Ahead of Manchester United’s final match at the Hawthorns, Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted to MUTV he has deliberately pressured match officials throughout his 26- year United career.
The Scot has made several criticisms of many officials at the time and has long been accused of influencing decisions in his side’s favour, often times by taking on the media as an avenue to air his often perceived lopsided opinions.
His long history of berating officials from the touchline and in the tunnels had BBC, in 2012, coin the phrase ‘Fergie time’ a perception that his team were given an average of 79 extra seconds when losing after 90 minutes. Rafael Benitez, then at Liverpool, famously presented his ‘facts’ about Ferguson’s manipulation of officials in 2009.
The ‘Fergie time’ issue has now been revisited in the light of his recent retirement when Ferguson said: “The fourth official on Sunday against Swansea showed me the board and it said eight minutes- I said: ‘Think again.’
“But that’s been part of it too, the pressure you try and put on referees. I save mind games for opponents, though,” Ferguson told MUTV.
He said that the famous use of the ‘hairdryer’- blasting players who overstepped their boundaries- wasn’t one of his most cherished managerial techniques.
“That’s overplayed, honestly,” the Scot said. “I’m fed up reading about it.”
Among the most recent of his jibes at referees was the one after the 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane early this year.
“He had a shocking game,” Ferguson said on assistant referee Simon Beck. “I’m disappointed in his performance, I really am. He had a bad game and we never got anything on that side of the pitch. There was no way we were going to get a decision from him. We have got history with him.”
The manager was referring to a tackle on Rooney in the area, which was, however, not noted by the assistant referee in that game.
Ferguson, who would be handing over to his successor David Moyes on July 1st joked that he plans to give Moyes his watch as a welcome present.
Meanwhile, Rio Ferdinand, who this week announced his retirement from international football told www.ManUtd.com that the players feel they will have to prove themselves all over again under Moyes.
“He is going to come in with new ideas, new rules and a new regime,” Ferdinand said. No matter how long we’ve been here, the likes of Ryan Giggs and myself have been here for many years, we’ll be in the same boat instead as people like Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley. So we’ve all got to be wanting to prove ourselves to make sure he thinks we’re the right people to start each game.
“They are a massive shoes to fill but he couldn’t be walking into a healthier situation. The young players here are hungry and want to win stuff. The senior players have won a lot of things but have still got the desire and the work ethic the manager has instilled into us. I think that’s vital for the future of the club.”