Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We Was "Robbed"

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

We Was "Robbed"

Article excerpt

As we all know, we was "robbed" by a "bent" referee. That appears to be the considered conclusion of the ever sporting English public.

Not sloppy misplaced passing in a sluggish midfield.

Not a defensive tactical framework.

Not a failure to relieve 117 minutes of incessant pressure.

Not the shape of the game changing after Shrek went off.

Not even losing the inevitable shoot-out lottery. Again.

No - it was the referee.

Ian Wright didn't pull his punches as he weighed in on the whistle to slam the "homer" with the Beeb's libel lawyers cringing at home.

Even the normally restrained Motty got in on the act and junked all journalistic notions of objectivity to put the "outrageous decision" line on an ever more irritating tape loop for the whole of extra-time.

And dismayed fans were quick to put the boot in too.

Almost immediately the address of Urs Meier's personal website, including phone number and e-mail address (a triumph of pompous egotism it must be said) was zipping through cyberspace to in-boxes everywhere with fair-minded patriots invited to 'let him know what you think'.

That was followed by very slick pictures of Meier arguing with England players accompanied by a digitally-added guide dog.

Conspiracies abounded.

First it was hinted that 'the organisers' (a shadowy SPECTRE-like group of mysterious men in suits, possibly stroking white cats and grinning manically) wanted Portugal to progress at all costs.

Far be if from me to point out the irony of England complaining about officials favouring the home nation - but, had the linesman been Russian, maybe Sol Campbell's 'goal' would have stood.

And equally that Portugal had a 'Geoff Hurst-style' effort waved away. No slo-mo replays and anguished inquest of the ref's decision there.

Also it was suggested that his famous Swiss neutrality had been severely compromised by the resounding 3-0 thumping Sven's men had dished out to the Toblerone munchers a week earlier. …

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