Howard Webb agreed to an exclusive interview with The Spoof senior sports correspondent yesterday to explain his widely criticised penalty decision against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
I met him outside his detached four bedroomed property in Cheshire; he warmly shook my hand and seemed eager to explain the events of last Saturday to me. "Thank you so much for coming Shawie" he has always called me that since we were both on Uniteds books as juniors in the seventies, "I wanted someone I could trust to help me explain what happened to the world, and you are my obvious choice".
I thanked him for his kind words and joined him in his drawing room by a roaring log fire as we chatted about old times over a glass of red wine and some cheesy wotsits.
I asked him about the strange penalty decisions and the mood changed. His joviality seemed to drain away and a more thoughtful sombre Howard Webb sat before me.
"It was like this Shawie old mate" he said leaning forward towards me. "I was walking off the pitch at half-time. As I approached the tunnel there was a little lad of about ten years old. He wore a United shirt and scarf and as the spring sunlight glinted off his blonde hair I noticed a single tear drip from his eye and dribble slowly down his young face. I looked into his face and was reminded of my own son when he was about that age, and the look of utter sadness in the boys face made me question what I had thought was important in life.
I then stopped walking and looked around the stadium and sore people of all ages, races and gender equally devastated by the two nil deficit. I looked back to the young boy and his eyes met mine and he managed a brave smile. I felt moved. It was almost a spiritual experience."
"What is more important I thought. Impartially refereeing a football match or making a difference to thousands of people's lives. I had spent my whole life being fair and impartial and all that had resulted was heartache and pain. I came out in the second half knowing what I had to do to make things right.
"So when Gomez came out and made that save I had no hesitation. I did feel a bit sorry for the lad as it was a brilliant save but some things are more important that a bunch of blokes running around a field kicking a ball about. I know this may cost me my job, but I don't care. There is a higher authority than the FA and when my time comes I think He will agree with what I have done."
I asked him if he had any regrets and he said none. I walked away from the pleasant suburban home impressed with a man who had stood up for what he believed in but more than a little worried about the Maelstrom that would surely result from his confessions. I am sure this is just the beginning.