English Premiership

Ex-ref reveals Fergie's tricks

2014-02-06 21:21
Alex Ferguson (AFP)

London - Former English Premiership referee Dermot Gallagher has revealed how Alex Ferguson once tried to get him to postpone a Manchester United match because it would give his side a better chance of winning the title.

Ferguson was renowned for trying to exert pressure on referees during his long reign as United manager and could often be seen pointing at his watch, hinting that there should be a long period of stoppage time towards the end of games when United needed a goal.

The Scot, who retired at the end of last season, wrote in his autobiography that the gesture was intended to create tension for the opposition, but Gallagher has revealed there was more to Ferguson's cheeky tactics than that.

Gallagher, who refereed in the English top-flight from 1992 to 2007, recalled a match at Old Trafford in 1997 when United faced Middlesbrough in a game they desperately needed to win during a tense battle with Arsenal for the title.

"I remember going to Old Trafford at the end of the season. Manchester United had three games that week and I was given the game on the bank holiday Monday," Gallagher told Sportlobster TV.

"It was chucking it down with rain and Fergie pulled me aside and said 'do me a favour, call the game off'.

"I asked why and he said 'There's nowhere else to fit this game in and the Premier League will have to extend the season. We'll have a better chance of winning the match and we'll win the league at Old Trafford'.

"At half time United were losing and the pitch was like a swimming pool. As we came off he said 'I know we're 3-1 down but please call it off, we could do with a hand here'.

"They managed to pull it back to 3-3 and in the last minute Dennis Irwin ran into the box and went down in front of the Stretford End and I only gave a goal kick.

"At full time Fergie sprinted across the pitch and shouted at me furiously. My wife said, 'Fergie had a right go at you about that penalty didn't he'. I told her he hadn't mentioned the penalty.

"She asked why he came tearing across the pitch at me then. The truth is he ran over and asked me if I was going out to dinner that night. I said 'no' and he asked 'why are we leaving so early then?'."

Ferguson's ability to squeeze every last second out of officials when his side were losing has since been highlighted.

With United trailing at Old Trafford under their former boss, an average of 79 seconds extra was played in stoppage-time.

However, this compares to just 40 seconds extra under his successor David Moyes.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
14 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • SS3
    Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @04:00
  • SS4
    Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @05:00
  • SS7
    Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @06:00
  • SS5
    Mon, 28 Jul 2014 @06:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
16 August 2014
Manchester United v Swansea City, Old Trafford 13:45
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Stoke City v Aston Villa, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Everton, King Power Stadium 16:00
Queens Park Rangers v Hull City, Loftus Road Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland, The Hawthorns 16:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 18:30
17 August 2014
Liverpool v Southampton, Anfield 14:30
Newcastle United v Manchester City, St. James' Park 17:00
18 August 2014
Burnley v Chelsea, Turf Moor 21:00
Vote

How will Manchester United fare in next season's English Premiership under Louis van Gaal?

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.