Date: 21st October 2009 at 12:33pm
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It seems that hating Manchester United actually gives you an excuse not to bother about the most basic rules of journalism, like those of objectivity and proper research. At least that was the case with Oliver Holt whose articles in the Mirror always contained ill-informed snipings at Fergie and he usually delivered withering assessment of both the boss and the team.

He’s mellowed recently, toning down his ABUism but the Mirror has the perfect replacement in Martin Lipton, an experienced writer who seems to be totally blinded by hatred of all things United.

Writing about Rafa Benitez, he could not resist taking a few swings at Manchester United, no matter how unjustified and untruthful they certainly are. Here are a few extracts from the ‘article’.

‘What Benitez said was, in the main, not only justified but also accurate.

Fergie does get away with more than any other manager. Always has, always will. Referees, the Premier League, the FA – let alone the media – are terrified by him…’


And yet Sir Alex Ferguson is the only one who received a touchline ban last season. As for the media: I can’t remember anyone calling for a five-match ban for Benitez after he questioned the officials’ experience after their game at Spurs. When Fergie dared to raise a similar question – he focused on fitness, not experience – he was crucified.

‘Even then, as Benitez and his players ruefully know, it might have changed after they thumped United at Old Trafford, only for the gods – and referees – to come to Fergie’s aid: the extra minutes against Aston Villa which allowed Federico Macheda to emerge from nowhere and, most infamously, Howard Webb’s shocker against Spurs that was the pivotal moment of the entire campaign.’

If you watch any video of Macheda’s goal – which Lipton certainly did not do – you will see the ball landing in the net at 92:04. Surely even the most fervent ABU can’t seriously believe that a game poised at 2-2 should not have two minutes of time added on? Yes, the ref added five minutes – but in reality that meant that Villa had time to find an equaliser which fortunately they did not.

Howard Webb’s shocker that was the pivotal moment. Oh yes, this is my favourite and this is something that Lipton brings up very often. To put things into perspective: United were TWO DOWN when Webb awarded a penalty which, at first, looked stonewall. Ronaldo put that away but we were still 2-1 down with 35 minutes to go. Is it Howard Webb’s fault that Spurs collapsed?

Of course not – but it’s his fault that they took a two-goal lead. Had he sent Wilson Palacios off for a vicious challenge on Ronaldo in the eighth minute, the game could have turned out very differently. Here’s the link to the Palacios challenge for those of you who can’t remember it: http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/9347/palacios.gif

It’s obviously worthy of a straight red and I must say Spurs were lucky: instead of playing more than 80 minutes with only ten men on the field, they merely had to put up with a dubious penalty when they were 2-0 ahead. That they could not hold on to their lead is hardly Howard Webb’s fault: he gave them the chance to compete by not sending Palacios off for a disgraceful attempt to maim Ronaldo.

Oh, and supposedly United fan Mike Riley’s decision to show the red card to Lampard for a fair tackle at Anfield is somehow omitted from Lipton’s article. Wasn’t that a pivotal moment? It allowed Liverpool to do their double over Chelsea and cling on to United’s tail. With Webb gifting Spurs the chance to compete at Old Trafford, the refs actually nearly presented Liverpool with the title. And we haven’t even mentioned the unjustified red cards of Adebayor and Valencia…

So, we have our new ABU-in-Chief. We can look forward to more of the same from Lipton as it’s unlikely that he’ll allow facts (real ones, not Benitez-type facts) to get in the way of a good United-bashing.