'He took money!' - Fan claims Arsenal's incredible 49-game unbeaten run was ended by 'corrupt' Mike Riley at Man Utd as ex-referee chief issues damning reply

Man Utd Arsenal Riley
Incompetence rather than corruption was apparently to blame for Mike Riley's refereeing performance when Man Utd beat Arsenal's 'Invincibles.'
  • United beat Arsenal 2-0 back in 2004
  • Fan claims referee was corrupt
  • Former PGMOL chief sets record straight

WHAT HAPPENED? Arsenal's 'Invincibles' famously saw their 49-unbeaten streak ended by Manchester United in a controversial match back in 2004. A supporter has now questioned referee Mike Riley's integrity on Twitter in a match which saw United awarded a penalty for a foul by Sol Campbell on Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand escape a red card for a last-man foul on Freddie Ljungberg. The Red Devils also targeted Jose Reyes in a game that saw tempers boil over and pizza famously hurled at then United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after the final whistle.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I question Mike Riley’s integrity. There is no way he gives a performance like he did in the match that ended Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run without being corrupt. He took money to ensure Arsenal never made it to 50. He was a disgrace to his profession."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Former referee and PGMOL chief Keith Hackett was quick to respond to the allegation and had a far more damning reason for Riley's performance in United's win.

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"I was boss at the time and I assure you that was down to sheer incompetence and perhaps a lack of on-field courage," he Tweeted. "When faced with a player ignoring his request to talk with him. He should have flashed the red."


Jose Reyes 2004

Arsenal Man Utd 2004

Vieira Rooney 2004

WHAT NEXT FOR ARSENAL? The Gunners are currently on target to end a 19-year wait for a Premier League trophy. Arsenal top the Premier League table by five points from Manchester City after 26 games.