Tag Archives: assistant

Lionel Messi breaks another record by completing stunning scoring circle against every La Liga team

Messi breaks another record by completing stunning scoring circle against every La Liga team

By
Pete Jenson

PUBLISHED:

19:16 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 30 March 2013

Lionel Messi extended his five-month
scoring run to 19 games to became the first player ever to score in
consecutive matches against every other team in the division.

The Argentine scored in Barcelona's
2-2 draw with Celta Vigo to take his La Liga tally to 43 for this season
with nine games left of the campaign.

Messi has now scored 30 goals in the last 19 matches.

Scroll down for his full scoring record

Record breaker: Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Celta Vigo

Record breaker: Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Celta Vigo

Hot shot: Messi extended his scoring run to 19 league games

Hot shot: Messi extended his scoring run to 19 league games

In the equivalent of an entire half-season, he has delivered match after match, scoring against all opponents.

It was on November 3 last year that
he last failed to score – at home to Celta Vigo – a game played less
than 24 hours after his partner, Antonella Ruccuzzo, had given birth to
their son, Thiago.

Messi played 90 minutes in the 3-1
victory that night, but there was to be no special goal dedicated to the
new born. He has made up for it since.

On eight occasions he has scored
twice and in a 5-1 win over Osasuna at the end of January he scored
four. With this latest strike, he is now on course to shatter the
half-century of league goals he clocked up last season.

With 10 games left last season he had
scored 33 goals – with nine games left now he is already on 43 and
homing in on last season's record-breaking 91 in all competitions in a
calendar year.

Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura
said: 'The fact that no one has ever done this before shows just how
difficult it is. Only with the passing of time will we realise just how
incredible his achievements have been.'

A belter: Barca's Cristian Tello beats Celta Vigo keeper Javi Varas

A belter: Barca's Cristian Tello beats Celta Vigo keeper Javi Varas

In control: Messi takes on Natxo Insa

In control: Messi takes on Natxo Insa

Messi, 25, started as captain, despite being sick on the pitch in Argentina's midweek draw against Bolivia in the high-altitude conditions of La Paz.

But with both Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez rested ahead of Barcelona's trip to Paris in the Champions League on Tuesday, Messi was starved of service.

He went down under a challenge from Vadim Demidov but referee Mateu Lahoz waved away penalty appeals.

Barcelona struggled in defence, with on-loan Arsenal striker Park Chu-Young causing problems for young centre-back Marc Bartra and only a fine double save from Jose Pinto kept out the home side after a mistake by Gerard Pique.

messi scoring circle updated

On 39 minutes, Barcelona fell behind when Fabian Orellana crossed for Natxo Insa to score. Messi saw a free-kick saved by Javi Varas, but two minutes before the break he turned provider for Cristian Tello to net.

It was Messi's 10th assist of the season – only Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil has managed more – but it was a goal he needed for the record and it came on 73 minutes.

In front of the penalty area, he fizzed the ball out wide to Tello and when the youngster played it back to him first time, Messi finished past Varas.

A late equaliser from Borja Oubina two minutes from time prevented Barcelona from taking all three points but Messi at least had his incredible record.

Boss Tito Vilanova is expected to travel with the squad after his return from New York, where he was having cancer treatment. 'It's a massive boost,' said Roura.

Massadio Haidara could return against Fulham after Callum McManaman"s horror tackle

Haidara could be back NEXT WEEK after speedy recovery from McManaman's lunge

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

15:30 GMT, 28 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 28 March 2013

Massadio Haidara could return to action next week after the Newcastle defender was on the receiving end of a horror tackle from Wigan's Callum McManaman

Fortunately for the 21-year-old and Newcastle, the French defender could feature against Fulham next weekend, but will miss Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at Manchester City.

Pardew, while surprised at comments made
by Wigan chairman Dave Whelan and manager Roberto Martinez after the
game, was simply relieved not to have lost his January signing for
several months.

Ouch: Massadio Haidara was carried off after a lunge from Callum McManaman

Ouch: Massadio Haidara was carried off after a lunge from Callum McManaman

Got away with it: Callum McManaman was not punished by referee Mark Halsey or the FA for this tackle

Got away with it: Callum McManaman was not punished by referee Mark Halsey or the FA for this tackle

Asked if either the club or the defender had received an apology from the Latics, he said: 'No, I don't think so.

'I was a little bit surprised at the manager's and the chairman's
comments that it was a fair challenge – I think everybody else could see
that it wasn't. But that's opinion and I can understand them wanting to
defend their player.

'It would be interesting to know what their opinion would have been if
it was Cheick Tiote on [James] McCarthy, their outstanding young
midfield player.

'But it is what it is, it's done and we move on to another game.'

Haidara lies in agony on the ground

Agony: Massadio Haidara left the field on a stretcher but thankfully has not suffered serious damage

Agony: Massadio Haidara left the field on a stretcher but thankfully has not suffered serious damage
.
Head down: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is concerned McManaman has taken too much flak

Head down: Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is concerned McManaman has taken too much flak

Pardew also
renewed his calls for the Premier League to employ professional
assistant referees in the wake of McManaman’s controversial challenge.

Pardew’s belief that referees should
team up with full-time assistants was only strengthened in the wake of
the incident at the DW Stadium during which the French
full back was carried off with what looked at the time like a serious
knee injury.

Unsighted referee Mark Halsey took no
action over the tackle, and McManaman escaped retrospective action
because one of the officials did have a clear view and deemed it fair.

Haidara's fellow full backs Mathieu Debuchy and Davide Santon are also on Newcastle's casualty list for the trip to the Etihad.

Back in action: Toon captain Fabricio Coloccini trains in the Newcastle gym

Back in action: Toon captain Fabricio Coloccini trains in the Newcastle gym

Back in action: Toon captain Fabricio Coloccini trains in the Newcastle gym

Gareth Bale has banana thrown at him – police to investigate

Police hunt for supporter who threw banana at Bale during Tottenham's win over Arsenal

By
Laurie Whitwell

PUBLISHED:

12:07 GMT, 4 March 2013

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UPDATED:

14:03 GMT, 4 March 2013

Police have launched an investigation after a banana was thrown at Gareth Bale during the north London derby.

Officers are working with Tottenham staff and reviewing CCTV to establish the identity of the supporter who launched the fruit at Bale from the Arsenal section as the forward attempted to take a corner in the 27th minute.

Assistant referee Darren Cann picked up the banana and removed it from the pitch but no further action appeared to be taken at the time.

Incident: The assistant referee holds the banana thrown at Gareth Bale as he went to take the corner

Incident: The assistant referee holds the banana thrown at Gareth Bale as he went to take the corner

Bale and the banana incident

Bale and the banana incident

Targeted: Ex-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor (right) was also a target for abuse from Gunners fans

Targeted: Ex-Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor (right) was also a target for abuse from Gunners fans

The Metropolitan Police will prosecute the person responsible if located, given it is an offence to throw an object on to a football pitch.

Usually such action carries racist overtones, as when Mario Balotelli was taunted with inflatable bananas during the recent Milan derby, but in this case the yob supporter seemed to be mocking Bale’s appearance.

Those with Arsenal allegiances flocked to Twitter to give misguided congratulations to the culprit.

User ‏@jackAFCmartin posted: ‘The best moment of the match. When an Arsenal fan threw the banana skin at Gareth Bale #Chimp’

Happy days: Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor as Tottenham beat Arsenal at White Hart Lane

Happy days: Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor as Tottenham beat Arsenal at White Hart Lane

Danny O’Reagan wrote: ‘Whoever threw that banana at Gareth Bale is a legend.’

But Robin Bylund provided a reasoned voice when he replied sarcastically: ‘Arsenal “fans” throwing a banana towards Gareth Bale. How classy…’

The FA say they are awaiting a report from their crowd control adviser, who is likely to have noted down the incident, and will make every effort to identify the person responsible.

The act somewhat marred a thrilling game, which Spurs won 2-1, with striker Emmanuel Adebayor also taunted over the horrific shootings in Angola while on international duty with Togo in 2010.

Dermot Gallagher holocaust Sky Sports

Sky Sports presenters forced to apologise as ex-referee Gallagher makes 'Holocaust' blunder live on TV

Ex-referee Dermot Gallagher says official could have caused 'another Holocaust' during Celtic's 3-0 defeat by Juventus

Gallagher was referring to fifth official missing Alessandro's Matri's shot crossing the line in third minute of the Champions League encounter

Presenters Rob Wotton and Hayley McQueen say sorry minutes later

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

11:46 GMT, 13 February 2013

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UPDATED:

12:12 GMT, 13 February 2013

Sky Sports News presenters were forced into an apology this morning after Dermot Gallagher used the word ‘Holocaust’ live on television in reference to the incompetence of the fifth official during Juventus’s first goal last night.

Former referee Gallagher, a regular pundit on the channel, was asked why UEFA’s fifth official was unable to see Alessandro Matri's shot cross the line first time.

Claudio Marchisio followed up but he assistant referee – almost looking through the fifth official – gave the goal to Matri.

Blunder: Gallagher was referring to this incident where the additional assistant referee appeared to miss Alessandro Matri's shot crossing the line as Kelvin Wilson slid in to clear

Blunder: Gallagher was referring to this incident where the additional assistant referee appeared to miss Alessandro Matri's shot crossing the line as Kelvin Wilson slid in to clear

Gallagher said: ‘The problem for me is I don’t think there is any tangible evidence that they do anything.

‘But for a Juventus player following up a shot very, very quickly we could have had another Holocaust last night.

‘I am convinced that the assistant and the guy on the goal line don’t know the ball is in.’

His comments instantly created a storm on Twitter and presenters Rob Wooton and Hayley McQueen apologised live on air minutes later.

Hot water: Gallagher was speaking on Sky Sports News this morning

Hot water: Gallagher was speaking on Sky Sports News this morning

Daniel Dowle posted: ‘And that kids could be the end of Dermot Gallagher on sky sports, don’t think anybody will miss him.’

Peter Mackinnon wrote: ‘Don’t think dermot gallagher will be on sky sports again.’

Alex Ferguson rages at referee over Wayne Rooney penalty

Fergie fumes at officials after Rooney is denied penalty in dramatic Spurs draw

By
Mark Bryans, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:00 GMT, 20 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:27 GMT, 20 January 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson was left ruing a decision not to award his Manchester United side a penalty as they conceded an injury-time equaliser at Tottenham.

The visitors were leading 1-0 courtesy of a Robin van Persie header, his 18th Barclays Premier League goal of the season, when substitute Wayne Rooney went down under a challenge from Steven Caulker inside the box.

Referee Chris Foy declined to award a penalty and Spurs, who dominated the second half, eventually scored a dramatic 92nd-minute equaliser through Clint Dempsey.

Going down: Wayne Rooney appeared to be fouled by Steven Caulker but no penalty was awarded

Going down: Wayne Rooney appeared to be fouled by Steven Caulker but no penalty was awarded

Going down: Wayne Rooney appeared to be fouled by Steven Caulker but no penalty was awarded

Going down: Wayne Rooney appeared to be fouled by Steven Caulker but no penalty was awarded

United therefore had to settle for a five-point lead over champions Manchester City at the top of the table, and Ferguson was quick to direct his anger at assistant referee Simon Beck.

'It was a clear penalty,' he said. 'It was definitely a penalty. He has put his leg right in there.

'The linesman is facing it, I thought he had a very poor game, the linesman. I thought he was disappointing.

'We have got that history with him. He never gave offside with (Chelsea striker Didier) Drogba at Old Trafford when he was three yards offside. Everyone remembers that, I certainly do.'

The incident with Drogba came in a 2-1 win for Chelsea at Old Trafford in April 2010 and Ferguson felt his side had been let down again, with Rooney seemingly fouled only moments after replacing Shinji Kagawa.

'For me it was a poor performance from him, why he never gave a penalty I don't know,” Ferguson added. “I think he had a shocking game today, he's had a bad game and we never got anything from that side of the pitch.'

Come on! Rooney appeals to the linesman after he felt he was fouled in the box by Caulker

Come on! Rooney appeals to the linesman after he felt he was fouled in the box by Caulker

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas was unsure whether Caulker had caught Rooney, but did not want the argument to overshadow a tremendous performance and hard-fought point for his side.

'Obviously it is going to be debated and debated and I hope it doesn't mar the game,' he said.

''uring the game we got most of the decisions against us. I prefer to look at this game on my view and United prefer to look at it on their view.

'We take our boost of confidence and the debate is going to be whether it was a penalty because that is controversy and it sells better, but we shouldn't mar the game and the quality of the game played in these difficult conditions.

Rage: Alex Ferguson was furious with the linesman

Rage: Alex Ferguson was furious with the linesman

'Fortunately we got a point, I think it is credit for the game that we had. We were the best team and created the best chances.

'I think it was probably the worst United game in terms of opportunities, with them having only four. It is a pity we couldn't win but I'm extremely happy with the draw obviously.'

As for the title race, Villas-Boas still thinks it is too close to call.

'It is very tight between them,' he said. 'They are two strong teams with top quality squads and individuals. I think it is for either of the Manchester teams as the distance to third place is quite important.

'I'm not sure (who will win the league) but United have the experience that can help them.'

Ferguson believes his side have a good record against the bigger teams in the league and was always keen to play the game at White Hart Lane, despite snow falling throughout the day.

'We have been to all the top teams' grounds so far,” he said. “We just have Arsenal left and we think we can be pleased with the outcome of them all.

'We have got a healthy points total from them and it's another game out of the road.

'I wanted the game to go ahead today because we don't want a backlog and as it was, it proved I was right.'

England relish their role as MS Dhoni party poopers as Ranchi plays host to crucial third ODI

England relish their role as Dhoni party poopers as Ranchi plays host to crucial third ODI

By
Paul Newman

PUBLISHED:

20:40 GMT, 17 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

20:41 GMT, 17 January 2013

England can be forgiven for feeling like unwanted guests at a party when they step out for the pivotal third one-day international in the giant shadow cast over the whole of Ranchi by the local hero.

Rarely can any match have been more about one person. This is the MS Dhoni ODI and it seems as though every one of the million-plus people who live in his home city want to be at the brand new 40,000-capacity JSCA International Stadium.

The India captain welcomed the all of his team to the house he has had built here for a reception on Wednesday but now England, who were not invited, have to try to gatecrash the festivities.

When asked if a victory would feel like raining on Dhoni’s parade, England assistant coach Richard Halsall said: ‘It’s his home town, but our players are cold and clinical enough not to think about that.’

The centre of attention: MS Dhoni takes on England in his home town of Ranchi with India looking to take a series lead

The centre of attention: MS Dhoni takes on England in his home town of Ranchi with India looking to take a series lead

It is to Dhoni’s credit that he had a house built in this far from glamorous part of north-eastern India, particularly as the building was attacked by a mob during construction in 2007 simply because he got out for a duck in the World Cup against Bangladesh.

If England are going to take a 2-1 lead, they know the best way is to silence the crowd by quickly dismissing the game’s most destructive ODI batsman.

‘If you bowl at Dhoni’s stumps the ball goes significant distances,’ said Halsall.

Big hitter: Dhoni is a dangerman

Big hitter: Dhoni is a dangerman

‘But when you bowl really well at him, as we did in the powerplay the other night, he has to change his tactics. That wasn’t the usual MS Dhoni during those five overs. He did things we wanted him to do and that’s what we must get him to do again.’

Halsall was succinct in assessing where England had gone wrong in the Kochi crash.

‘We had two very bad patches, in the last 10 overs of their innings and from the 10th to the 15th of ours, and you don’t win ODIs if you go for more than a hundred in the last 10 and lose three of your top five in six overs.’

And there was a defence of Craig Kieswetter, who looked unable to work the gaps during England’s innings.

‘Craig needed to suck up the pressure when we were 70 for four. He held his nerve when people were saying, “We’ve only scored three runs in four overs”. The disappointing thing was he (then) got out.

‘People have short memories. A couple of games ago he and Samit Patel put us in a position to win that first match.’

It is the other keeper who will occupy England’s thoughts.

Sir Alex Ferguson gets away with tantrums because we let him – Patrick Collins

Why do we keep letting Sir Alex and his manager pals get away with endless self-indulgent tantrums and spats

|

UPDATED:

22:21 GMT, 29 December 2012

It was a depressing tantrum; a foot-stamping, arm-waving, finger-jabbing eruption of self-indulgence, with more than a hint of the bully about it.

Sir Alex Ferguson behaved quite outrageously at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. He may be incomparably accomplished but for a man on the eve of his 71st birthday he can sometimes seem distressingly immature.

Yet nobody was unduly surprised by the performance, since Ferguson has form in this department. Just as nobody was especially amazed by Mike Dean's decision not to report Sir Alex to the Football Association.

Blast from the hairdryer: Sir Alex Ferguson shouts at assistant referee Andy Garrett at Old Trafford on Saturday

Ferguson and Andy Garratt share a joke

Up to your old tricks, Sir Alex All eyes were on Ferguson during Manchester United's 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday after his Boxing Day outburst (below), but while he shouted at assistant referee Andy Garrett at Old Trafford (left), he also showed his gentler side by sharing a joke with the official (right)

Ferguson's ref rant

Of course, he should not have tolerated such a show of crass dissent during the United-Newcastle game, since it demeaned his own authority and diminished the status of officials at every level.

But clearly he felt he had little option. For Dean is merely a football referee, while Ferguson is a member of an altogether happier, wealthier, more prestigious profession. He is a football manager.

Once again, 2012 was the year of the manager, confirming a trend which has developed down the decades. the man in the dugout is now more famous, and considerably more powerful, than almost any of the young athletes in his care.

-heroes-including-Ben-Ainslie-Bradley-Wiggins-Jessica-Ennis-gave-time-lives–Patrick-Collins.html”>Patrick Collins: Thank you, Sir Ben and Sir Bradley, Jessica, Ellie and David… you gave us the time of our lives

29/12/12

Patrick Collins: So this is how football gets into the spirit of Christmas!
22/12/12

Patrick Collins: How Fergie's bedtime habits set standards at Old Trafford
15/12/12

Patrick Collins: The anti-Wenger mob should be careful what they wish for
15/12/12

Patrick Collins: England's sensational miracle workers have everyone believing again
08/12/12

Patrick Collins: Captain Cook must stand the test of time before he can join the greats
08/12/12

Patrick Collins: Football's silent majority must set the tone, not the bigots who just want to be noticed
01/12/12

Patrick Collins: Richie McCaw, Dan Carter… your boys took one hell of a beating!
01/12/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

But the manager is different. As the public face of his club, he is the man who pulls the strings and sets the tone. As such, he enjoys considerable influence and he can become tetchy when he feels his powers being mocked or challenged.

If Ferguson's outburst was wearily familiar, then his subsequent spat with Newcastle's Alan Pardew was still more predictable. Now Pardew is rarely regarded as one of football's intellectuals. Certainly, his short-term memory is as faulty as the rest of his trade.

He correctly suggested that Ferguson should have been sent to the stands but naturally he overlooked the opening match of the season, when he pushed over a linesman. 'It was comical,' Pardew chuckled at the time. 'He just happened to be right in front of me.'

Ferguson has reminded him of the incident, and his arrogant description of Newcastle as 'a wee club in the north-east' has ensured that the dreary squabble has a long way to run. Yet, for most of them, squabbling and self-protection is a way of life. At tImes, they make politicians appear almost altruistic.

Thus, Harry Redknapp takes over at QPR from the expensive disaster that was Mark Hughes and promptly damns the previous regime. 'I don't want to spend the owners' money, really,' says Redknapp. 'I've got to be honest with you. I don't want to see the owners have their pants taken down like they have in the past. a lot of agents have made an awful lot of money out of them.'

Now, it is true that Rangers spent an extraordinary 6.8million on agents in the year ending September 2012. It may also be true that some of those agents were more talented footballers than the players they represented. Yet nobody mentioned that in Redknapp's three-and-a-half years as Tottenham manager, the club spent the thick end of 25m on agents' fees. Hughes will surely rectify that omission and another feud will gain pace.

Power games: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is another who loves a tiff where possible

Power games: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is another who loves a tiff where possible

Mancini at Norwich

Mancini at Norwich

Roberto Mancini is another manager with a healthy respect for self-protection. Sometimes this takes the form of a juvenile jibe at an official, like last week's 'maybe the referee ate too much for Christmas'. Sometimes it may be a theatrical clash with the opposition – Moyes, Ferguson, Wenger, Lambert and Martinez have all served as sparring partners.

Yet most managers seem to enjoy a tiff and we in the media are all too often at pains to publicise their differences. Consider the recent League Cup tie between Leeds and Chelsea. On this entire strife-torn, recession-ridden planet, could anything be less important than wondering if Neil Warnock will shake the hand of Rafa Benitez But wonder we did. and great was the rejoicing when peace broke out.

You see, these are people of consequence and as such we weigh their pronouncements – the nonsense along with the profound. We inflate their successes and vilify their shortcomings. We may occasionally marvel at a compensation system in which failure is rewarded as lavishly as success but we say nothing.

You see, they are the masters now. They set their own terms and make their own rules. And if the leader of their pack should indulge himself with the odd touchline tantrum, then he can anticipate no serious penalty. For he knows that football managers are the new aristocracy of professional sport. Such is the status quo. Expect no changes in 2013.

Time for a sit-down protest

The dying days of 2012 have produced a most unlikely hero. I give you Paul Weir, Sunderland's head of safety and security.

Most of our major football clubs have a serious problem with selfish spectators who insist on standing in areas designed for seats, thereby blocking the view and ruining the match for countless fans.

But Sunderland have done something about the problem. They have ejected 38 people, suspended season tickets and taped up the seats of persistent offenders.

Sit down! Sunderland are cracking down on supporters who persistently stand at matches

Sit down! Sunderland are cracking down on supporters who persistently stand at matches

Mr Weir said: 'We have a duty of care to all our supporters, including elderly and disabled fans who have contacted us, very concerned that their enjoyment on a match day is being compromised because people around them stand throughout the game.'

Inevitably, some of the standing blockheads are mightily miffed by this action and one of the Sunderland message boards was awash with schemes for demonstrating their displeasure at Saturday's game.

But others opted for sanity. I cherished the brutal Wearside common sense of the man who wrote: 'Daft t***s will probably stage a sit-down protest'.

Past his bedtime: Phil 'The Power' Taylor

Past his bedtime: Phil 'The Power' Taylor

Power failure hits Phil

From time to time, usually by people who ought to know better, Phil 'The Power' Taylor is described as 'Britain's greatest-ever sportsman'. This apparently derives from the fact that he has won a version of the darts world title on 15 occasions, thus elevating himself high above the likes of Bannister, Coe, Matthews, Finney, Moore, Botham, Redgrave, Wiggins and others.

I recalled the absurdly recurring claim when I heard about Taylor's struggle to stay awake for the evening sessions of the latest world event. At 52, he complained, starting matches at 10 o'clock at night was far too tiring.

'The late nights are difficult,' confessed 'The Power'. 'I would love to be on at 8pm. That would be perfect for me. I can go back, put on my slippers on and go to bed early.'

He then posed the question: 'Has Roger Federer ever played at 11.30pm at night in a last-32 match' Well, I imagine he has because Federer is a superb athlete who excels in a cruelly demanding and utterly authentic sport.

Had he hankered after early nights and slippers, then he would have taken up a pot-bellied pub game. Britain's 'greatest-ever sportsman' could suggest one.

Pulis: A clarification

Last week I referred to a published report that the Stoke manager, Tony Pulis, had officially complained about the suspension of Marouane Fellaini for head-butting Ryan Shawcross. The report, widely circulated across the media, said Pulis believed the three-match ban was too lenient and that a Stoke player would have received something far more punitive.

Tony Pulis has assured me that the report was a complete invention and that he had made no such complaint. I am pleased to accept his assurance and thank him for clarifying the situation.

Graham Poll: Alex guilty of abusing his power

Alex guilty of abusing his power

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UPDATED:

23:25 GMT, 28 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson, like all the great
managers, has a certain presence that gives him the kind of power that
can be used as a managerial tool.

But it is also something that can be
used to intimidate, so with that power comes responsibility. Alex knows
he is revered, just as he knows others will copy him, and he must not
abuse that position.

Scott free: Fergie wasn't charged for his actions during the clash at Old Trafford

Scott free: Fergie wasn't charged for his actions during the clash at Old Trafford

In what he said in his press conference yesterday he was missing the point, because it's not always what you say but how you say it that matters.

And that aggression, the fingerjabbing, the sheer anger in his face, is every bit as wrong as actually insulting the referee. Alex might deny it, but it's the truth.

A player can be cautioned for dissent by action as well as the spoken word and that is what should have happened at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. Alex should have been disciplined.

He was quite clever on the day. Mike Dean feels they had a reasonable exchange but the television pictures showed Alex was far more aggressive towards the fourth official and the assistant referee. His behaviour was intimidating, but you are far less likely to get in trouble for having a go at one of the assistants than you are the ref.

Dean is getting a fair bit of criticism for not raising the issue in his report but it was up to the fourth official and the assistant to report the incidents to Dean in the first place. I can understand why they didn't. They probably felt he had enough to worry about on the pitch.

But they should have spoken to Dean at the time because that kind of exchange with Alex will be intimidating no matter how confident a person you are. Ultimately, though, the assistants are not to blame here and I don't blame the Football Association either. They were powerless to act. No, the fault lies with Alex.

Sir Alex Ferguson gets away with Mike Dean protest but Arsene Wenger wasn"t so lucky

One rule for Fergie and one for the rest United boss gets away with haranguing Dean… but Wenger wasn't so lucky

|

UPDATED:

10:28 GMT, 28 December 2012

In a season where the gap between those who play the game and those who try to keep order seems to be growing ever wider, Sir Alex Ferguson's berating of three officials during Manchester United's Boxing Day win over Newcastle hasn't helped.

Though United eventually prevailed 4-3 in a humdinger of a match to establish a seven point lead in the Barclays Premier League, Ferguson took issue when defender Jonny Evans put through his own net with Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse apparently in an offside position behind him.

He unleashed a verbal volley at referee Mike Dean, assistant referee Jake Collin and fourth official Neil Swarbrick over the decision to allow the goal to stand.

Crime and punishment: Mike Dean wrote in his report on Boxing Day that Sir Alex Ferguson's protests were 'reasonable and rational'

Crime and Punishment: Mike Dean said Sir Alex Ferguson's protests (above) were 'reasonable and rational' when Newcastle scored their second goal at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. But in August 2009, Dean sent Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (below) to the stands for kicking a water bottle in protest after a last minute equaliser by Robin Van Persie was disallowed

Marching orders: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is sent to the stands by Mike Dean after kicking a water bottle in protest at Old Trafford in 2009

And yet, despite spending the latter part of the first half remonstrating with all three in the pouring rain, Ferguson was not sent to the stands and will face no retrospective punishment.

In fact, Dean concluded that the manager's protests were 'reasonable and rational' in his post-match report and, on that basis, the Football Association cannot intervene.

But when Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger protested on the Old Trafford touchline by kicking a water bottle in a match in August 2009, Dean sent him straight to the stands on the advice of fourth official Lee Probert.

Bottled it: Arsene Wenger was dismissed to the stands at Old Trafford in 2009 for kicking a water bottle in protest

Bottled it: Arsene Wenger was dismissed to the stands at Old Trafford in 2009 for kicking a water bottle in protest

Farce: Wenger ended up among the home fans after his dismissal at Old Trafford

Farce: Wenger ended up among the home fans after his dismissal at Old Trafford

Wenger had been furious when an injury time equaliser by Robin Van Persie, now at United, was ruled out for offside. The goal would have levelled the match at 2-2 and almost certainly earned Arsenal a point.

The punishment turned to farce as Wenger didn't know where to sit in the stands and ended up, arms outstretched in protest, among the United fans behind the dug-out.

He was eventually ushered down the tunnel as the game came to a conclusion.

Piece of mind: Ferguson also protested with assistant referee Jake Collin during the Boxing Day encounter

Piece of mind: Ferguson also protested with assistant referee Jake Collin during the Boxing Day encounter

Wenger later claimed he kicked the water bottle in frustration at his side's failure to score and equaliser, rather than over the goal being disallowed.

He received an apology afterwards from referees chief Keith Hackett and an admission that the punishment was out of context in the game.

But following Ferguson's actions on Boxing Day, there will be many who conclude it's one rule for United and another rule for everyone else.

VIDEO: Wenger is sent to the stands at Old Trafford in 2009

If Sir Alex Ferguson keeps getting away with abusing our referees even 10-year-olds will start to copy him

If Ferguson keeps getting away with abusing our referees even 10-year-olds will start to copy him

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UPDATED:

08:03 GMT, 28 December 2012

During a difficult few weeks for Mark Clattenburg earlier this season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s support, and indeed his implied criticism of the referee’s accusers at Chelsea, was helpful.

For all the noise that surrounds English football, when Ferguson speaks people tend to listen.

This is precisely why, however, the Manchester United manager’s behaviour during his team’s tense 4-3 victory over Newcastle on Boxing Day was so unhelpful when the gap between those who play the game and those who try to keep order seems to be widening.

Cleared: Sir Alex Ferguson will face no action after complaining to referee Mike Dean on Saturday

Cleared: Sir Alex Ferguson will face no action after complaining to referee Mike Dean on Saturday

Fuming: Sir Alex Ferguson has been cleared by the FA after remonstrating with officials

Ferguson’s primary responsibility is to his football club, of course.

If he feels — as he did two days ago —
that a referee’s decision has gone against his team, then he is quite
within his rights to say so.

There are, however, ways and means,
and his haranguing of referee Mike Dean and his colleagues in the wake
of Newcastle’s controversial second goal at Old Trafford saw him
standing squarely on the wrong side of the line.

Players, remember, take their lead
from their manager. Supporters take theirs from the team. And so it goes
on, all the way down the football food chain until the 10-year-old on
the park verbally abuses the referee of his Saturday morning game.

Fuming: Ferguson tells assistant referee Jake Collin exactly what he thinks of the decision to allow Jonny Evans' own goal

Fuming: Ferguson tells assistant referee Jake Collin exactly what he thinks of the decision to allow Jonny Evans' own goal

Heart-racing: United struck late to go seven points clear at the top of the league

Heart-racing: United struck late to go seven points clear at the top of the league

The connection — indeed, the
responsibility — really is that straightforward. It is four years since
the FA launched their ‘Respect’ campaign in an effort to encourage
tolerance, understanding and dialogue between all parties. In the
interim, nothing has fundamentally changed and here was the evidence.

Ferguson is not alone. Football’s
ill-treatment of its officials is so well established as to be almost a
tradition and the likes of Tony Pulis, Mark Hughes and Alan Pardew have
all been notable offenders. Indeed, an hour after the Scot pursued Dean
on to the field after half-time in Manchester, his rival from across
town Roberto Mancini accused referee Kevin Friend of eating too much
over Christmas.

Kevin Friend speaks to Vincent Kompany

Jibe: Roberto Mancini jokingly accused referee Kevin Friend (right) of eating too much over the Christmas period

A throwaway gag, perhaps, but one
designed to embarrass and question the man who had overseen City’s
defeat at Sunderland at a time when the Italian should perhaps have been
asking questions closer to home.

It all looked and sounded rather ugly
and yesterday brought no relief as we discovered, to nobody’s
surprise, that Ferguson’s behaviour would not form part of Dean’s report
to the FA.

This is the bit where responsibility needs to be shared a little.

Dean, by all accounts, believes
Ferguson didn’t cross the line of what is acceptable when he entered the
field before the start of the second half to complain about Newcastle’s
goal. Why is this In moments like this, one of the Premier League’s
most experienced and respected officials should be brave enough to set
an example.

Slap on wrist: Tony Pulis was fined for comments made about referee Lee Probert's performance in November

Slap on wrist: Tony Pulis was fined for comments made about referee Lee Probert's performance in November

As for Ferguson’s subsequent
badgering of linesman Jake Collin and fourth official Neil Swarbrick,
Dean apparently didn’t see it as his back was turned. Why, though,
didn’t one of them tell him They wear microphones and earpieces for precisely these moments.

Why, also, did Collin or Swarbrick
not inform Dean that Ferguson spent much of a fractious second period
standing yards outside his technical area These matters are clearly
their responsibility.

Perhaps they, too, were caught up in
the emotion of the afternoon. Maybe their minds become scrambled and
poor decisions are the result. Or maybe they are nervous about upsetting
Ferguson. Old Trafford is the grandest domestic setting in English
football and all officials crave the opportunity to work there. Those
who have upset the United manager have sometimes waited a while to
return.

Martin Atkinson, for example, annoyed
Ferguson during an FA Cup loss to Portsmouth in March 2008. Ferguson
was charged by the FA for his post-match comments (he was later cleared)
but the real victim was the official, who was not asked to work at Old
Trafford again until the very end of that year.

Fury: Ferguson was left enraged about a decision made against his team in 2008 but he still escaped with no reprimand

Fury: Ferguson was left enraged about a decision made against his team in their 2008 defeat to Portsmouth but he still escaped with no reprimand for his actions

Certainly, this is key to the issue.
Our referees and their assistants must take charge of the big games on
the big stages confident that their performances, rather than people’s
reactions to them, will count when the next match lists are being put
together.

On Boxing Day, Ferguson didn’t cover himself in glory but neither, it must be said, did Dean.

The majority of his decisions were
correct — including the one he made in awarding the controversial Newcastle goal — but it looks from the outside as though he allowed
Ferguson to go too far in the moments before the start of the second
half and has therefore done the game, and his profession, a disservice.

Support: Ferguson fully backed Mark Clattenberg after he was accused of abusing John Mikel Obi last month

Support: Ferguson fully backed Mark Clattenberg after he was accused of abusing John Mikel Obi last month

Ferguson, for his part, knows how
great is his responsibility. He probably won’t have enjoyed looking at
the replay on Wednesday night.

His sympathy for Clattenburg earlier this season was genuine. He did his bit.

In the heat of battle on a wet
Manchester Wednesday this Christmas, though, the United manager lost his
way a little and those paid to keep him, and all the others, in check
have now allowed him to get away with it.