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Satire: Key performer shown door by Manchester United

Roy Keane, David Beckham, Jaap Stam, and in some ways even Cristiano Ronaldo are all big names that have faced the axe at Old Trafford, for reasons as varied as their playing styles – significant losses which the club has successfully grown out of. No player is larger than the club, it is said, but the announcement by the club management at a recent press conference was a dagger to the hearts of many Manchester United fans the world over.

Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly told journalists that the club has decided against extending the contract of a figure, who over the years has made his way into Manchester United folklore. This follows a press release on 30th February, which informed the media about stalled contract negotiations between the club and fan favourite Howard Webb.

When asked why the club has come to this decision, Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that Webb’s recent performances hadn’t been up to their expectations, and he was getting worse with each game. He pointed out that Webb, who would earlier conjure up ways to rescue United from just about any predicament, was not at his best any more. The manager highlighted the FA Cup quarterfinal against Chelsea, which he said was the last nail in the referee’s coffin.

“You just cannot give up a two goal lead. I was very disappointed that he (Webb) did not cooperate with the back four to play the off-side trap. I cannot believe he allowed the second Chelsea goal… I almost choked on my chewing gum,” a visibly livid Sir Alex Ferguson said.

Happier days.

Happier days.

While Howard Webb himself was unavailable for comment, many fans were visibly distraught after hearing the news, and made no effort to hide their discontent. Several fans came to Old Trafford in Webb jerseys after the press conference and protested against the decision. The spokesperson for the fans said that they would stay behind Webb, and were going to boo the match referees on every decision they made in United’s coming games, until the club management brought back Webb and also extended his contract.

Making of a Legend

Making of a Legend

“He is not just any official… He is the official club official. A couple of poor games are nothing given the number of games he has single-handedly won for us.” Goat.com quoted a fan as saying.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife as to who would replace Webb, should the club stick to its decision. Many wonder if the club has a replacement already lined up. A source claimed that Mark Clattenburg has had talks with the club already, and the details of the contract are being finalised. The management were reportedly very impressed with his trial for the team, also against Chelsea earlier in the season. This report has been corroborated by many fans, who claimed that Clattenburg was seen outside Old Trafford on the evening the announcement was made. But as with all transfer rumours, it remains to be seen if a deal does materialise amidst all this speculation.

DISCLAIMER – This is a satire, and should be taken in jest.

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