After announcing his retirement earlier this month, English referee Howard Webb has come out in his defence, categorically denying showing any bias towards Manchester United.
Howard Webb’s illustrious career had been repeatedly brought under scrtunity due to suggestions that he was biased towards Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. Rival fans often questioned his integrity on social media and now that Webb has retired from officiating football games, he has come out in the open and refused allegations of bias towards the Red Devils.
When asked if he gave the Red Devils any favours during the game, Webb denied any such suggestions, stating that the allegations made by the fans were devoid of truth and were usually said in a lighter vein. Webb also revealed that such allegations did not interefere with his work on the field, stating in clear terms that he did not let such rumours and wild accusations play in his mind.
“There’s no element of truth in it. It’s not something that affected me or played on my mind at all. It wasn’t hurtful. Much of it is tongue-in-cheek, of course.”
Howard Webb however did offer a rare insight into the psyche of a professional referee, revealing the human side to his nature. He admitted that he made mistakes during his career and said that he often suffered due to those wrong decisions that ended up changing the outcome of the game.
“What does play on my mind is when I’ve made a mistake, particularly an influential one that has affected the outcome of a game. I’d be dishonest if I said it didn’t bother me.”
Webb also spoke about the reaction of the Press to his shortcomings but insisted that even though he made many errors over a career spanning a decade, he remained a ‘top professional’. The former referee drove home this point by comparing himself to a professional footballer, commenting that even top players often had bad games, but that did not change the fact that they indeed were top professionals.
“One newspaper listed the five games I’d want to forget over the course of my career. Well, there’s more than five. But against the backdrop of more than 500 professional games – I can think of many top professional footballers who have made plenty of mistakes but are still top professional footballers.”
Webb had earlier spoken about his retirement and said that he had absolutely no regrets regarding his career and that he was now looking forward to his new job.
“It’s hit me hard because when the announcement came out, I realised I’d closed the door on two things that had defined me for a long time: police work and refereeing.”
“At the moment I’ve no regrets and I can look back on an absolutely amazing career. I’ve been so lucky to be in some great places and I’m looking forward to staying in the job.”