limit diving and racism in the game. Luis continues to get fouled in the box without penalties being called. Red cards continue to fly on mild tackles, which every single announcer has opined on each and everyone of those red card broadcasts.

    Jamie, you are a poor fan for calling out your LFC breathren and I would appreciate it if you stopped "embarrassing" the rest of us.

  77. Hi JK

    Me and Beast had a unsavoury disagreement in a thread about how Suarez should learn from Ronaldo's experiences, which I was fine with as I had ended my participation in that disagreement with him, despite his replies. Because of that disagreement, he now seems to want to make it personal by replying to a post of mine in a totally different thread ('AS claims: LFC star wants out....', a reply that included a childish, personal and offensive remark with the term 'loco chica', which I think means crazy girl. We should be able to disagree with people over what they say, without having to worry about them following other people in totally different threads/articles and have them make offensive remarks, all because they couldn't cope with people disagreeing with their posts. It is wrong, belittling and simply, a form of bullying. Hope you understand where I am coming from and thanks for reading.

    Kind Regards


  78. Well muppet, what have you got to say about today's results???

  79.  Its the shocking decisions, not the correct ones, we should be questioning.

    23 March 2008 Man Utd 3-0 Liverpool   Mascherano gets sent off for asking why
    Torres was yellow carded when Rio Ferdinand was kicking him repeatedly. Steve

    21 March 2010 Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool   Valencia dives outside the box to win a
    penalty. Howard Webb.

    9 January 2011 Man Utd 1-0 Liverpool   Berbatov dives outside to box to win a penalty
    and Gerrard gets sent off. Howard Webb.

    15 October 2011 Liverpool 1-1 Man Utd   Hernandez scores from a corner which should
    have been given a goal kick. People seem to forget this.

    23 September 2012 Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd   Valencia dives to win a penalty and Shelvey
    gets sent off. Agger and Suarez denied stonewall penalties. Evans gets nothing
    a two footed challenge. Mark Halsey.

    I also remember Man Utd 4-0 Liverpool where Man Utd had two
    penalties and Hyypia got sent off. Mike Riley.


  80. http://www.sabotagetimes.com/football/football-sport/referees-are-manchester-united-biased-heres-the-evidence-from-qualified-refs/

  81. You're missing the point. Take a look at what happens to referees after matches in which they screw up in compared to referees who screw up in other Premier League games! It's blatantly obvious that there is something odd going on in the officiating and referee selection process. I'm not one to use the word 'fact' lightly. But really and truly referee selection is the only factual piece of evidence of worthy note. The amount of referees who have ended up not being allowed to referee man Utd games due to making a mistake, or being demoted to lower leagues for months, is astonishing. It doesn't happen to any other club in the PL. that unfortunately is the cold hard factual evidence which sticks against Man Utd and the monopoly they have on refereeing in the Premier league. Why is David Gill on the referee selection committee for the Premier League aswell?!!! That is completely stupid and rings alarm bells instantly.