Ferguson escapes charge for referee rant
Alex Ferguson will not be disciplined for his on-field altercation with Mike Dean because the referee deemed the Manchester United manager's St Stephen's Day protest "reasonable and rational."
Ferguson was furious with the decision to allow Newcastle's second goal in the hosts' 4-3 win at Old Trafford.
But Dean made no reference to the incident in his match report, and on that basis the English FA – who were still awaiting the report yesterday – have no cause to take the matter any further. The FA would only have a remit to do so in such a case if the referee drew their attention to the incident.
Dean has described in detail the sequence of events to referees' chief Mike Riley, explaining why there is no chronicling of Ferguson's behaviour in his official account, which is then submitted to the FA.
Dean has told Riley, the general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO), that Ferguson held a "reasonable and rational" conversation with him, expressing discontent at the decision to allow the controversial own-goal by Jonny Evans to stand.
Riley was informed Ferguson did not use foul or abusive language, nor did Dean feel his integrity was questioned during their conversation – the crux as to why no further scrutiny will be necessary.
This version of events will undoubtedly raise the eyebrows of those who have seen the TV images and photographs of the encounter, but the referee has suggested the pictures of their discussion make it look much worse than it actually was. Dean has said it was merely a difference of opinion expressed between official and manager.
The fact that Dean did not send off Ferguson meant it was difficult for him to make any observation about indiscipline later, as he would have been asked why, if he thought it was worth bringing to the FA's attention, he had not deemed it necessary to act while he was still on the field of play.
After suggestions the United boss has mellowed in recent seasons, it has been like a trip down memory line over the festive period.
His admonishing of the officials on St Stephen's Day swiftly followed the bizarre comments by Ferguson last weekend when he claimed Swansea's Ashley Williams could have "killed" Robin van Persie by kicking a football against his head.
He had called for Williams to be banned, but there was no FA action against the Welsh captain.
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski appears to be edging closer to a move to Old Trafford, with claims in Germany that a summer transfer is already agreed.
United will have to pay £18m for the Polish striker, a long-term target of Ferguson. The United manager has extensively scouted Lewandowski – including when Dortmund played Manchester City in this year's Champions League. He would have moved for the striker last summer had his bid for Van Persie failed.
There are suggestions the 24-year-old has already agreed a five-year contract at Old Trafford worth around £4m a year.
Ferguson has also allowed Bebe to leave Old Trafford on loan. He has joined Portuguese side Rio Ave. Bebe moved to United in 2010 for £7.4m, one of the least impressive purchases of the Ferguson era.
He has scored twice since and was sent on loan to Besiktas last season. Since then he has suffered a cruciate knee injury, but has recovered and is hoping for a fresh start in Portugal. (© Daily Telegraph, London)