|The World's Most Biased and Incompetent Referee, Michael Leslie Dean|
For those of you who don't believe in conspiracy theories, consider this: the only refereeing appointment the FA could have made which would have caused greater controversy would be assigning Martin Atkinson to oversee the Red Devils' journey to the Emirates in early May-- and that may still be in the cards, as I wouldn't put anything past the incompetents, malcontents, liars and cheats who run English football.
I've made the case against Mike Dean many times here at farlieonfootie, beginning with my very earliest columns, continuing throughout the Fall and Winter, and criticising his performances virtually unabated right through the present day. It's not just that he's poor, or consistently makes errors on the pitch, but the fact that he's biased is so obvious to the casual observer as to make it absolutely scandalous that he was selected to oversee another important game involving the Reds.
Shown below is Dean at his best, in last year's title decider. His few defenders will point to the offside decision being blown by his assistant on the sideline, Simon Beck, but I'm a believer in the Truman doctrine: The Buck Stops Here. If Dean wants to oversee a game, it's his responsibility -- and his alone -- to make sure the calls are corrcet. Furthermore, Dean denied at least three plausible United penalties that day, and the three points gained by Chelsea that afternoon due to Dean's dodgy decisions handed the Blues the 2010 League Title.
But it's not just Sir Alex and the United fans who've complained about Dean's oversight. Even an opposing coach, Burnley's Brian Laws, who was not involved in the game against Chelsea in any way, shape or form, and who had nothing to gain but everything to lose from his comment, announced he thought it "madness" that Dean was appointed to oversee such an important game.
More recently, Blackpool's Ian Holloway has slammed Dean twice this season for "strange decisions." And only Obafemi Martins' late goal kept Dean from being in the headlines once again when he blatantly ignored Wojciech Szczesny's clear red card offense early in the League Cup final. Does anyone doubt that if Van der Sar had committed the same foul that Dean would have reached immediately to his back pocket?
Most bizzarely of all, even the ridiculous members of the FA have previously admitted their own concerns about Dean's impartiality, replacing him in the 2006 FA Cup Final match due to their belief he could be compromised in a match involving -- guess who? -- United's traditional foes, Liverpool (maybe because he lives nearby?). These facts, as well as his poor performance this year on the pitch, make it criminal that Dean has once again been selected to referee a crucial game involving Manchester United. What more does he have to do: show up to the match in a Liverpool or Chelsea shirt?
And while we're on the topic of bias and incompetence, it would be neglectful of me not to at least mention Lee Mason. Mason, you'll no doubt remember, was the idiot last seen on these pages after singlehandedly taking away two points from United due to blindness or bias, as Birmingham managed -- impressively, I might add -- to commit three fouls on the same play, and steal a late tying goal near the end of the year. I was hopeful we'd seen the last of Mason, but clearly the FA has other plans in mind.
So, now that the FA has done it's best to roll out as many roadblocks as they can to prevent the Reds from reaching the promised land, the ball is squarely in Sir Alex's court to get his team ready for the challenge. It's unfortunate they'll be forced to fight with at least one hand tied behind their back, but I am confident they'll do the best they can.
This is an enraged farlieonfootie for March 29.