Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughOfficials should be untouchable, not managers - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Officials should be untouchable, not managers - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Officials should be untouchable, not managers

The war of words between Alan Pardew and Sir Alex Ferguson has quickly reached boiling point, but just who is in the right?

Quite frankly, the answer is neither of them.  Following a Boxing Day victory over Newcastle, the spotlight was placed on the Manchester United manager, whose remonstrating after Jonny Evans’ own goal drew criticism from various quarters.  Ferguson made sure that the linesman in particular knew his feelings on the controversial offside decision, but his passionate reaction surely overstepped the line.  Nobody wants to see managers punished for their behaviour but, without the threat of sanction, there is little to prevent them from losing their heads during matches.

The Red Devils ultimately won the game in injury time, something Ferguson’s sides have become famous for over the years.  Many will argue that this is partly down to the pressure the Scottish manager puts on officials, with a fear of the influential coach often lingering on their minds.

Last-minute defeats are never nice, but especially not when your team has taken the lead on three separate occasions.  This is what Alan Pardew had to contend with at the final whistle at Old Trafford, as Javier Hernandez’s late winner condemned his side to an eighth defeat in their last 11 games.  Ferguson’s actions during the Boxing Day fixture were called into question by the Newcastle manager, who stated his belief that the FA could review the situation.  This prompted an angry response from Ferguson, who seemed to alienate the whole of Newcastle United by calling them a “wee club in the north east”.

Perhaps Pardew should have considered his own behaviour before querying that of the Manchester United manager.  After all, Ferguson did not physically shove the linesman, something which Pardew was treated extremely leniently with towards the start of this season.

What this argument does highlight, though, is that, whichever way you look at it, the punishment for confronting officials is not strong enough.  It is not acting as a deterrent, as the actions of both Pardew and Ferguson illustrate.  The treatment of managers following such incidents needs to be harsher.  How on earth can pushing a linesman warrant only a two-game ban?  Surely that sort of sanction is more suited to Ferguson on Boxing Day?  Pardew, on the other hand, is lucky to still be in a job.

Referees are blamed for making decisions that cost teams’ results.  Sometimes that is in fact what they do.  But, no matter how bad the call, managers must learn to deal with such injustice in a more professional manner.