Mark Clattenburg, now a figure of controversy for what he allegedly said as well as what he did, is not the first referee to preside over some questionable decisions during a Chelsea-Manchester United Premier League match. Howard Webb's failure to send Gary Cahill off last season and awarding Danny Welbeck a penalty were two big calls against both sides, but it was Martin Atkinson's one-two in 2009 and 2011 which so incensed Sir Alex Ferguson he claimed United didn't get a "fair referee" in the latter fixture.
In the former, Chelsea prevailed 1-0 after a winner dubious not for one, not two, but three poor decisions. "Twelve men," Wayne Rooney mouthed into an on-pitch camera after the game.
Wayne Rooney and Darren Fletcher vehemently disagree
Atkinson had denied United a penalty in the first period but a flurry of decisions in in quick succession trumped that in the staggered stakes. Darren Fletcher was adjudged to have fouled Ashley Cole when he had played the ball, and from the resultant free-kick, John Terry scored as an offside Didier Drogba tried to make contact (ergo, he is active) whilst fouling Wes Brown. Beforehand he also bizarrely booked Didier Drogba despite him bearing the brunt of a rough challenge from Jonny Evans.
The following season Atkinson, despite the previous campaign's flashpoints in the same fixture, was appointed to officiate the same match again.
Several Chelsea fouls were ignored, with serial offender Branislav Ivanovic escaping a booking altogether while David Luíz was not sent off for either one of two fouls on Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney, having already been yellow-carded. Add what Sir Alex Ferguson described as a "soft" penalty into the melee, and Fergie was furious.
"You want a fair referee, or a strong referee anyway - and we didn't get that." An FA tribunal gave the Scot a five-match touchline ban for his comments.
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