Ferguson charged again by FA

I was as surprised as anyone to hear that Sir Alex Ferguson had been charged again by the FA on Friday for daring to discuss a match official prior to the Manchester United V Chelsea game last week.

I’m the first person to have a moan on here when I think Ferguson is allowed to get away with things, but even I have to say that this a fight the FA didn’t really need to pick.

This seems to come in the catergory of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, did the FA really need to do it?

But let’s be honest here, Harry Redknapp can continue his crusade to fight Fergie’s corner all he likes, but Ferguson knew what he was doing when he said “We are getting the best referee, there is no doubt about that. We have the players to do it all right. We just hope it’s our turn for a little bit of luck,” last weekend.

“We just hope it’s our turn for a little bit of luck,” that’s the line for me, that is a clear message from Ferguson for Howard Webb in my opinion.

I wasn’t aware that there is a clear directive that managers are not allowed to discuss the referee prior to a game, and I actually agree with the rule.

Ferguson was actually a victim of this himself in the FA cup semi-final in 2009, when David Moyes questioned Mike Riley’s appointment and was rewarded by seeing Riley turn down a blatent United penalty. You could say Fergie got shot with his own gun.

But I do think this latest charge is a bit over the top, the game passed by with no major problems and everyone accepted the outcome without any argument about Howard Webb’s performance.

Maybe the FA could have used a bit of common sense and perhaps just let Ferguson know that they were aware of his comments, rather than taking this course of action.

How did Schalke get this far?

Three weeks ago I poured scorn on the fact that apparently everyone wanted to play Schalke as they were the weak link left in the champions league draw.

Tonight I realised why they were given that tag as they looked like what their position tells us they are – an average midtable side in the German league.

Apart from the keeper, they were absolute garbage. They offered nothing, they gave Man Utd easy possession at the back and in midfield, there was no urgency from them and nothing in attack either, and on top of all that they had a manager who seemed incapable of changing anything.

What must Raul have been thinking during all this? Here is a man with a European record second to none, reduced to a spectator. It must have been humiliating for him.

Luckily for Raul, Ryan Giggs only took one of his 4 or 5 great chances. I hear a lot of people banging on about how great Giggs is – and yes he is in great form. But his finishing is one aspect of his game that has never improved and did he miss some chances tonight!

The Schalke keeper had a good game, but most of the reason why they remained in the game as long as they did was down to the awful finishing – the game should have been over at half time.

Credit has to go to Manchester United though as they played well and controlled the game. At no stage did they ever look in any trouble and such was the difference in class, Ferguson was already talking about resting players for the 2nd leg in his aftermatch interview.

I doubt he has ever had an easier night in Europe at such a late stage in the competition.

No luck for Fergie as usual

Bad luck that is, this time.

Ferguson can’t complain tonight, that’s for sure, as Chelsea were denied a blatent penalty when Evra brought down Ramires late on.

Even the usually calm Carlo Ancelotti resorted to confronting the referee on the pitch at the end, it was most unlike the Italian who usually stays away from referees and criticising them. Something I don’t believe he gets the credit he deserves for.

All in all, I thought United did well and probably just deserved their win tonight, although had Chelsea equalised I wouldn’t have argued that a draw wasn’t a fair result.

But considering Chelsea were the home team, I think it’s fair too say that at times United looked a bit too comfortable. United were in control for most of the first half, before Chelsea improved in the second half.

But Ancelotti’s team just didn’t do enough for me.

That said – like Rio Ferdinand – I don’ think this tie is over. One thing that Chelsea have in their favour is that they are still in the tie, it’s not beyond them to go to Old Trafford and win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1.

They have won at Old Trafford before in big games, so why not again!

Barcelona’s thrashing of Shakhtar was no real surprise, but I’ve just watched the goals and some of them where a joke.

Like last night, the defending on show was awful. That’s Tottenham, Inter Milan and Shakhtar all getting a good thrashing in the quarter-finals of the champions league. All three of them defended more like teams that get knocked out in the group stages.

It’s disappointing, but three of the ties are already dead.

10 Million Pound Corners

A lot has been said about Alex Ferguson’s remark that Charlie Adam’s corners are worth 10 million pounds alone. It will be interesting to see what he values him at, should he bid for him this summer!

When I heard on Wednesday that Adam had scored with a corner against West Ham, I thought ‘bloody hell, maybe Fergie has a point.’

Then I thought a bit more about it and realised that Robert Green was probably the goalkeeper. Then I watched Match of the Day and seen the goal.

It was then that the reality dawned on me that it wasn’t a corner worth 10 million pounds, it was a goalkeeper worth 10 bob.

My Views on Alex Ferguson

I’m always hearing pundits, ex players and so called experts continually telling everyone just how great for the game of football, Sir Alex Ferguson has been and still is.

I don’t dispute for a minute that Ferguson is a great manager. So far he has built at least 3 great teams, produced a whole host of great players like Beckham, Giggs and Scholes, etc, and has produced great professionals like the Neville brothers and Nicky Butt.

He has also turned decent players into world class performers, people like Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand, Roy Keane, Eric Canona and Peter Schmeichel. Has given players like Dwight Yorke, Denis Irwin, Paul Parker, Paul Ince and Gary Pallister great success – including international caps – and the chance to win numerous trophies.

His trophy count and achievements are second to none, remarkable in the English game.

But I think over 20 years, given the teams he has had, he has badly underachieved only winning 2 Champions Leagues.

I thought in 1999 he had the best team in Europe, ok so Bayern Munich had the better of the final, but United were the best side in Europe back then for me. Who will ever forget the semi-final in Turin as well.

In 2008, the year of their 2nd success under Ferguson, they beat Barcelona without too much trouble in the semi-final and they were again, probably, the top side in Europe that season. I thought the final was a poor match, but United were better than Chelsea over the course of the season and deserved their double.

Where Ferguson hasn’t been good for the game of football for me, is in his continued assult on referees via his press conferences and his players on the field. He has set the standard for pressurising referees, pre and post match, in his press conferences, it is out of order for me and the FA should have done something about it by now.

He has also (I would imagine) encouraged his players to put pressure on referees during the match, judging by the behaviour of most of them over the years. If he hasn’t encouraged this, then there is a serious lack of discipline in the club as his players behaviour towards refs over the years has been appauling. I think we can all draw our own conclusions to that one!

This hasn’t been good for football. I’m not blaming Fergie for the whole breakdown of behaviour and respect within football, but he has played a major role and has done the future generations of referees no favours at all with his continued ref bashing.

A more balanced approach over the years wouldn’t have gone amiss, thats for sure.