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Howard Webb retires: Best Twitter 'tributes' to the much-maligned whistle blower

Despite a sterling career, Webb has often been the subject of internet-based assaults on his probity

The internet was typically quick to respond to the news that Howard Webb will be retiring as a Premier League referee prior to the start of the new season

Webb is putting down the referee's whistle in order to take up a position as technical director of Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) after 25 years spent directing operations on the pitch.

However, any respectful retrospectives on his career were quickly drowned out by a sea of internet memes, many of which poked fun at the favouritism the part-time policeman has often been accused of holding towards Manchester United.

The hashtag #HowardWebb quickly began trending at the top of Twitter - but as you can see below, the plaudits were rarely laudatory.