Monday, 18 March 2013
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Fergie on FA respect ALEX FERGUSON has always insisted that referees should be respected. The Manchester United boss angrily confronted official Mike Dean at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. But on March 22, 2008, Fergie said it was “absolutely ridiculous” for managers and players to abuse refs. He said: “We are talking about respect for referees at grassroots level and I think that is absolutely correct. “The haranguing of referees is absolutely ridiculous — we know that. It’s not right. “We see it as an issue. Since the situation with Andy D’Urso (when the ref was blasted by Roy Keane, Jaap Stam, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and Gary Neville in 2000), we’ve not done anything like that.” FOOTBALL fans around the country were up in arms last night as Alex Ferguson escaped an FA rap for haranguing referee Mike Dean. Fergie steamed into Dean, his linesman AND the fourth official before the start of the second half for his decision to allow a Jonny Evans own goal during Manchester United’s 4-3 win over Newcastle. The strike had initially been ruled out because Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse was given offside by assistant Jake Collin. But after Dean consulted Collin, it was decided that Cisse was not interfering with play — and the goal was given. Sun readers stormed our website with 18,000 replies last night as we asked whether Fergie should be punished by the FA. A resounding 58 per cent were adamant that the United boss should have had the book thrown at him. But because Dean did not report Ferguson for his behaviour, the FA yesterday confirmed that they will take no action. Dean’s decision to chicken out was in stark contrast to how he treated Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger at the same ground three years ago. Wenger was sent to the Old Trafford stands by Dean for kicking a water bottle in frustration after he thought his then Gunners striker Robin van Persie had scored a late equaliser. United won the game 2-1 and afterwards Wenger observed wryly: “I didn’t know kicking a water bottle was not allowed.” Match of the Day presenter and former England international Gary Lineker was among those who questioned Ferguson’s behaviour. Lineker said: “That doesn’t set a great example, does it, haranguing a referee. He’s not really mellowing that much in old age, is he?” MOTD panellist and SunSport columnist Alan Shearer replied: “What he is doing is putting pressure on referees and the fourth official as he wants some decisions to go his way in the second half. “You can see Fergie is incensed. He makes his feelings known towards the referee, linesman and fourth official.” It was not as if Ferguson was on solid ground with his complaint. He argued that Cisse had pulled Evans back in the build-up to the goal when replays showed it was the other way round. Shearer added: “He’s actually saying Cisse is pulling him back but he isn’t. “Jonny Evans, if anything, is pulling Cisse back. “Fergie is absolutely livid because he thinks it is the wrong decision — but I don’t think it is.” Yesterday, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew broke ranks and insisted Dean was wrong not to report Ferguson. He said: “Mike Dean might feel slightly disappointed he didn’t do something about it because the pressure on the officials is tough to take for a referee. “Sometimes when you reflect on a game and look back on it, maybe you might have acted differently. “We do that as managers and I’m sure he might think that as a referee. “Of course, it’s an emotional game. Apparently they had a cordial discussion. I’ve had a few of them myself but sometimes ended up in the stands with that cordial discussion.” Former Premier League ref Dermot Gallagher also said Fergie had got it wrong. He explained: “The law says interfering with play means touching the ball and there is no doubt that Cisse did not touch the ball. “If anything, Jonny Evans touches Cisse. He is not in the goalkeeper’s sight and not interfering with Evans. “The Manchester United players do not appeal for offside as they are brought up with the modern directives, they accept it is a goal.” The Premier League also confirmed that it was right to award the goal. A spokesman said: “As Cisse did not play the ball he was not interfering with play. It is also the case that Cisse did not interfere with the opponent.” James Perch put Toon ahead in an epic Old Trafford clash. Evans then scored at the right end before his own goal gave Newcastle the lead again. Patrice Evra made it 2-2, then Cisse put Newcastle in front for a THIRD time. But a Van Persie leveller and Javier Hernandez’s 90th-minute goal broke Toon hearts and gave United a priceless 4-3 win.