Xuenou > Editor's Picks > Ex-Premier League ref Howard Webb has one decision he wishes he could change
Ex-Premier League ref Howard Webb has one decision he wishes he could change
Ex-Premier League ref Howard Webb has one decision he wishes he could change,Former Premier League referee Howard Webb has one decision that he would change from his extended career - a blunder that benefitted Manchester United

Ex-Premier League ref Howard Webb has one decision he wishes he could change

If Howard Webb could change one mistake from his extended officiating career – it would be to take a penalty away from Manchester United.

The former Premier League referee, who is now the technical director of the Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL), was a league official between 2003 and 2014 and even took charge of the 2010 World Cup final.

Back in 2020, the 52-year-old was asked if he would change any of his decisions if he could turn back the clock – admitting one gut feeling that he got wrong.

The incident came during a clash between United and Tottenham back in 2009 with the hosts coming back from 2-0 down to win 5-2 thanks in part to a penalty being given against Heurelho Gomes for a foul on Michael Carrick.

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"The one that stands out is one where in the game I knew I got it wrong. It was a Premier League game at Old Trafford – Manchester United versus Tottenham Hotspur in 2009," Webb told The Athletic in 2020.

"I could see Carrick got there first and then the goalkeeper clattered into him. It was really an easy penalty award.

"I was expecting the usual cursory appeal that you get from the players, not the huge look of absolute astonishment and amazement and incredulousness on the look of Gomes. It was obvious within seconds I'd got the decision wrong. There was something more to this."

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 25: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates scoring their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on April 25 2009, in Manchester, England.
Cristiano Ronaldo put Man Utd on the path to a comeback victory (Image: Manchester United via Getty Images)

Replays showed that Gomes may well have got contact on the ball before Carrick went over rather easily before Cristiano Ronaldo reduced the arrears.

The most memorable game of Webb's career was the biggest game in world football back in 2010, in which Spain beat the Netherlands in extra time.

Before John Heitinga was sent off for a second bookable offence, Nigel De Jong got away with a booking despite his studs landing in the chest of Xabi Alonso.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 8: Retired referee Howard Webb talks to journalists during day four of the Soccerex Global Convention at Manchester Central on September 8, 2015 in Manchester, England.
Howard Webb is now PGMOL's technical director (Image: Getty Images)

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Speaking to FourFourTwo 12 years later, De Jong said: "I was lucky that an English referee was in charge, because he’d seen many hard challenges in the past.

"I thought he would give me the benefit of the doubt because I put my hands up immediately."

He added: "That incident came on the world stage so it gained a lot of attention. Maybe one day we'll see each other, have a beer and laugh about it. Ultimately, he won the game. I think he had the last laugh."