Manchester United did it again. A bad performance, 3 points, while the referee makes all the big decisions in their favor. Maybe Alex Ferguson made some deal with the devil a long time ago, but there’s no way that the man from below hasn’t cashed in on it by now. More likely is that the guy from above is keeping a close eye on the team.
Sometimes he forgets, like Manchester United getting thrashed at home against Manchester City, or every time they miss out on a title. But god doesn’t pay attention to everything, if you believe that the divine intervention isn’t in everything, and is only on when god is watching you. He is god, but he can’t watch everything.
For the rest, there’s Ferguson and years of experience, respect, and putting the pressure on the referees to make mistakes in his favor. There are some numbers that suggest Manchester United get screwed over more often then they actually enjoy big decision, but that’s hard to comprehend, when people can’t seem to remember a bad call in a big match going against United. When it comes to red cards that don’t actually happen, penalties that aren’t supposed to happen, Howard Webb or no Howard Webb, the red devils, since claiming their place at the top of the food chain in the Premier League (12 league titles in 20 seasons), are the main benefactors in big matches.
This isn’t the Italian way, which was about years of illegally influencing referees and results which eventually led to the big scandal in 2006. United, by Ferguson’s mastery through the media and by simply being the biggest club in England, enjoy decision like each big club does in every league (Barcelona, Real Madrid). In Europe, that advantage disappears. That’s why the club that hasn’t missed a title race in what seems like forever despite going through the motions when it comes to their squad quality through the years has missed the Champions League knockout stage twice in the last six years.
Jonjo Shelvey venting his frustration at Alex Ferguson wasn’t the wisest thing in the world, but it’s something that isn’t felt around the league. In Liverpool more than anywhere else, because of the rivalry, but because of recent matches. The Steven Gerrard red card and the penalty on Agger in the first match Kenny Dalglish had when coming back. The whole Suarez-Evra case, as Suarez did nothing different than what John Terry did, but somehow found himself missing a fifth of a season. Maybe it’s the Manchester United-Ferguson influence, maybe it happened because he simply isn’t English.
Should United feel bad? Nope. The New York Yankees don’t feel bad about being called the evil empire. They’re hated because they win, just like Manchester United. The fact that it doesn’t always happen because they’re the best, but because they get some ‘outside’ help for reasons sometimes beyond understanding except for referees somehow magically deciding that every 50-50 big one goes their way, shouldn’t make anyone feel less proud of what has been achieved over the last 20 years. It just means there might be someone watching over this team.