Retired Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has rebuffed suggestions he let his reputation influence referee’s decisions during his career.
This is against the backdrop of comments written in former Premier League referee Mark Harsey’s book ‘Added Time’, claiming to have had a good relationship with Ferguson in which he would contact the then Manchester United manager.
The comment seem to have added more fat to the long-standing debate over Ferguson’s rein as United boss and the widely-speculated influence his image on the sideline had on referees’ overall assessment of matches involving the champions.
But Ferguson denied such suggestions, insisting his contact with Halsey, who retired after the 2012/13 campaign, was basically that of support during his battle with cancer.
“I can’t believe… obviously there is an Alex Ferguson element in his (Helsey’s) book he thought was important,” Ferguson told MUTV. “Most of the managers, particularly in the North-West, supported (him) – and a lot of players by the way- when he had the cancer, him and his wife. It was a terrible period for the lad and quite rightly the football fraternity got behind him and supported him.
“We gave him jersey after jersey for the dinner he was having and of course a Manchester United strip figures greatly in these auctions- a signed strip from all the players.”
The manager, who had series of altercations with many match officials during his 26-year reign at Old Trafford, said suggestions he had influenced referees were “laughable,” pointing out.
“This is a guy who has the worst record of any manager in the history of English football, fined £100,000 by them (referees), suspended so many times. That’s some influence, I must say. It’s a little bit Walter Milty (a reference to the short story about a fantasist).”
Ferguson, who now serves in the position of club director at Old Trafford commended the David Moyes’ new look United for their victory over Crystal Palace and Bayern Leverkusen.
“They won well against Palace. It was a difficult game because many teams come and park the bus. On Tuesday night (against Leverkusen) they were terrific.
He also thinks Wayne Rooney, who reached the 200 club goals milestone on Tuesday, has returned back to form saying: “Wayne Rooney’s performance was fantastic- I was pleased to see that. He’s got his energy back. The determination, his purpose to attack players, was all very encouraging to me. Being a director I’m delighted to see that. He’s back to what we always remember.”