Manchester United are showing signs of a major resurgence under Erik ten Hag this season.
The Red Devils have bounced back strongly from their nightmare from the previous campaign, sitting just five points behind the Premier League leaders.
United have been unable to win a single trophy for the last five years, the longest trophy drought the club has experienced in the 21st century.
However, Erik ten Hag’s side have a major chance to put an end to that embarrassing record when they face Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final.
It’ll mark the first time that the Red Devils have qualified for the cup’s final since winning the competition in the 2016/17 season under Jose Mourinho.
Newcastle have not won a trophy in decades and they’re arguably even more desperate, if not just as desperate to win their first silverware in the Saudi era.
That being said, some unnecessary controversy has emerged around the fixture even before it has taken place.
This comes after the referees who would officiate the final were announced, with David Coote set to take charge of the game.
Yes, he is indeed the same referee who enraged Liverpool fans in 2020 after failing to send Jordan Pickford off for injuring Virgil van Dijk in their Premier League clash and ruling him out of the 2020/21 season.
He’s gained a poor reputation for his high profile error in big games and Newcastle United fans are not happy to see him be given the responsibility to take charge of the game.
It’ll mark the first final that Coote has officiated, which doesn’t help his case either.
Moreover, ahead of the game, a picture of the referee is doing the rounds on social media.
It is a screenshot showing a Facebook Profile which is allegedly his. His profile picture shows him smiling with the backdrop of Old Trafford and a picture of Man United’s stadium in his cover picture as well.
This tries to indicate that Coote is indeed a fan of the Red Devils and is ready to do an inside job in the final.
Man United have been mocked over the last few decades for ‘buying referees’ in the Premier League and some rival fans have even stated their success under Sir Alex Ferguson was because the gaffer had the referees in his pockets.
Amid all the enrage over Coote’s allegiances, the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) has clarified his situation and stated that the Facebook Profile screenshot floating around is fake.
They’ve announced that the referee is actually a fan of the National League side Notts County and was born in Nottinghamshire.
As a result, he is barred from ever officiating a game involving Notts County or Nottingham Forest because refereeing rules in England state that an official cannot officiate a game involving the team they support.
Coote has been involved as a referee for two of Man United’s games this season, overseeing their wins over Aston Villa and Everton.
But it’s now been confirmed by the referee’s association itself that the Carabao Cup final referee does not share any love for either of the two clubs involved – meaning it will be a fair game in which only the better side will be able to lift the cup.