‘Significant’ – Pgmol chief admits costly ‘error’ that may have relegated Newcastle United

Howard Webb, a former referee and PGMOL technical director, has acknowledged to making a ‘mistake’ that may have resulted in Newcastle United’s relegation in 2009.
Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League for the first time after a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on the final day of the season in 2008-09.

However, The Magpies’ season-ending encounter at St James’ Park versus Fulham similarly ended in a 1-0 defeat. Webb was the referee for the game and has since stated that he erroneously denied a Newcastle equalizer made by Mark Viduka that could have theoretically kept them in the game after Diomansy Kamara had given Fulham the lead in the first half.

Webb addressed the blunder to Alan Shearer, the manager of Newcastle at the time, on The Rest Is Football Podcast, saying, “It’s taken ten years, but people are talking about acknowledging errors at the moment, and I do have to acknowledge that error.”Kevin Nolan is to blame. Newcastle vs. Fulham. And I’m not entirely to blame because I only refereed one of the games you were in charge of!


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“Kevin had been standing on Mark Schwarzer’s toes on corners, and I’d had a word with Kevin.”
A corner was awarded and I saw him do it again so I stopped it, you see referees blowing the whistle, go in and have a word so I did that and said, ‘don’t do it, don’t stand on his toes.’

“Anyway, as the corner comes in, [Nolan] moves towards Schwarzer, and I just reacted too quickly and blew, and he kind of just stopped short of doing it, and Mark Viduka slammed this [header] into the top corner, majestically, as I’ve blown the whistle thinking, ‘oh my goodness, I’ve blown too soon.'”

“No VAR, no opportunity to change it and I spent the rest of the day thinking, ‘I hope Newcastle come back into this game’ and they didn’t.”

“I had to dismiss a player [Sebastien Bassong] for a professional foul as well, and Newcastle lost.”

“You went to Villa on the last day needing a win or a point and I remember being at West Ham the same day thinking ‘I hope Newcastle have got something out of the game’ otherwise that decision to disallow that goal is going to be pretty significant.”

Newcastle were eventually relegated, and Shearer stepped down as manager at the end of the season.

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