Bemused by Dowd's decisions during Wigan's game with Man United? Back of the Net's John Foster has the scoop...
Phil Dowd spent the duration of Manchester UnitedÃ¢ÂÂs shock defeat to Wigan Athletic on Wednesday thinking about his post-match handshakes with players and officials, FourFourTwo.com has learned.
Dowd has been the target of intense criticism after making several controversial decisions during the match, including failing to send off Jonny Evans, ruling out a Wigan goal, denying Man United two penalties and allowing the first half to continue for 55 minutes while he practiced his handshake technique in the centre circle.
Ã¢ÂÂMr DowdÃ¢ÂÂs mind seemed to be elswhere,Ã¢ÂÂ remarked Latics boss Roberto Martinez. Ã¢ÂÂHe was gazing into the middle distance for at least the first 15 minutes, and I know he didnÃ¢ÂÂt have a clear view of Victor MosesÃ¢ÂÂ disallowed goal, because I could see him staring at Rio Ferdinand's wrists.Ã¢ÂÂ
Sources close to Dowd have told FourFourTwo.com that recent events had brought his complex about his handshake to a head.First, the Staffordshire-based official found himself unable to stop shaking the hand of Oriol Romeu after ChelseaÃ¢ÂÂs clash with West Brom, forcing the young midfielder to miss two matches with a sprained thumb.
Then, following NewcastleÃ¢ÂÂs game against Norwich, Magpies boss Alan Pardew announced publicly that shaking hands with Dowd was Ã¢ÂÂlike fondling a dessicated hagfishÃ¢ÂÂ, words which Dowd is understood to have found quite hurtful.
"What if I injure a goalie's hand?"
Ã¢ÂÂLast night was particularly tough for Phil,Ã¢ÂÂ ex-referee Graeme Poll told FourFourTwo.com.
Ã¢ÂÂRoberto [Martinez] is reknowned as having one of the most sophisticated handshakes in the Premier League, masculine but contemporary, and with impeccably well-moisturised palms.
Ã¢ÂÂAnd even though itÃ¢ÂÂs a privilege to shake the hand of a living legend like Sir Alex [Ferguson], he could snap your fingers like dry twigs if he wanted to.
rÃ¢ÂÂSo it wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt surprise me if Phil was more nervous than usual. Though having said that, thatÃ¢ÂÂs no excuse for giving Gary Caldwell a panicked curtsey at the final whistle. He deserves better than that.Ã¢ÂÂ
The FA have announced that until Dowd overcomes his fear of handshakes he will only referee games involving QPR, whose manager Mark Hughes considers politeness to be a sign of weakness, and so refuses to shake hands with anyone as a matter of principle.