Faithless Ferguson sounds a familiar tone (Updates with ban)
Thursday update: Nothing to do with this incident, of course, but worth noting that Ferguson has been banished to the stands, receiving a two-match ban and a fine of 20,000 quid for the comments he made about Alan Wiley in October.
So, the FA has decided to get tough with the United boss. Are they right to do it? Read the full story here.
You might think Alex Ferguson would have realised, after half a century in the professional game, that the view from the manager’s dug-out is rarely objective or entirely accurate.
And if a referee does happen to make a mistake, which he is bound to do in the high-speed hurly-burly of a Premier League match, the Scot might also have come to the conclusion that venting your spleen at the powerless fourth official is a waste of everybody’s time.
But no, it seems not. Week after week, month after month, season after season, barely a match passes without Ferguson complaining about something that didn’t go United’s way.
On Sunday, when he might have been questioning his decision to play only one striker in a cautious approach to the showdown with Chelsea or berating his walkabout defence for failing to defend the key free kick, he found three reasons why John Terry’s goal should not have stood.
The initial foul on Ashley Cole by Darren Fletcher should not have been given, he said. Wes Brown was impeded in trying to defend the subsequent Frank Lampard free kick and Didier Drogba was offside and obscuring Edwin van der Sar’s view of the ball when it went in.
Of the hat-trick, the initial one appeared to have the most merit but any number of aggressive tackles are deemed fouls these days and Cristiano Ronaldo used to benefit as much if not more than anyone else in that regard.
The marginal contact between Drogba and Brown is also small beer in the current climate where wrestling in the box ahead of free kicks and corners has become an established part of the game. Rest assured that when Steve Bruce was patrolling the centre of United’s defence he would not have allowed himself to so easily be taken out of the game at a vital moment.
TV replays were inconclusive over Drogba’s position and, even if all three moans were justified, people have surely just stopped listening.
“You lose faith in refereeing sometimes, that’s the way the players are talking in there — it was a bad one,” he said, with Wayne Rooney chipping in by apparently mouthing “12 men” at a TV camera as he trudged off at the end.
PHOTO: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in London November 8, 2009. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh