Fergie blasts intimidation

United boss reveals 'pivotal' moment

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has voiced his strong backing for The Football Association's Respect initiative.

The FA earlier this week launched the new Respect initiative aimed at improving the conduct towards match officials, which is already being trialled in 20 regional leagues around the country.

The announcement was made in the same week that Chelsea's Ashley Cole came under heavy criticism after he caught Tottenham's Alan Hutton with a high tackle and turned his back on referee Mike Riley during Wednesday's 4-4 draw at White Hart Lane.

Furthermore, Ferguson recently slammed Professional Game Match Officials Board manager Keith Hackett for his apparent lack of action in dealing with underperforming officials.

But the Scot has revealed that his side learned from an infamous incident in 2000 when a group of players surrounded referee Andy D'Urso after he awarded Middlesbrough a controversial penalty.


"We had a pivotal moment a few years ago when my players surrounded Andy D'Urso," he said.

"I was off my head with them, I thought it was ridiculous. It never happened again.

"We tell them to shake the hand of the referee after the game, when it is finished.

"It is sometimes difficult but you have to do it, in the same way as when you lose a game and you invite the opposing manager in for a drink after the game.

"I saw the other night one of my players changed his jersey with one of the Bolton players who had committed 10 fouls against him.

"I said that was good because the match was over, all forgotten, we move on with life. I think that's what we have to do.

"We are talking about introducing this into the grass-roots level, respect for the referee. It is absolutely correct.

"The haranguing of referees is ridiculous, we know that."