Spineless Dean has let everyone down by letting Ferguson get away with it again
01:36 GMT, 28 December 2012
I was at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, supporting Manchester United, and I was appalled by Ferguson’s finger-jabbing tirade towards the match officials and particularly towards assistant referee Jake Collin at the beginning of the second half.
Regardless of whether Dean was correct in awarding Newcastle their
second goal in their 4-3 defeat by United, what followed from Ferguson
at the beginning of the second half was unacceptable.
Cleared: Sir Alex Ferguson will face no action after remonstrating to referee Mike Dean on Saturday
But by electing to omit the details of Ferguson’s ‘discussion’ with the officials, Dean not only let himself down but also his colleagues and most importantly, the army of referees — some of whom are as young as 14, the age at which I began refereeing — at grassroots level.
Week after week, we are subjected to foul verbal abuse in the Saturday and Sunday leagues, the type of which just doesn’t take place in any other aspect of society.
Where else is a 15-year-old boy called a ‘f****** blind ****’
At 16, I began refereeing adult games where every decision is questioned, where every free kick awarded brings a foul-mouthed riposte and when 6ft-tall, 15-stone men are gagging for a fight. I did one game in a rough part of Manchester last year and sent a player off for two straightforward yellow cards and he had to be restrained from attacking me by his team-mates.
Barrage: Ferguson complained to assistant referee Jake Collin after Jonny Evans' own goal was awarded
This was a rare exception but it highlights that it has become the ‘done thing’ in football to intimidate the referee. And the most frustrating part is that the Premier League referees could bring an end to it by following the laws of the game and dealing with abuse with red cards.
It would bring an instant flurry of dismissals but players and managers would soon learn that such behaviour would no longer be tolerated. More than that, the example being set would soon filter down to grassroots — finally, we would have the precedent we need to get tough on the abuse.
I am fed up of seeing referees in the Premier League being so utterly spineless. Why is it that they continue to allow players to question every decision, swear at them, and crowd around them in an aggressive manner Top-level referees aren’t helping themselves and their cowardice is damaging our cause at grassroots level.