Tag Archives: morning

Match fixing latest: Liverpool v Debrecen alleged to be rigged, by Danish newspaper

Was this the rigged Champions League game Danish paper claim Liverpool clash with Debrecen part of match-fixing scandal

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

21:20 GMT, 4 February 2013

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UPDATED:

21:38 GMT, 4 February 2013

Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet has claimed the Champions League game in England allegedly involving match-fixing was Liverpool against Debrecen in 2009.

Their report places no suspicion on Liverpool whatsoever and instead claims Debrecen's Montenegrin goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic was ‘bribed to ensure the match ended with at least three goals’.

The clash was the first match of the group stage and took place at Anfield on September 16, with Liverpool beating their Hungarian opponents 1-0.

Winner: Dirk Kuyt scores the only goal of the game in the match alleged to be part of the scandal (Liverpool are not said to be involved in any match-fixing)

Winner: Dirk Kuyt scores the only goal of the game in the match alleged to be part of the scandal (Liverpool are not said to be involved in any match-fixing)

Boom: Goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic sees Kuyt's shot hit the back of the net

Boom: Goalkeeper Vukasin Poleksic sees Kuyt's shot hit the back of the net

In text messages obtained by police the people behind the alleged match-fixing were angry that Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had not capitalised on some easy chances.

Later in the group stage Poleksic was allegedly bribed for a match against Fiorentina, which Debrecen lost 4-3.

The goalkeeper has already been banned for two years for failing to report being approached by fixers before the Fiorentina game.

His case was taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport who rejected his appeal although conceded they could not prove the match result had been manipulated.

On Monday morning it was revealed European police agency Europol are investigating more than 380 suspicious matches in 15 countries, including a Champions League game played in England in the last three or four years.

Rob Wainwright, director of Europol – the European Union's law enforcement agency, told a news conference that the match which took place 'in the last three to four years' was one of 380 under investigation.

Europol said a total of 425 match officials, club officials, players, and serious criminals are suspected of being involved in attempts to fix matches.

When the news of the investigation broke on Monday, a spokesman for The Football Association said: 'The FA are not aware of any credible reports into suspicious Champions League fixtures in England, nor has any information been shared with us.

'While the Champions League comes under UEFA jurisdiction, The FA, alongside the Premier League, Football League and Conference, monitor markets for the top seven leagues and three major cup competitions in England and take matters of integrity in football extremely seriously.'

It is understood UEFA were similarly unaware of an investigation into an Champions League match in England.

A Europol spokesman said he was unable to comment when asked why neither the FA nor UEFA had been informed.

More to follow.

VIDEO: Dirk Kuyt's goal against Debrecen in the 1-0 win at Anfield

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich orders Rafa Benitez to deliver top-four finish

Abramovich gives up on cups and orders Benitez to deliver top-four finish

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

22:28 GMT, 29 January 2013

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UPDATED:

08:11 GMT, 30 January 2013

Roman Abramovich has written off Chelsea's chances of winning silverware this season and told Rafa Benitez to finish in the top four.

Chelsea's technical director Michael Emenalo met with Benitez at the club's training ground on Tuesday morning and passed on the message from their billionaire benefactor.

It means Chelsea – who started the season with the chance to win seven trophies – must finish strongly in the Barclays Premier League to guarantee Champions League football.

Mind the gap: Rafa Benitez is under instruction from Roman Abramovich to guide Chelsea to a top-four finish

Mind the gap: Rafa Benitez is under instruction from Roman Abramovich to guide Chelsea to a top-four finish

Although Abramovich and various Chelsea executives are furious with the manner of the team's performance in the 2-2 draw at Brentford in the FA Cup, finishing in the top four is all that counts.

Benitez met Emenalo before training on Tuesday for the latest inquest into Chelsea's failing season. The interim Chelsea coach said: 'All I can say is what I know. I have had meetings. We were talking about the situation and it's clear for me the priority is the top four and progressing as much as we can in the other competitions.

'In the last 10 days, we had a fantastic game against Arsenal, not such a good game against Swansea, and 50:50 the other day against Brentford. 'We still have the FA Cup and the Europa League, and we can still finish in the top four.'

All smiles: Demba Ba in training on Tuesday as Fernando Torres (below) bears the brunt of a tough challenge

All smiles: Demba Ba in training on Tuesday as Fernando Torres (below) bears the brunt of a tough challenge

Fernando Torres

Chelsea began the campaign with the chance to win seven trophies, but the only competitions they can win now are the Europa League and to defend the FA Cup.

Although Benitez insists he still wants to win the Cups, he has been in left in no uncertain terms about the priority of the owner.

Chelsea finished sixth in the Barclays Premier League last season and only qualified for the Champions League as winners.

Despite increasing pressure from Abramovich over the club's results in recent weeks, Benitez is working with a squad restricted by injury, fatigue and the Africa Cup of Nations.

Benitez, who has the support of the majority of Chelsea players under difficult circumstances, takes the team to Reading this evening in the Premier League.

They will be without keeper Petr Cech again, who is out with a calf injury, and they will have to rely on error prone Ross Turnbull at the Madejski Stadium.

Benitez is short of attacking options and Chelsea confirmed that they had offered Didier Drogba the chance of an emotional return to the club.

Drogba began training at Cobham to keep fit after the end of the Chinese football season and he was offered a six month deal with the option of another year. Despite the temptation to relive the glory years, Drogba has opted to join Turkish club Galatasaray on an 18 month deal.

Benitez will rotate Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, who cannot play three games a week because of a chronic knee condition, to get them across the finishing line this season.

The Chelsea chief came under severe criticism from supporters on Sunday when he replaced Branislav Ivanovic with Cesar Azpilicueta when the team were losing at Griffin Park.

They forced a replay when Torres scored the equaliser, but it's clear that the players are being affected by the mood around the club.

The Chelsea chief added: 'I talk to the players, that's my way. Some managers like to put their arms around their shoulders.

'I talk to the players every day. I talk with the injured players in the physio room. 'With the players in training. Or with senior players, why this, why that, and what we need to improve and what the game-plan will be.'

Vegard Forren signs for Southampton

Forren policy: Defender seals 4.2m move to Southampton after snubbing Liverpool

, scoring six goals.

Adkins was dismissed by the
Southampton board on Friday morning despite a recent win against relegation
rivals Aston Villa and a draw against European champions Chelsea.

Pochettino said: 'I know about the Southampton squad because I've been researching them for several weeks.'

New faces: Mauricio Pochettino also was appointed as Southampton manger on Friday

New faces: Mauricio Pochettino also was appointed as Southampton manger on Friday

The 20-cap former Argentina defender said he had spoken to Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho about the move, while conceding he has to address the issue of supporter unrest.

'The challenge is to be part of this project, the kindness of the supporters is the biggest challenge I have,' he said at a news conference. 'They are the biggest part of this club and I hope I can convince them with honest and hard work.

'I am very passionate about the Premier League. I have seen many games, the Premier League is an attractive league and I have spoken to people at length about it, people such as Jose Mourinho, who is a good friend of mine.

'He told me the best football in the world is being played here.'

Heather Watson beaten by Agnieszka Radwanska in Australian Open 6-3, 6-1

End of the road for brave Heather: Fourth seed Radwanska outclasses Watson in third

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

01:58 GMT, 18 January 2013

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UPDATED:

03:08 GMT, 18 January 2013

There was to be no repetition of the Wimbledon wipeout suffered against the same player in the same round, but Heather Watson could not save herself from bowing out of the Australian Open third round.

Despite a much-improved performance compared to SW19 in June – reflecting the improvements she has made in her game – Watson was beaten 6-3, 6-1 in 84 minutes by fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

It was a somewhat harsh scoreline and the British number one could have doubled her tally of games with a little more composure at the right time, but the Pole was always good value for her victory.

Over and out: Heather Watson was beaten in the third round by Agnieszka Radwanska

Over and out: Heather Watson was beaten in the third round by Agnieszka Radwanska

Consolation for Watson is that from her ranking of 50 she will go into the low forties, and has made a decent start towards her season’s goal of getting into the mid twenties. She and Laura Robson, the first two British players in the third round of a Grand Slam since 1991, have shown they belong in the top half century of players.

Barely ten hours after Robson had epically upset former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on the Rod Laver Arena, they were across Melbourne Park on the Hisense Arena, the venue’s secondary stadium.

It was mid morning rather than past midnight and the weather was also very different, the famously changeable Melbourne climate swapping desert heat for much more overcast, cooler and windier conditions.

Winning feeling: Agnieszka Radwanska won in straight sets against Watson

Winning feeling: Agnieszka Radwanska won in straight sets against Watson

Priority One for Watson was to avoid the slow starts she had in the first two rounds, and the first set blowout she had against the Pole in Wimbledon’s third round, when she went down 6-0 in 24 minutes before losing the second 6-2.

Watson has said that the Wimbledon result ‘killed me’, and she might not be much more pleased with the numerical outcome of this, although it was definitely a better performance and one in which her more cautious sense of adventure was not always rewarded with good fortune.

She came out much quicker this time and started the better of the two, forcing two break points, missing the second with a forehand against a player you simply cannot afford to give second chances to.

Starting well: Watson did well at the start of the first set

Starting well: Watson did well at the start of the first set

Making the shot: Watson gets the ball over the net

Radwanska is an antidote to the biff bash school of women’s tennis that predominates, and sometimes gets mentioned in the same breath as Martina Hingis. She cleverly constructs rallies and opens up the court intelligently, relying on guile more than brute force.

At Wimbledon Watson attacked, headless-chicken style, but this time she was more prudent and sought to get to the net when she could, but the beaten SW19 finalist was always a little too solid.

Heather Watson

Agnieszka Radwanska

Mixed emotions: Radwanska celebrates her win as Watson looks dejected

After the disappointment of the fourth game Radwanska broke for 3-2, and then more decisively for 5-2, when the 20 year-old Channel Islander served a double fault and failed to get a point. Breaks were then traded for the set to be taken in 36 minutes.

The second was more processional, at least until a drizzle break caused the roof to be closed at 3-0. Watson paid at times for her overheads not being more punishing, and her opponent scrambled every lost cause admirably. There was a consolation game at 5-0 and should have been another after that.

Time for treatment: Radwanska gets medical attention during a break in her win over Watson

Time for treatment: Radwanska gets medical attention during a break in her win over Watson

Watson could have served better, managing only 51 per cent of first deliveries in and knows she has to continue working on that aspect. But she has shown more strong resolve in this tournament to pluck two wins out of the fire, and can progress further from here.

All over: Radwanska is congratulated by Watson

All over: Radwanska is congratulated by Watson

India v England: Second ODI, Kochi, score

India v England: Follow the score from the second ODI in Kochi

PUBLISHED:

00:00 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:00 GMT, 15 January 2013

England arrive in Kochi for the second one-day international with India on a high after victory in Rajkot.

Alastair Cook's side won the first in the five match series by nine runs to secure a rare victory on the subcontinent.

The momentum of pre-Christmas in the Tests looks to have survived the festive season, with a total of 325 for four staying just out of range for the beleaguered hosts, who leaked wickets with sufficient regularity to get no further than 316 for nine.

Victory for the tourists would heap huge pressure on the hosts who also lost the recent series to rivals Pakistan.

Cook's side head to Ranchi for the third ODI which takes place on Saturday morning.

We are unable to
carry live pictures from the Twenty 20 match in Mumbai due to a dispute
between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and
international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to
venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images
and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Leading from the front: Cook's side are hoping to secure back-to-back wins

Leading from the front: Cook's side are hoping to secure back-to-back wins

Joey Barton and Dietmar Hamann in Twitter war

Don't try to call me out, maggot: Raging Barton's tirade at former City team-mate Hamann

, and his family life.

Hamann began gambling after his marriage broke down towards the end of his footballing career.

When it all kicked off: Hamann told Barton to keep out of club politics

When it all kicked off: Hamann told Barton to keep out of club politics

Old team-mates: Hamann left and Barton (centre) playing for Man City

Old team-mates: Hamann left and Barton (centre) playing for Man City

'There was a time when I was on my own
when I got into spread betting. A painful and expensive experience,'
Hamann told BBC Radio Manchester last year.

'You have to look in the mirror and say “Can you carry on like this or this is way you want to carry on”'

He added: 'There was one night which cost me over 200,000 and that was obviously a long and painful night.

To and fro: The argument got personal with Barton persisting on his tangent

To and fro: The argument got personal with Barton persisting on his tangent

Blue boy: Hamann with Stuart Pearce when he signed for Man City

Blue boy: Hamann with Stuart Pearce when he signed for Man City

'You've got face up to it and when you wake up the next morning you look in the mirror and don't like what you see.'

The Twitter row continued with Barton seemingly becoming increasingly angry as the jibes he sent to Hamann became more personal.

'What a player you where (sic)' typed Barton. 'Tragic. Now do one Tourette's face!'

Using the term 'England international', with reference to Barton's international career which has seen him win just one cap, Hamann antagonised his target.

In a bizarre conclusion to the conversation, Barton tweeted: 'Disappointed in myself for getting involved in that. But never let a dog try to tell u its not a dog an that u are! A dogs a f****** dog…'.

The pair had played alongside each other in City's central midfield in the 2006-07 season.

Barton then moved to Newcastle at the end of that year, a club Hamann had played at almost a decade earlier.

Former Newcastle player Nolberto Solano then chipped in, telling Barton he was a 'good player but lack(ed a) yard of pace. Also lost temper too much.'

He also had kind words for Hamann, saying the man who had won the Champions League and played for Germany over 50 times deserved respect.

Harry Redknapp says Roberto Mancini dealt with Mario Balotelli wrong but brands the striker "difficult"

I would never do what Mancini did: Redknapp scolds City boss but brands Balotelli 'difficult'

By
Duncan Bech, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

23:31 GMT, 4 January 2013

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UPDATED:

23:31 GMT, 4 January 2013

QPR manager Harry Redknapp has questioned the wisdom of managers confronting players after reflecting on the training ground clash between Roberto Mancini and Mario Balotelli.

An argument erupted during Manchester City's practice session yesterday that saw the Italians grapple with each other and Mancini today admitted he lost his temper for 'one or two seconds'.

Redknapp insists such incidents are rare in the modern game and believes there is little to be gained from reading players the riot act.

Redknapp agrees Balotelli is a handful but thinks Mancini got it all wrong

Why always him Redknapp agrees Balotelli is a handful but thinks Mancini got it all wrong

'You shouldn't get in those situations, what can you win It can't happen with players now. Shouting and screaming at players doesn't get you anywhere,' he said.

'Years ago it used to happen. Years and years ago some managers would be throwing cups around. Those days are long gone.

'You lose their respect if you behave like that, you have to talk to them.

'Roberto Mancini's a top manager but I'm sure Balotelli can get you like that. He's difficult.'

Balotelli and Mancini were back in training on Friday morning aftere their bust-up

Glassy eyed: Balotelli and Mancini were back in training on Friday morning aftere their bust-up

On Thursday the two had to be pulled apart as Mancini completely lost his temper

Feud: On Thursday the two had to be pulled apart as Mancini completely lost his temper

There was little danger of Redknapp dueling with any member of QPR's squad yesterday after the 1-0 midweek victory over Chelsea had sent spirits soaring at Loftus Road.

The 65-year-old hopes the club's first win at their west London rivals for 30 years will provide the turning point in their battle against relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

'That win brings the pack back a bit now. We're still adrift but at least we have half a chance. If we can put back to back wins together anything can happen,' Redknapp said.

'Everyone's buzzing on the back of Chelsea, the whole place feels better. There's nothing like it.

'I've been through it so many times before when that big win can change everything. Hopefully it can do that for us now.

'Because of the situation we're in we'll have to claw out results, get some results and nick a 1-0 where we can. We're not going to smash teams up.'

Nelson, Onuoha and Hill celebrate as QPR finally won again against Chelsea

Relief: Nelson, Onuoha and Hill celebrate as QPR finally won again against Chelsea

QPR host West Brom in the third round of the FA Cup tomorrow and Redknapp will give the competition the respect he feels it deserves.

'I often wonder why clubs in the middle of the table put weakened teams out,' he said.

'The only chance you've got of winning something in this country unless you're one of the big four or five is the FA or Capital One cup.

'I don't know why clubs don't have a go for it. Going to Wembley is fantastic.

'Winning's a good habit to get into. I thought we could have taken something out of our recent game against West Brom.

'If you ask the four teams in the semi-finals of the League Cup, they'll all want to be in that final.

'Chelsea might be a bit blasi, but Swansea, Aston Villa and Bradford would love it.'

Cheltenham"s New Year"s Day fixture abandoned

Balding's parade is rained on as Cheltenham's New Year's Day fixture is abandoned

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UPDATED:

13:29 GMT, 31 December 2012

Host: Balding is part of Channel 4 racing's new-look team

Host: Balding is part of Channel 4 racing's new-look team

Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day fixture at Prestbury Park has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

Clare Balding had been due to make her Channel 4 Racing debut from Cheltenham but the abandonment means the former BBC presenter will be broadcasting from a stable in Berkshire.

The only live action will be from Musselburgh and Channel 4 will send Balding and Mick Fitzgerald to visit trainer Nicky Henderson at Seven Barrows, Lambourn, home of Gold Cup contenders Bobs Worth and Long Run.

Channel 4 Racing executive producer Carl Hicks said: 'We have arranged for Clare and Mick to visit Seven Barrows.

'Nicky Henderson has so many high-profile horses to run before the Festival, there is plenty to see and talk about.'

Not at the races: Cheltenham's New Year's Day meeting was called off on Monday morning

Not at the races: Cheltenham's New Year's Day meeting was called off on Monday morning

Wet: Further rain is forecast at the racetrack

Wet: Further rain is forecast at the racetrack

Course officials originally scheduled an inspection for 3pm on Monday but the meeting was abandoned long before that.

Cheltenham clerk of the course Simon Claisse told At The Races: 'Sadly we've had to take the decision earlier than we thought to abandon the meeting.

'We've had more rainfall and there's quite a lot more rain forecast between now and 2pm. The course is waterlogged in too many places.'

Alex McLeish: I"ll win over Nottingham Forest fans with positive results

I'll banish negative reputation with positive results, insists McLeish after Forest fans' backlash against new boss

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UPDATED:

21:53 GMT, 28 December 2012

Alex McLeish mounted a sterling defence of his managerial methods as he countered criticism that his appointment is a backward step for Nottingham Forest.

The Scot returned to the game following an eight-month absence after his sacking by Aston Villa, struggling to shake off the perception that he was a negative coach.

Social networking sites were awash with opposition to his arrival but the former Rangers coach brushed aside suggestions that he would dismantle what Sean O'Driscoll had left behind.

I'm in charge: Alex McLeish poses with a Nottingham Forest shirt at the City Ground on Friday

I'm in charge: Alex McLeish poses with a Nottingham Forest shirt at the City Ground on Friday

'I am an organised coach,' said the erstwhile protege of Sir Alex Ferguson. 'I can't apologise for that. I think people might be confusing the issue.

'I could have nine positives on my CV and one negative and some people would point out the negative.

'Winning games will help get the fans behind me. It's not as if I'm Jose Mourinho walking in here and it's a unanimously popular decision.

'Some of the fans may not be with me but if we win games and play the kind of football that they produced against Leeds, there's no reason why we cannot get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet.

'The situation here is simple. If it ain't broke, why fix it We have a good bunch of players playing good football.

'What I've got to do is brainwash these guys into have winning mentalities.

Back on the training pitch: McLeish on Friday morning during his first session as Forest boss

Back on the training pitch: McLeish on Friday morning during his first session as Forest boss

'You don't do that by winning against Leeds, then losing the next game. That means winning against Leeds, then winning the game after that…and the one after that.

'I think there is a few players in our dressing-room who are capable of that.'

McLeish has agreed a one-year rolling contract with Forest and his assistant at Villa Park, Peter Grant, will be joining him at the City Ground.

His brief is to 'mount a very serious challenge' and, in fairness to the Scot, it was not his fault that O'Driscoll was making a decent fist of that before the axe fell on Boxing Day.

McLeish said that the job was a 'wonderful opportunity' but that he needed a break after an horrific end to his stay at Villa Park. A text reading 'Welcome back to the asylum' from Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy was received with a smile.

Unwanted reputation: The former Scotland boss is ready to prove certain disapproving fans wrong

Unwanted reputation: The former Scotland boss is ready to prove certain disapproving fans wrong

'It was a difficult job at Villa but one I met head on,' he said, 'It was great to get over the line despite the catalogue of horrors we had there.

'It had been draining. I was on a bit of a downer after leaving Birmingham.

'But I don't regret it. It's just that the glove maybe didn't fit.

'It wasn't easy at Villa. It's not easy to turn that club around overnight with a few changes. Paul (Lambert) is maybe finding that. It's been a roller-coaster for him.

'But that's in the past now as far as I'm concerned. I'm at Nottingham Forest now and I couldn't be more delighted with that.'

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.