Furious Fergie lashes out at ‘unfit’ referee
Sir Alex Ferguson launched an extraordinary attack on referee Alan
Wiley after Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland, claiming he
wasn’t fit enough to officiate at the highest level.
United needed a 93rd minute deflected Patrice Evra effort to earn a
point against a Sunderland side who almost caused the surprise of the
Darren Bent’s seventh minute strike was cancelled out by a stunning
overhead effort from Dimitar Berbatov early in the second half before
Kenwyne Jones again restored the visitors’ lead.
Steve Bruce’s side looked to have done enough to hold onto all three
points before Evra’s edge-of-the-box effort took a huge deflection off
Anton Ferdinand to equalise.
Ferguson was unhappy with how United had performed but he saved his
greatest ire for the referee in a 60-second rant where he outlined that
he believed his side deserved more time after their equaliser to try and
find a winner.
But Football Association chiefs are likely to take a dim view of his
comments - particularly his opinion that Wiley booked players just so he
could catch his breath.
“I was disappointed by the referee I must say,” Ferguson said. “He
didn’t add any time on for the goal we scored. He blew after four
minutes and two seconds and there was another 30 seconds. “He actually
walked after the second goal needing a rest. He just wasn’t fit enough
for a game of that standard. The pace of the game demanded a referee who
was fit and I do not think he was fit.
“I think it is an indictment of our game - you see referees from
abroad who are as fit as butchers’ dogs. And there are some referees in
this country who are fit - but he wasn’t fit.”
Ferguson’s outburst is perhaps a calculated attempt to divert
attention away from the fact that without Ryan Giggs and an on-form Paul
Scholes - who was removed here at halftime following a terrible
performance - United looked anything but a Premier League-winning side.
Either way, he was not a happy man despite one point being better
than none at all.
“We gave the ball away continually,” he said. “And I thought we were
there then because the surge was there and the crowd was there but then
we gave away a really soft second goal.