Thursday, November 12, 2009

FA punishment for Fergie: It's a slap on the wrist...

The tiresome saga surrounding Fergie's ill-timed and ill-conceived attack on Alan Wiley has finally been dealt with; the punishment will no doubt be seen as a slap on the wrist. The FA's decision to fine the United manager and ban him for four games, two of them suspended, isn't going to harm Manchester United or the manager. Granted the decision to ban Fergie for his-post match comments is a first, but still with some justification the referees' are likely to be unhappy with the outcome.

Despite the punishment and suspended ban, privately, Fergie might well feel vindicated in making his point so publicly, in so doing he has made his point and he's got away with it. It is also highly unlikely that the United manager has changed his views on the general standard of fitness where the officials are concerned.

There's no doubting some referees have looked unfit, but apparently Wiley is among the fittest and that was Fergie's big mistake, following the heat of battle with Sunderland in a Premier League fixture that ended 2-2, the Scot picked on the wrong one. One school of thought is that Fergie was actually trying to deflect attention away from his team's poor performance on the day - the attack was a diversionary tactic, but one that back-fired.

However, having catapulted the fitness issue into the football headlines, it is a topic that is likely to be revisited time and time again; ergo referees' will need to be seen to be on their toes and not lagging behind play.

Sure enough Fergie has been warned, but the spotlight is also firmly on the men in the middle. In time, it could well be the case that in voicing his concerns, Fergie could have done "the game" a favour if the general standard of referee fitness improves over the coming weeks and months.

Fitness issues aside something needs to be done about the standard of refereeing in general, the performance of Martin Atkinson last weekend at Stamford Bridge left an awful lot to be desired.


  1. On an unrelated note, Tevez is contemplating retirement at the end of next season if Argentina win the world cup, or even soon, as he wants to spend time with family.

    Given the amount of chances he has missed for City already, many absolute sitters that even Owen might have scored, and how he has lost his place in the national team, Ferguson seems to be vindicated in refusing to waste tens of millions on him, also the reports of City spending as much as 40 million on him in shady agreements. What do you think?

  2. Uday,

    I don't know what Tevez has been smoking but talk of him retiring at his age seems to be premature at best, crazy at worst.

    Comparisons with Michael Owen aren't fair really IMO, although they're both strikers they are quite different.

    Owen manages to work himself into great positions around the opposition penalty area, but he's missed many more chances than Tevez from what I've seen, but Owen doesn't do much outside of the box.

    Tevez isn't just a goal-scorer, he brings so much more to the team than that (as we found to our cost in the derby).

    Personally, I'd take Tevez over Owen every time, but it's a game of opinions.

    The shady agreements was I'll agree a big stumbling block but only time and results will tell if Fergie did the right thing. Right now I'm sticking with my pre-season prediction that United will miss out on the major prizes - largely because Fegie hasn't bought well enough in the summmer. He has a chance to redeem himself in January, but do not hold your breath.

    The problems go much deeper than the lack of genuine star quality strength in depth up front. IF Rooney gets injured United are knackered - we shouldn't be more or less totally reliant on one player, no matter how good he is.

    We have problems in midfield too and it appears that the manager is pinning his hopes on Hargreaves coming good, but I have my doubts about that happening.

    Then there's Rio: IF Fergie had his finger on the pulse he'd have sold him last summer and signed Lucio for 5 million Euros.

    I can see Fergie going soon, I really can and I can also see Mourinho replacing him.

  3. Ahh, what would that mean?! United would once again become the most-hated club in the league (Chelsea had shortly taken that mantle, and this year City have), but then we have always been hated when most successful.

    Intriguing times ahead.

  4. Uday,

    Despite the antics of Chelsea and City, United are by some distance the most hated club in England.

    Mourinho would just make it worse.


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