Between the Lines

"Of all unimportant subjects, football is the most important" – Pope John Paul II

Ferguson has cried wolf too often

Posted by hakanrylander on November 10, 2009

I’m sick and tired of Alex Ferguson blaming the referee as soon as we drop points. Over the last few weeks he’s told us that Alan Wiley is not fit enough (Old Trafford Oct 3), claimed that Martin Atkinson was in a ridiculous position to award a crucial free-kick (Stamford Bridge Nov 8) and questioned whether Andre Marriner has the necessary experience for the PL (Anfield Oct 25).

Ferguson has a hot temper and it sometimes gets the better of him. But I also think that he’s clever enough to know when to unleash a tirade and when not to. My conclusion is that these outbursts are deliberate attempts to bully referees into giving United preferential treatment. I don’t like it.

Regardless of what you think about Ferguson’s strategy the obvious question is if it’s working or not. The answer depends on whether the average referee is (perhaps unconciously) thinking “maybe Fergie has a point” or “I’d better prove that I’m not easily manipulated”. Either way I think Ferguson risks diluting any possible effect by complaining about the ref after just about every game when we’ve lost points. He has quite simply cried wolf too often.

It would take a full-scale scientific study to ascertain whether United are in fact harshly treated by referees over a season or longer. Personally I’m leaning towards the view that if there is a bias it’s probably in favour of United, mainly because of the crowd pressure at Old Trafford.

4 Responses to “Ferguson has cried wolf too often”

  1. i agree… the rant has come in too often now…

  2. Pos said

    I approached this article with large amounts of scepticism, as it implied you wanted Ferguson to shut up and take Sunday’s defeat on the chin – which I completely disagree with as he had every right to make a fuss. But by the end, you’re point was well explained and I ended up agreeing with what you said. Ferguson DOES do this too often and unfortunately so, those irrelevant and unjust rants where we genuinely don’t play well yet he still bangs on about the referees performance (the Sunderland game being a key example) has cost him the respect he deserves in these situations. If he just reserved those complaints for genuine cases – i.e. Sunday afternoon – then people would take his post-match ‘thoughts’ alot more seriously rather than just filing them away with his other rants.

  3. bobbygee said

    Sir Alex knows exactly what he is doing. The Red Devils didn’t finish. Rooney, Berbatov nor Anderson couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with a cannon.

  4. Ed said

    Well a straw poll of recent results suggest Ferguson’s attacks on referees is a complete failure. Liverpool, Chelsea – bigs games in which big decisions went against United.

    Firstly, nobody ever won a trophy via the press so what’s the point? Secondly, the worst case scenario may be coming true. That a referee – not inherently biased but perhaps subconsciously annoyed with Ferguson – calls a 50/50 against United in a big game. Points lost, silverare won by somebody else.

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