Tag Archives: referees

Neil Warnock won"t be missed by referees – GRAHAM POLL

Bully Warnock behaved like a spoilt kid in a supermarket… I'm glad he's gone

By
Graham Poll

PUBLISHED:

21:41 GMT, 4 April 2013

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 4 April 2013

Top-flight referees up and down the country will be breathing a sigh of relief at the prospect of Neil Warnock delivering on his threat to retire from management.

Warnock has been the bane of referees’ lives; almost imploding on the touchline when a throw-in went against his team and never failing to blame the official whenever his team lost.

He used to try to justify these attacks by claiming he was a qualified referee. Well, taking the exam is one thing but unless you are officiating matches regularly, you are not a referee.

Firebrand: Neil Warnock (right) protests his dismissal to Graham Poll (centre) in 2006

Firebrand: Neil Warnock (right) protests his dismissal to Graham Poll (centre) in 2006

Firebrand: Neil Warnock (right) protests his dismissal to Graham Poll (centre) in 2006

Bully: Sportsmail's Poll beileves Warnock at times behaved like a spoilt child

Bully: Sportsmail's Poll beileves Warnock at times behaved like a spoilt child

Of course, Warnock and I have
history. He was the manager at Old Trafford when his Sheffield United
side lost 1-0 to Arsenal in an FA Cup semi-final in April 2003.

According to Warnock, that defeat was
my fault, of course. I was also the referee who dismissed Warnock at
Bramall Lane in 2006 when the Blades were playing Leeds United.

Warnock should have been celebrating
his team winning promotion, which would allow him his first opportunity
to try his methods at the top level; where, of course, he has never
succeeded.

Instead, after a tackle from a Leeds
player, I heard him shout out to one of his team: ‘Next time break his
legs,’ referring to Gary Kelly.

I asked him to leave the technical
area, and he was suspended from the touchline for three games, two of
which would be his first in the Barclays Premier League.

Regular: Warnock would remonstrate with officials when things went against him. Here, as QPR manager during their match against Middlesbrough in 2010

Regular: Warnock would remonstrate with officials when things went against him. Here, as QPR manager during their match against Middlesbrough in 2010

Seriously An as Sheffield United manager after a match against Reading in 2005

Seriously An as Sheffield United manager after a match against Reading in 2005

A friend of mine is a Leeds fan and
went up to Elland Road for the game against Millwall. He and his son
could only laugh at Warnock’s antics that day.

And this is the point.
Warnock became a pitied parody of his former self — referees appeared to
allow his tantrums to go unchecked as they became less and less
effective.

The once-feared bully, who
successfully led teams to play-off glories, had become more like a badly
behaved child in a supermarket. Observers walked past shaking their
heads in disbelief at the sad spectacle.

It has become patently clear in his
later career that the aggressive and outdated approach to management
simply didn’t work in the top flight. Indeed, his powers seem to have
been on the wane for some time, with Leeds’ mid-table position only
serving to disguise the precarious position of the club from which he
has walked away.

Spoilt: Poll is glad Warnock's antics will not be a part of the game any longer

Spoilt: Poll is glad Warnock's antics will not be a part of the game any longer

Referees, fans and — most importantly — footballers just didn’t react in the same way to his smart-alec persona.

Back in April 2003 after that
semi-final defeat, Warnock came into my dressing room to have his
customary complaint; he came into referees’ rooms after virtually every
game.

He ended his tirade by stating to
fourth official Alan Wiley and me that he looked forward to retirement
as he would no longer have to put up with officials like us.

The feeling was mutual, but both of
us retired well before our sell-by date expired. I wonder if, when
reflecting on what has been a successful managerial career, Warnock will
be able to say the same.

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

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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

Sir Alex Ferguson too "distraught" to speak after Manchester United"s defeat to Real Madrid

'Distraught' Ferguson in 'no fit state' to speak as Nani is shown a red card, Ferdinand erupts in fury and Ronaldo sends his old team crashing out of Europe

By
Declan Warrington

PUBLISHED:

22:45 GMT, 5 March 2013

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UPDATED:

23:24 GMT, 5 March 2013

Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson was too 'distraught' to speak to the media in the aftermath of his side's 2-1 defeat at home to Real Madrid.

The United manager was incensed at the red card for Nani which ultimately proved crucial in their elimination from the Champions League and with his side perhaps the better team despite the result, was said not to be 'in any fit state' to discuss the outcome.

'I don't think the manager is in any fit state to talk to the referee about the decision,' said Phelan, who explained he had never felt a greater sense of injustice. 'It speaks volumes that he is not sat here speaking to you.

'Distraught': Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was not available for comment tonight

'Distraught': Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was not available for comment tonight

'We're extremely disappointed. We have a distraught dressing room and a distraught manager.

'We are all witnesses to a decision that seemed very harsh, and incredible at that moment in the game.

'To say we are disappointed is an understatement. We felt as though we had got things right tactically and were reasonably comfortable.

'That amazing decision changed things totally.

Bemused: Ferguson unsurprisingly did not agree with the decision to dismiss Nani

Bemused: Ferguson unsurprisingly did not agree with the decision to dismiss Nani

Sarcastic: Rio Ferdinand made his feelings clear to the referee, Cuneyt Cakir

Sarcastic: Rio Ferdinand made his feelings clear to the referee, Cuneyt Cakir

'Referees are there to make decisions in big games.

'There is an element of doing the right thing at the right moment.

'All you guys and TV audience will have a decision. It is a disappointing one. It spoiled the game.'

Incandescent: Ferguson was furious about Nani's red card, which significantly changed the game

Incandescent: Ferguson was furious about Nani's red card, which significantly changed the game

Controversial: Many observers felt Nani's red card swung the game in Real's favour

Controversial: Many observers felt Nani's red card swung the game in Real's favour

If Ferguson and Phelan felt they
could justify their frustration – a sentiment largely encapsulated by
Rio Ferdinand sarcastically applauding referee Cuneyt Cakir after the
final whistle –
Jose Mourinho was uncharacteristically in agreement with them,
insisting United had deserved the victory given to Real by Cristiano
Ronaldo's winning goal and that he had expected his side to produce
more.

'Independent of the decision, the best team lost,' the Real manager told ITV. 'We didn't play well, we didn't deserve to win, but football is like this.

'I am not sure about the decision, but independent of that, the best team lost.

Wrong call The decision to send Nani off seemed harsh on Manchester United

Wrong call The decision to send Nani off seemed harsh on Manchester United

Unimpressed: Jose Mourinho was unconvinced by his Real Madrid side's performance

Unimpressed: Jose Mourinho was unconvinced by his Real Madrid side's performance

'I am happy that we are through but I expected more from my team,' he added to Spanish television channel TVE.

'When your goalkeeper is the best player on the pitch and you are playing against 10 men then that shows you are not controlling the match as you should.

'But you have to know how to suffer and how to win under those circumstances.'

Aviva Premiership: London Welsh 26 Harlequins 31

London Welsh 26 Harlequins 31: O'Shea slams error-strewn referee despite returning to Aviva Premiership summit

By
Gary Baker

PUBLISHED:

18:43 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

21:56 GMT, 6 January 2013

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea launched a furious attack on the referee after his side returned to the top of the Aviva Premiership with this bonus-point win.

O’Shea accused official Llyr ApGeraint Roberts of a catalogue of errors, saying: ‘I’m unbelievably frustrated. You’d have to go a long way to see worse.

‘Everything was wrong – it was incredible. The offside line was irrelevant, trailing runners coming back was irrelevant, backing into the maul, not releasing in the tackle – all irrelevant.'

First blood: In-form Danny Care scored Quins' first try

First blood: In-form Danny Care scored Quins' first try

He added: ‘We were 21-6 up at
half-time but bafflingly, the penalty count was against us. How can that
be We have a feedback process for the referees but it’s not actioned
upon and it’s very difficult at times.’

It is the second time in a week,
following equally frustrated comments by Leicester’s Richard Cockerill
when giving his verdict on Andrew Small’s decisions in the Tigers’ 17-12
win over Gloucester, that a major club figure has questioned
officialdom.

O’Shea added: ‘This is just a bit of
moral support as well for Cockers last week. I am just mightily
frustrated. I have vented in the dressing room to the players.'

Reliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot was again vital to Quins

Reliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot wasReliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot was again vital to Quins again vital to Quins

He continued: ‘Something has to be done. Not all of
these guys (refs) are full time. Let’s be fair – our jobs are on the
line every week and it is a strange position to say, “Well, they are not
full time but that’s fine”.’

Quins were great in the first half as
London Welsh seemed on course for a crushing defeat, and O’Shea was
happy with his players’ performance.

‘We played some magnificent running
in the first 45 minutes and that’s what we should be talking about – our
full back, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, dazzled people with his footwork,’
O’Shea said.

Leading by example: Robshaw added another try

Leading by example: Robshaw added another try

ENGLAND WATCH

Captain Chris Robshaw was firing on all cylinders.

He battered his way over for a try and was lucky not to find himself in the sin bin when he came in from the side at a ruck.

But he had a good game and came through unscathed.

Danny Care started brilliantly and darted through the smallest of gaps to score.

But he faded and was replaced by Karl Dickson.

England scrum-half Danny Care and
national skipper Chris Robshaw, plus centre George Lowe, got Quins
first-half tries, and the bonus point came after Nick Evans added a
fourth touchdown.

Wing Nick Scott and the boot of
stand-off Gordon Ross brought Welsh back from the dead and an Ed Jackson
intercept-try threatened a real shock.

But Quins hit back in the closing moments and nearly got another at the end, only a defiant defence halting them.

Welsh head coach Lyn Jones praised his team’s efforts, saying: ‘At half-time, we were staring down the barrel,’ he said,

‘We started the second half well, we
were still in there and we needed to get the first score, which we did.
We had a chance to win but their class and ability shone through in the
end.

‘They are a very good side and it’s a
pity more sides don’t play like them. We are showing determination and
spirit and are good enough to stay in this league.’

Fighting back: The Exiles battle to reduce the deficit

Fighting back: The Exiles battle to reduce the deficit

Calf-injury victim Gavin Henson was
absent from the Welsh line-up, but Jones is optimistic that he will be
able to call upon his services soon.

‘I saw him last Saturday and he was due to train on Wednesday, but his leg wasn’t good enough,’ Jones said.

‘Hopefully, he will play as soon as possible, but it’s a calf injury and I don’t want my players to rush back.’

Football Association tell referees to demand more respect

EXCLUSIVE: FA tell referees to demand more respect from players and coaches

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UPDATED:

08:48 GMT, 1 January 2013

The FA have fired a New Year warning across football that their ailing Respect campaign must be stepped up.

A communique sent to clubs and referees – seen by Sportsmail – urges: 'Still a great deal of work to do.'

It is significant from the tone that match officials are expected to take a tougher line on dissent, and runs contrary to the leniency shown by referee Mike Dean when Sir Alex Ferguson laid into him and his team of officials on Boxing Day.

Hard line: The FA wants its officials to work closely with club captains to save its ailing Respect campaign

Hard line: The FA wants its officials to work closely with club captains to save its ailing Respect campaign

Referees have been reminded to draw captains into the front line of the battle against any shows of disrespect to officials, as they were instructed to do when the initiative started. Among the set of reinforced guidelines, referees are urged to:

Work with captains even if they are 'some way from an incident'Use captains in a 'more visible way'Deal firmly with dissent and 'not move away from it'.

So determined are FA chiefs to improve behaviour that they have even laid down what they call their Fair Play Handshake Protocol – which uses diagrams to show how teams should line-up for the pre-match ceremony.

Handshakes, or the lack of them, have damaged the Respect initiative amid the racism rows involving John Terry and Anton Ferdinand and Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra.

Tirade: Sir Alex Ferguson berated Mike Dean during Manchester United's win over Newcastle

Tirade: Sir Alex Ferguson berated Mike Dean during Manchester United's win over Newcastle

Visible: Referees should not shy away from dealing with dissent on the pitch

Visible: Referees should not shy away from dealing with dissent on the pitch

The FA have told referees and clubs that since its launch in 2008 Respect has 'generally been accepted very favourably' but that much has to be done to get it 'embedded in everyone's thinking including managers, players and referees'.

Captains such as controversial Chelsea skipper Terry are expected to take a higher profile to help officials 'manage the players and the game effectively'.

John Terry, talking to Mark Halsey. will be expected to take a higher profile role with referees

John Terry, talking to Mark Halsey. will be expected to take a higher profile role with referees

Terry hasn't always enjoyed a good relationship with officials. Here he is beckoning Sportsmail's Graham Poll before his retirement.

Terry hasn't always enjoyed a good relationship with officials. Here he is beckoning Sportsmail's Graham Poll before his retirement.

But the onus is mostly on the referees who, say the FA, need to 'play a leading role' to ensure that 'the authority and respect for match officials is reinforced'.

They are also warned not to back away from confrontation but to 'stay and deal with it' by cautioning offenders.

Involved: Club captains such as Vincent Kompany (right) are expected to help officials 'manage the players and the game effectively'

Involved: Club captains such as Vincent Kompany (right) are expected to help officials 'manage the players and the game effectively'

Gareth Bale could leave if not protected by referees

In not protecting Bale we are in danger of kicking out top talent… it's Ronaldo all over again

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UPDATED:

12:54 GMT, 30 December 2012

Mega-talented and with a 60million price tag, Gareth Bale will be one of the biggest targets for overseas clubs this January.

But it is his burgeoning reputation for diving which could push him into a move abroad.

The Spurs winger can choose from Real Madrid, PSG and others who are keen to secure a deal, but when it comes to considering his future, he could also escape the criticism.

Dive, or foul Gareth Bale went down under the challenge of Craig Gardner

Dive, or foul Gareth Bale went down under the challenge of Craig Gardner

Despite being one of the Premier League’s most adventurous and attractive players, Bale landed a one-game ban after picking up his fifth yellow card on Saturday, for going down too easily under a challenge from Sunderland’s Craig Gardner.

Bale protested his innocence and said he was trying to prevent himself from injury, rather than capitalise on Gardner’s presence.

The 23-year old feels almost targeted by referees, rather than protected.

Much like Cristiano Ronaldo, who claimed bullies forced him out of England because opposition players couldn’t cope with him on the pitch.

The Real Madrid star said his time at Manchester United was marred by those who couldn’t handle his pace.

‘There are some teams who know they can’t compete with you on a football level so they just kick you,’ he said.

Tough: Cristiano Ronaldo felt he was not protected in the Premier League

Tough: Cristiano Ronaldo felt he was not protected in the Premier League

‘It’s frustrating and something needs to be done to protect the skilful players because one day someone will get seriously hurt. I think more could be done to protect them but that is up to the referees to decide.’

It will be the Premier League’s loss if Bale leaves for similar reasons.

This weekend Bale snapped and hit back in defence of his integrity, blasting Atkinson’s decision to book him.

‘It’s the same thing every time,’ he said. ‘It’s the third time this season where I’ve been clipped and I’ve been booked for no reason.

‘I think the referees need to look a bit closer. It’s not something I’m doing, it’s people thinking I am diving when there’s actually contact. If there is contact then it is a penalty or a free-kick, so I can’t do anything about it.

Furious: Bale will serve a one-match ban after collecting five yellow cards

Furious: Bale will serve a one-match ban after collecting five yellow cards

‘If there is contact then I’ll fall over. What do you expect me to do – hit my head on the floor I put my hands down to protect myself.’

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has previously claimed overseas players are more likely to dive than those from Britain, but even Europe is clamping down on the more obvious theatrics.

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci was fined €2000 and banned after his yellow card for simulation during his side’s 1-0 win over Palermo earlier this month.

He ran the full length of the pitch to meet a pass inside the box, but collapsed dramatically into a heap when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Gareth Bale booked for diving, banned for one match

Fifth yellow of season for Bale as alleged diving earns Spurs winger one-match ban

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UPDATED:

15:09 GMT, 29 December 2012

Gareth Bale received his fifth yellow card of the season for alleged diving and will miss Tottenham's Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham.

The Wales winger has been subject of number of controversial bookings this season for supposed simulation.

The incident came in the 81st minute when the midfielder raced into the box, only to tumble over as he was about to shoot.

Contact: Bale was definitely clipped by Gardner as he raced into the box

Contact: Bale was definitely clipped by Gardner as he raced into the box

Referee Martin Atkinson added to his
total during the clash with Sunderland, despite replays showing there
was contact with Craig Gardner.

Bale looked aghast at the official's decision which means all of his five cautions this season have been for diving – more than any other player in the Premier League.

Bale said after the match: 'This is the third time this season that it has happened, getting booked after being clipped.

'There's nothing I can do. The referees need to take a closer look at what is happening.'

You sure, ref Bale remonstrated with the official after being booked

You sure, ref Bale remonstrated with the official after being booked

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.

Spineless Mike Dean has let everyone down by letting Ferguson get away with it again

Spineless Dean has let everyone down by letting Ferguson get away with it again

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UPDATED:

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 complaining to referee Mike Dean on Saturday

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.

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

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.

Ian Ladyman: If 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:

01:42 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.