Martin Atkinson

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I have been watching Manchester United matches for many years and this guy is pretty much the only referee I can confidently say 'yeah, he's clearly biased against us'

It's a feeling Ferguson had with him too.

Forget about the big decisions (although he's called many of those against us), there's an accumulation of small subtle calls that always seem to go against us with him.

In the first half last night in particular, there was 3 or 4 occasions where City blatantly and illegally shut down our counter with hacks and barges but there wasn't one hint of a card and on many occasions no foul was called.

But this isn't just about one game, there is a clear pattern here over many years.

I read before that Atkinson is a Leeds fan. That'd go a long way to explaining his performances against us.
 

JB08

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I don't think he was biased against us. He was too intent on letting the game flow, and had an utterly shocking performance.
 

Revan

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I have no idea what he did wrong yesterday. He's definitely not biased against us, bar when we are playing Chelsea.
 

pascell

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His facial expressions when players are talking to him are what infuriate me, he just comes across like he's power tripping so bad.
How he didn't give a foul and yellow card in the 1st half when Otamendi went through the back of Rashford was ridiculous.
 

Emmet

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What JB08 said tbh, he was trying to be this big wig referee who allows the game to flow and encourage a good game but in turn he just aloud City players to come straight through the back of our players at times and just waved them on. Pathetic! If its a foul call it, none of this let the game flow shite
 

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The guy was never willing to give us even one foul in first half while every 50-50 ball goes to City easily. He was giving them fouls for the slightest mistakes while we were getting fouls by a miracle. He helped City control much more with this.

Worst season for EPL referees ever. I can't remember watching the game without atrocious mistakes.
 

Yagami

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I have no idea what he did wrong yesterday. He's definitely not biased against us, bar when we are playing Chelsea.
The thing I had a problem with was that he constantly allowed Citys players to barge through the backs of Rashford and Martial over and over again.
 

BigTimeCharlie

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I have no idea what he did wrong yesterday. He's definitely not biased against us, bar when we are playing Chelsea.
Rashford got brought down on the break by otamendi within the first 20 mins, no card. Fellaini did the same to Aguero and got booked.

One example of many.
 

el3mel

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I don't think he was biased against us. He was too intent on letting the game flow, and had an utterly shocking performance.
He was letting the game flow but in City's direction, not us.
 

manutd619

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There's already a Martin Atkinson thread full of colourful adjectives to describe our thoughts of this fine gentleman
 

cyberman

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I have no idea what he did wrong yesterday. He's definitely not biased against us, bar when we are playing Chelsea.
Fernandinho made two challenges where he led with his arm yet got away with both. It seemed City could press and get physical to stop our counters and ability to hold up the play yet every time we made an awkward challenge he blew his whistle.
Fellaini cannot get booked there with the way he judged the game.
 

Klopp_De_Klown

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how many fouls are they allowed get away with before he flashes yellow. Against chelsea herreras second yellow was argued as team accumulation, everytime we got the ball we were either fouled or he just ignored it.

Cant say he is biased but he was not doing us any favours yesterday
 

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Will never forget the games he refereed against Chelsea. The worst ref in the league and that's saying something
 

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I don't think he was biased against us. He was too intent on letting the game flow, and had an utterly shocking performance.
Normally I'd agree. But Atkinson's history with us is just too big to ignore.

I know Ferguson had a go at many refs but there wasn't many that genuinely got under his skin as much as Atkinson.

“You hope you get a really strong referee in games like this,” he said. “It was a major game for both clubs and you want a fair referee. You want a strong referee anyway and we didn’t get that.

“I don’t know why he’s got the game. I must say that when I saw who was refereeing it, I feared the worst.”
 

Ainu

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Oh please, there's no "clear pattern" here. Our minds exaggerate the things that don't go our way and tend to forget the things that do go our way. He's just a shite ref.
 

Randall Flagg

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You must realise every football fan in the country for every team says the same thing about this ref or that ref
 

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I don't think he was that bad yesterday. It's just the problem that applies to all referees nowadays, the pace of the game is too much for them with too many things happening in quick succession that they're mostly just guessing. When two players come together it's often the direction the ball goes in that determines whether it's called a foul, not what the actual contact was like.
 

Smoking_Owl

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You must realise every football fan in the country for every team says the same thing about this ref or that ref
Yes, that doesn't mean that their views are always incorrect.

Most are conspiracy theories I grant you, but it would be a conspiracy theory in itself to suggest that no Premier League ref was ever biased for or against a particular PL side. Of course there has been instances of this, refs are human.

There's a reason why a ref who is a Man City or Liverpool fan cannot ref a Man Utd game for instance. This makes sense.

It would also make sense that no Leeds fan (Atkinson) should ever ref a Man Utd game given the vitriol between both clubs, but alas.
 

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You must realise every football fan in the country for every team says the same thing about this ref or that ref
Well that's not true. Even if we stick to the opinion of United fans only (which is something we're best qualified to discuss) then Atkinson is a massive outlier in terms of how he is perceived. He's consistently involved in games where we get shitty decisions against us for years now and is generally a dreadful homer, no matter who is involved. There's loads of other refs who don't get half as much grief.
 

LawCharltonBest

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I don't get the criticism. He was fine. The only thing I think he messed up was not sending off Jesus for a second yellow for a tackle from behind he did right near the end, but nobody else even mentions that.

I have been watching Manchester United matches for many years and this guy is pretty much the only referee I can confidently say 'yeah, he's clearly biased against us'
Have you not watched Michael Oliver matches? He screws us over every game. Has given either a penalty or Red against us in every game this season and we haven't won a game with him in over a year. (about 2 wins in the last 20)
 

red4ever 79

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Thought he was fine last night. 3 occasions City players dived in the box and he didnt take the bait. Regards the sending off, I dont see how anyone can dispute the decision.

The only grumble would be that he didnt get his yellow cards out early enough when Rashford was blocked a couple of times.

Other than that I thought he was pretty good.
 

Pogue Mahone

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I don't get the criticism. He was fine. The only thing I think he messed up was not sending off Jesus for a second yellow for a tackle from behind he did right near the end, but nobody else even mentions that.
It wasn't a terrible performance. He got the big decisions right (although I'd love to know if teams are routinely allowed to take a quick free-kick while the ref is booking someone, I don't think I've seen that before) but Martial and Rashford should have got a lot more protection than they did. The tone was set early on when Ottamendi got away with one of the most blatant blocks on Rashford you'll ever see and from then on they were getting kicked all over the pitch.
 

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Thought he was fine last night. 3 occasions City players dived in the box and he didnt take the bait. Regards the sending off, I dont see how anyone can dispute the decision.

The only grumble would be that he didnt get his yellow cards out early enough when Rashford was blocked a couple of times.

Other than that I thought he was pretty good.
He is generally awful, but wasn't that awful last night.

He is however a prime example of referees not enforcing the laws of the game, they aren't rules, they are laws and they are supposed to be enforced without bias or consideration for the subsequent quality of the football match.

If someone blocks a quick player off in the first 30 seconds, it's a yellow card.

If that player than hacks another player down straight after, then that's a yellow card and he is off, and his team must play with ten men for the rest of the game.

The other layers of bullhsit they use to excuse their cowardice or hide the fact that they are under guidance to "not spoil the spectacle" gets right on my nips.
 

red4ever 79

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He is generally awful, but wasn't that awful last night.

He is however a prime example of referees not enforcing the laws of the game, they aren't rules, they are laws and they are supposed to be enforced without bias or consideration for the subsequent quality of the football match.

If someone blocks a quick player off in the first 30 seconds, it's a yellow card.

If that player than hacks another player down straight after, then that's a yellow card and he is off, and his team must play with ten men for the rest of the game.

The other layers of bullhsit they use to excuse their cowardice or hide the fact that they are under guidance to "not spoil the spectacle" gets right on my nips.
Agree with you on those points. I have seen him give much worse decisions in other games. There is no consistency with the refs these days and that seems to infuriate fans even more. It's a tough balance I dont like seeing refs getting yellows out all the time even. It's a man's game after all. Football is too soft these days. As long as the ref is consistent for both sides I am ok with that. It infuriates me more when players cheat. Dont know if anyone has posted a gif but the dive from Toure in the first half from the corner was outrageous. Deserved a booking
 

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Well that's not true. Even if we stick to the opinion of United fans only (which is something we're best qualified to discuss) then Atkinson is a massive outlier in terms of how he is perceived. He's consistently involved in games where we get shitty decisions against us for years now and is generally a dreadful homer, no matter who is involved. There's loads of other refs who don't get half as much grief.
I bet he has also given us lots of shitty calls in our favour too
 

Smoking_Owl

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The 'he's just an awful ref' explanation doesn't quite cut it for me. It still feels we are on the wrong end of his 'awfulness' more often than not.

Maybe a lot of posters here have only been paying close attention to our football matches for a short time or maybe a lot of posters don't take much notice of who refs our games and how they perform - so they don't see any patterns.

I've been watching United games with close attention for many years now and I can honestly say that Atkinson is the only referee that I genuinely worry about when I see he's scheduled to ref our games.
 

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He left far too many fouls go in favour of City last night especially in the first half.
 

Smoking_Owl

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He is generally awful, but wasn't that awful last night.

He is however a prime example of referees not enforcing the laws of the game, they aren't rules, they are laws and they are supposed to be enforced without bias or consideration for the subsequent quality of the football match.

If someone blocks a quick player off in the first 30 seconds, it's a yellow card.

If that player than hacks another player down straight after, then that's a yellow card and he is off, and his team must play with ten men for the rest of the game.

The other layers of bullhsit they use to excuse their cowardice or hide the fact that they are under guidance to "not spoil the spectacle" gets right on my nips.
This isn't true.

Refs are given tons of leeway to make decisions in accordance with the context of a game.

All of the laws are not binary. 'This foul is always a yellow card, this foul is never a yellow card'

The refs are allowed and in fact encouraged to make subjective calls that may aid their management of the game.
 

Ducklegs

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This isn't true.

Refs are given tons of leeway to make decisions in accordance with the context of a game.

All of the laws are not binary. 'This foul is always a yellow card, this foul is never a yellow card'

The refs are allowed and in fact encouraged to make subjective calls that may aid their management of the game.
It's why they are called laws of the game, and not rules.

A yellow card challenge is a yellow card challenge whether it's minute one or eighty nine.
 

arthurka

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Fernando leading with his arm three times last night was something else and didn´t even get a telling off.
Also Otamendi was totally all over Rashford again and again.. He could or maybe should have carded at least three City players in the first half.
Instead he ignored the fouls all together.. Even in the lead up to the red card on Fellaini he was still telling Fellaini off and writing his name in the book when City started play again. What could Fellaini do run away from the ref and get another yellow for that? That left the field open, Fellaini out of position and that led to this farce. When you show player a yellow card the play is stopped and normally has to be started again with the ref blowing or allowing the play to continue and carding the player when play stops.

He was just very much leaning towards City in this game.
 

acnumber9

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Was he biased when he allowed over 7 minutes of injury time for Michael Owen to score the winner in the derby in 09/10
City had the same 7 minutes in which to score a winner. And they had 7 minutes last night too.
 

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It's why they are called laws of the game, and not rules.

A yellow card challenge is a yellow card challenge whether it's minute one or eighty nine.
That's the issue though, isn't it? Nobody seems to know what constitutes a yellow card challenge anymore. One referee thinks it's one thing, another referee thinks it's another. Apparently Herrera made two of them against Chelsea in the cup and got sent off. I personally thought some of the challenges that went through the back of Rashford and Martial last night were much more excessive than either of Herrera's vs Chelsea, yet they weren't even given as fouls, let alone a booking.
 

jojojo

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In the context of last night's game, letting the game flow = let City commit fouls to block any counter-attacks. As far as I'm concerned, they should have gone in at half time with bookings for Fernandinho, Otamendi and Toure - I reckon the match would have flowed a lot better with their defence on yellows.
 

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Regardless of his performance last night, if he is a confirmed Leeds fan he shouldn't be allowed to ref our games. Leeds fans still see us as their biggest rival.
 

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I bet he has also given us lots of shitty calls in our favour too
Any you can think of? There were none last night, that's for damn sure.

Last night aside, the most recent really bad call he gave against us was when Luiz went in with his studs into Fellaini's thigh in the game against Chelsea. That was a terrible miss, for which he got rightfully slated by - among others - Keith Hackett.