Manchester City v Wolves: Welcome To the Stuart Attwell Show

An intriguing rematch played out only three days after a one-sided Carling Cup clash was unfortunately dominated by a whistle-happy weirdo who probably once had posters of Clive Thomas on his bedroom wall.
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An intriguing rematch played out only three days after a one-sided Carling Cup clash was unfortunately dominated by a whistle-happy weirdo who probably once had posters of Clive Thomas on his bedroom wall.

Last Wednesday evening Manchester City, still fizzing from their derby rout, ruthlessly steamrollered 5-2 Wolves in the Carling Cup. They did so with a combination of patient possession and slick, incisive passing and found particular joy down the home team’s right-hand side where Kolorov galloped like an unfettered stallion throughout.

Just three days later the sides met again and though most of the personnel was different it was still a fascinating rematch between the recently vanquished nursing their bloody noses and the stylish bruisers with crimson dripping off their knuckles. How would Mick McCarthy respond to this? Would lessons be learnt?

Certainly their right was on lock-down from the very start; Kolorov having to content himself with small paddocks of space near the touchline. But aside from that all tactical curiosities remained unanswered.

That’s because yesterday at the Etihad wasn’t a football match. It was the Stuart Attwell Show.

Attwell is the most incompetent, out-of-his-depth, fast-tracked referee I have ever witnessed in my entire life. This opinion was formed long before he needlessly took centre stage throughout yesterday’s encounter and sullied what could and should have been an intriguing continuation of battle.

His perpetual habit of giving baffling decisions is compounded by having zero people skills which results in player not only walking away perplexed but simmering with ignorance too. Attwell is a leg-break waiting to happen.

Perhaps his inability to form even the most basic of bonds with the players comes from being an unusual little boy who always dreamed of becoming a referee from a very young age. His dad once admitted so. Instead of Le Tiss or Cantona adorning his bedroom wall he probably had a poster of Clive Thomas. There is little doubt in my mind that he was bullied mercilessly as a kid. And he probably tried booking his tormentors after each kicking with a piece of yellow card his mummy cut out for him whilst ruffling his hair and telling ‘Stuey-Wooey’ he was ‘special’.

Incredibly the only decision he got right in the entire ninety minutes was the biggy – Wolves’ penalty and Vincent Kompany’s dismissal.

I’ve tried to make sense of his astonishingly poor performance yesterday and have boiled it down to two possible reasons.

1/ Attwell is an inept joke of an official who shouldn’t be let loose anywhere near a football pitch.

2/ Someone laced his whistle with superglue and in an attempt to disguise the fact that it was hopelessly stuck to his lips he opted to parp up for every single challenge fair or not.

Incredibly the only decision he got right in the entire ninety minutes was the biggy – Wolves’ penalty and Vincent Kompany’s dismissal.

Until then City had gone through the gears only to discover that fourth and fifth were jammed. Even in relative cruise control however they possessed enough quality and individual ingenuity to finally break down a resolute Wolves who aptly hunted in packs. Two goals to the good City looked home and dry but then Joe Hart uncharacteristically flapped like a leper’s eyelid on a windy day and Stephen Hunt reduced the deficit from the spot. Suddenly something crept into the stadium and amongst the players that they’d not experienced for quite some time: tension.

Wolves deserved to claw themselves back into contention and huge credit must go to them for the manner in which they put their Carling Cup battering to bed. But why did it have to be Hunt of all people to prompt an ultimately futile late rally? The man remains a personal bugbear of mine.

If Royston Vasey had a Sunday League team then this vile, angry scrote would surely be the captain. A man so grotesque he tests your gag-reflex on sight, half-deformed and snarling and snapping at the nearest Achilles heel or goalkeeper’s skull. Scurrying about with his hair made of twigs like a Gremlin who’s downed a bottle of Bushmills after midnight Hunt won’t retire; he will be released back into the wild.

Once he’d slotted home surprisingly City didn’t ship in another five. I’ve been led to believe all week by United supporters that capitulating is common-practice once a team gets their centre-back sent off. Instead, thanks to a long-range placement by Adam Johnson, City ensured the points as injury time approached.

After last week’s Old Trafford fantasia most of the game felt a little flat which was definitely a case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show - or perhaps after the Dark Lord Ferguson’s Show-up? -  but after that surreal result took City five clear ensuring the points was all that really mattered this time.

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