Sir Alex Ferguson, like all the great managers, has a certain presence that gives him the kind of power that can be used as a managerial tool.
But it is also something that can be used to intimidate, so with that power comes responsibility. Alex knows he is revered, just as he knows others will copy him, and he must not abuse that position.
In what he said in his press conference yesterday he was missing the point, because it’s not always what you say but how you say it that matters. And that aggression, the finger-jabbing, the sheer anger in his face, is every bit as wrong as actually insulting the referee. Alex might deny it, but it’s the truth.
A player can be cautioned for dissent by action as well as the spoken word and that is what should have happened at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. Alex should have been disciplined.
He was quite clever on the day. Mike Dean feels they had a reasonable exchange but the television pictures showed Alex was far more aggressive towards the fourth official and the assistant referee. His behaviour was intimidating, but you are far less likely to get in trouble for having a go at one of the assistants than you are the ref.
Dean is getting a fair bit of criticism for not raising the issue in his report but it was up to the fourth official and the assistant to report the incidents to Dean in the first place. I can understand why they didn’t. They probably felt he had enough to worry about on the pitch.
But they should have spoken to Dean at the time because that kind of exchange with Alex will be intimidating no matter how confident a person you are.
Ultimately, though, the assistants are not to blame here and I don’t blame the Football Association either. They were powerless to act. No, the fault lies with Alex. – Daily Mail