Alex Ferguson's best referee rants

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has never been averse to giving the referee a piece of his mind and, on Saturday, it was no different. Following United's surprise 2-2 draw with Sunderland at Old Trafford, Fergie lambasted referee Alan Wiley for being unfit and not adding enough added time as his team chased a winner at the end of the game.

Sir Alex Ferguson berates Mike Dean


Sir Alex Ferguson berates Mike Dean last season

Ferguson also launched an expletive-ridden tirade at fourth official Mike Dean and now finds himself in trouble with the FA, who will review his comments and may issue a charge of improper conduct against the Scot. But it is not the first time Ferguson's post-match comments have got him into trouble, there are plenty more instances from the recent past and here we take a look at a few of the best/worst:

• Following United's FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Portsmouth in March 2008, when Sulley Muntari's penalty gave the visitors a 1-0 win, Ferguson was charged with improper conduct after claiming the match referee Martin Atkinson was a "disgrace".

The United boss also declared that Atkinson's performance "should not be accepted in our game" and then rounded on referees' chief Keith Hackett for "not doing his job properly". Ferguson's assistant Carlos Queiroz went a step further and said the referee was a "robber" who "deserved a red card".

Amazingly both men escaped punishment after the FA decided they could not appeal against the independent Regulatory Commission, which found that the charges levelled against the duo could not be proven.

• In November last season Ferguson watched his side beat Hull City 4-3 at Old Trafford, but was still so unhappy with the performance of referee Mike Dean that he confronted the official on the pitch and had to be restrained by defender Gary Neville.

Ferguson was enraged by Dean's decision to award Hull a penalty, his failure to issue Tigers' defender Michael Turner with a second yellow card following his challenge on Michael Carrick and claimed the referee had failed to do his job properly.

"The player's already been booked so the referee's failed in his duty there," fumed Ferguson. "It should have been a red card as he was right through."

Those comments, and his finger-jabbing antics on the pitch, once again landed Ferguson with a charge of improper conduct from the FA. This time he was fined £10,000 and given a two-match touchline ban.

• That rant came less than 12-months after Ferguson served a two-match touchline ban and was fined £5,000 for an outburst at referee Mark Clattenburg during a 1-0 defeat away to Bolton Wanderers on November 24, 2007.

Ferguson was so indignant at Clattenburg's failure to punish Bolton's aggressive tactics at the Reebok Stadium, and in particular his failure to punish Kevin Davies for a 'reducer' on full-back Patrice Evra, that he confronted the referee at half-time.

Clattenburg subsequently sent off the United manager, who had to watch the second-half from the directors' box. Ferguson later explained: "Some referees don't like it. They don't like the truth but I just told him how bad he was in the first-half."

The FA charged Ferguson with using abusive and/or insulting words to a match official and on this occasion the 67-year-old accepted the punishment.

• Back in November 2007 the United manager watched his team draw 2-2 with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, when William Gallas' 92nd minute leveller was judged to have crossed the line before goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar pushed it out, and turned his anger towards referee Howard Webb, claiming he had been biased towards the Gunners.

The United boss, who had been taking abuse from the Arsenal fans all through the match, said: "It is very difficult for the referee ... at times, he favoured Arsenal. Their second goal came from him not giving a free-kick for a foul on Louis Saha on the far side. It should have been a foul for us!"

On that occasion the FA, who requested a full transcript of the interview from MUTV, decided not to charge Ferguson as there was not enough evidence to prove he was suggesting that Webb had been deliberately biased.

• Ferguson can be equally fiery on the European stage and following Manchester United's 2-1 defeat to AS Roma in the Stadio Olimpico in 2007 he claimed his side had been playing "against 12 men" in an outburst against referee Herbert Fandel.

The German, who was also the referee when United were knocked out of the Champions League by Porto in 2003, dismissed Paul Scholes in the 34th minute and Ferguson insisted "a good referee would not have sent him off".

"Considering we played with ten men - mostly against 12 men - for over an hour, this is a good result for us," Ferguson said. "I don't think we got a decision all night but that is European football, I'm afraid."

"I can't have any complaints about [Scholes's] first booking but I do have complaints about the second one. In a big game like that, a good referee would not have sent him off, " said Ferguson, before blasting Roma defender Cristian Chivu, who gave Fandel the thumbs up when Scholes was shown a second yellow card. "In my opinion Chivu got Scholes sent off because of his reaction to the referee."

United produced one of the most stunning European performances of all time in the return leg at Old Trafford, smashing seven past Roma to book a semi-final place.

*Taken from


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