EXCLUSIVE: Graham Poll - FA Cup final curse strikes Webb at Old Trafford

27 April 2009 04:29
Of course Manchester United were fortunate to be awarded a penalty by Howard Webb - even at full speed it appeared clear that Heurelho Gomes played the ball away from Michael Carrick's feet.

The ball moved away virtually at right angles, telling any referee - and particularly one of Webb's ability and experience - that the ball had been played by the keeper.

You blew it, ref: Gomes foils Carrick butWebb still saw a foul

And yet Webb inexplicably blew and gave a penalty kick. Gomes's reaction will have told Webb that he was wrong but I think, studying the official's body action, he knew that he had erred in pointing to the spot.

Usually Webb, an imposing and fairly intimidating figure, is full of demonstrative body language, bossing every situation. Following the penalty award, he appeared to want to disappear. How do these three games explain Webb's decision?

● Portsmouth v WBA (March 21, 2000): a 26th-minute penalty awarded by Graham Poll.

● Middlesbrough v Fulham (April 19, 2005): 90th-minute penalty by Rob Styles.

● Newcastle United v Sunderland (April 20, 2008): 45th-minute penalty by Mike Dean.

The answer is that all three penalties were awarded to the home team by the referee in his next Premier League game after being told he would be refereeing that season's FA Cup final. All three were wrong.

There seems to be a desire to prove that you are the best referee and deserve to be awarded the FA Cup final and can, therefore, be too eager to give a big decision. From experience, I know that is the wrong approach. Now Webb must return to basics for his next match - a UEFA Cup semi-final on Thursday.

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Source: Daily_Mail

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