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The best teams make own luck By Martin North Football, much like life, is a game of luck.

Sometimes the best team doesnt win. Sometimes your $20 million striker misses the ball from 5 yards out. Sometimes, a ball hits an arm and the referee sees it. Sometimes he doesnt. They are human after all referees and $20 million strikers and humans, despite our best efforts, are fallible. Unfortunately, that explanation isnt good enough for some. Avram Grants recent suggestion that referees favor Manchester United (is there a soccer365 article about this that we can link to instead?) may just be mind games in the run-up to Wednesdays Champions League final, but he is not alone in his concerns. A quick look at some online football forums suggests that many ABU (Anyone but United) fans share Grants distrust of officials. On the BBCs 606 forum, PhillyLpoolFan (no prizes for guessing who they support) says Utd always gets the benefit of doubt in England. For as good as their record has been in England the past 10 years, I am suprised they have not won the CL in that period. That kind of evidence shows they dominate England because of favours from the Refs! This kind of attitude is commonplace but it bears little resemblance to reality. United did win the most penalties this season with 8, but to suggest that this is a product of conspiracy rather than their direct, attacking football is delusion. Is it any surprise that beleaguered Derby earned only one spot-kick? Chelsea were awarded 7 - just one less than United - hardly a margin worthy of suspicion. United are certainly no angels. Sir Alex Ferguson frequently storms red-faced into the pressroom to accuse the referee of crimes against his men. After last months 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge, Carlos Queiroz ludicrously complained that "It must be necessary for a player to bring a gun and shoot one of our men in the box for us to get a penalty. Post-match interviews by losing coaches are seldom free from hyperbolic grievances. But on some occasions, their angst is justified. Porto were the lucky beneficiaries of a bad offside call that ruled out a Paul Scholes goal in the second leg of their 2004 Champions League 1st Round tie against United. A late Costinha goal sent the eventual tournament winners through and Jose Mourinho celebrated wildly on the Old Trafford turf. How different his career may have been but for a linesmans error; even Special Ones need luck now and then. A year later Mourinho, then Chelsea manager, made inflammatory remarks that created the unfortunate Anders Frisk affair. The flamboyant Swedish official retired after receiving death threats to his family. Sadly, it seems that undermining referees credibility has remained a problem within the game. Perhaps it is understandable that, in the aftermath of Calciopoli, referees integrity should be viewed with less certainty. But corruption is a more pervasive cultural problem in Italy than in England, and Premier League vetting is stringent enough to ensure that the likes of Rob Styles and Mike Dean are honest cops. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, I am a great believer in luck; the better you play, the more you have. Referees will always make mistakes. Maybe someday well have robot refs who get every decision right. But until then we have men; imperfect men. Premier League officials are many things, but crooked? Give me a break.