It’s fair to say that as unpopular figures amongst Tottenham supporters go, Howard Webb is a high-climber in the charts and hovering just below Sol Campbell at number one.
This is a man who when we were 2-0 up at Old Trafford last season, gave United a penalty for no reason, setting in motion our predictable capitulation and eventual 5-2 loss.
Then just last night against Liverpool, Webb did little to endear himself to the Tottenham fans, when he failed to give us a blatant penalty and ruled out a perfectly good goal. Yes, we played shit, but it doesn’t help when the opposition are fielding a twelfth man wearing black.
If you Google ‘Howard Webb’ in an attempt to send him hate mail, one of the top ranking results is a website proclaiming itself to be ‘The Official Website of Howard Webb’.
Unfortunately the ‘Howard Webb’ in question, is an IT consultant from London. Having clearly been inundated by abusive messages from irate football fans, IT Howard states at the top of his website that ‘This is not the website of Howard Webb Football Referee and Football Official’. He then goes on to provide links to some articles about Referee Howard, in an effort to get the embittered supporters off his virtual property, as quickly as possible.
Webb is not content to just be a hate figure of fans of non-‘Big Four’ clubs and in 2008 managed to attract the collective ire of an entire nation. In Poland, Howard’s popularity ranks alongside that of a certain Austrian painter with a dodgy moustache and a side-parting.
In Euro 2008 with Poland 1-0 up against host nation Austria, Webb awarded a controversial penalty, after he adjudged Poland’s Mariusz Lewandowski to have pulled the shirt of Sebastian Prodl. Now I know why he was reticent that give that penalty last night.
Poland erupted in moral outrage. Some select quotes from Poland’s great and good include:
Leo Beenhakker: The referee wanted to show that he’s a big boy and awarded a penalty. I’m lost for words about what happened.
Mariusz Lewandowski: This is a fucking scandal.
Pawel Golanski: I feel cheated as a footballer and as a Pole.
Dariusz Dudka: The referee deprived us of a chance to qualify further.
Jacek Bak: I’m lost for words. He would’ve never called it in England. (Editor’s note: You got that right)
Marek Saganowski: If Webb awarded such a penalty in the Premiership he would have been suspended for a couple of months.
Donald Tusk, Polish Prime Minister: I feel like killing somebody.
internet nerds graphic artists were busy on Photoshop creating all sorts of images, devoted to ridiculing our bald referee.
Even normal Polish people who don’t spend all their time manipulating images got in on the act.
So let’s content ourselves with the knowledge that Howard’s numerous gaffes against us aren’t personal and that he’s ready and willing to be intimidated by any home crowd.
Now when do we get him at White Hart Lane?