Some calls are questionable, others controversial. What Howard Webb did in the Sunderland – Everton Match on Boxing day was a disgrace to himself and profession of soccer referees. Leon Osman did go down, but no one touched him. Even the Opposing manager, who benefited from the call, David Moyes, said it was a poor decision.
Osman, attacking for Everton who were 1-0 down at the time, clearly kicked the ground and fell. I don’t even think it was a matter of bad angle. It was a referee who didn’t see the incident and reacted after the fall, not from any foul he saw, which clearly didn’t happen.
Moyes said after the match – It’s definitely not a penalty kick. It’s a poor decision by the referee. It looked to me from the dug-out that Leon had been caught, but I’ve looked at it on the replays and the referee’s made a big mistake.
Martin O’Neill, who has certainly turned things around for Sunderland since arriving to manage for the Black Cats, wasn’t as furious as one would expect – I was obviously unhappy with the penalty. The players that were heavily involved with it were more upset. Howard must have thought there was contact there but there was clearly no contact. It’s disappointing because it has a major bearing on the game. I saw him after the game and he was very gracious. He thought our player had clipped their player.
Imagine Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish or Jose Mourinho ranting on after such a decision took away two or more points from them. Webb, despite making mistake after mistake in big matches these past few seasons is England’s most prominent referee, honored by refereeing in the 2010 World Cup Final. He’s been treated badly before for some red cards and borderline penalties he’s given before, but this one has to be one of the most abysmal decision a ref has made in the past few years.