For the first time, Howard Webb has addressed claims that he favoured Man Utd throughout his refereeing career. The announcement of Webb's retirement last week was met with quite a few references to claims that he was unduly influenced by Sir Alex Ferguson.
The claims came to a head in 2011 after Liverpool's Ryan Babel was fined £10,000 for tweeting a photoshopped picture of Webb in a Man Utd jersey following an FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford.
However, when he was asked to look back on his career, Webb brushed off the possibility that his supposed favouritism of the Old Trafford side had an adverse affect on him.
There's no element of truth in it. It's not something that affected me or played on my mind at all. It wasn't hurtful. Much of it is tongue-in-cheek, of course.
While the Man Utd rumours may have been taken with a pinch of salt, Webb admitted that the genuine mistakes which he made did weigh heavy on his mind.
What does play on my mind is when I’ve made a mistake, particularly an influential one that has affected the outcome of a game. I’d be dishonest if I said it didn’t bother me.
One newspaper listed the five games I’d want to forget over the course of my career. Well, there’s more than five. But against the backdrop of more than 500 professional games – I can think of many top professional footballers who have made plenty of mistakes but are still top professional footballers.
If our integrity is questioned by people in a serious way, that’s a different matter. The level of integrity we have as a group is really high.