Ferguson in new ref rant
ALEX FERGUSON further fanned the flames of his simmering feud with the English FA by suggesting that referee Lee Mason was pressurised into recommending Wayne Rooney be given a two-match ban for swearing at a television camera.
Though Mason took no immediate action as the Manchester United striker celebrated his hat-trick in United's 4-2 victory at West Ham last Saturday, he claimed in his post-match report that he would have dismissed Rooney had he seen the original offence.
That opened the door for an unprecedented FA judgment, which ruled Rooney out of today's Premier League fixture with Fulham and next Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City. It also fuelled Ferguson's belief that his club are being victimised by the game's governing body.
"I think Mason was put under pressure," said the United manager. "It is hard to imagine a referee would send a player off for scoring a hat-trick. If he doesn't send the next player off for swearing, the question will be whether he has got double standards.
"It's a very difficult position for the lad to be in. I feel for him, I really do. I don't know how his career is going to go now. But I think he was put under pressure."
Ferguson's attitude to the incident is typical of the Scot at this stage of the season: unrepentant, unbowed, unabashed. When the mercury rises, Ferguson always finds a way of making sure his team stand undivided.
Between attacking the FA, the media, West Midlands Police and others, he admitted as much. "I don't even need to say that," he said, when asked if he felt United were being targeted by the FA.
"There is an obvious trend at the moment. But we will use it."
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