Sir Alex’s Ferguson’s recent comments calling Newcastle United a “wee-club in the North-East” have understandably left fans of The Magpies fuming. The comments came after Newcastle manager Alan Pardew claimed that Ferguson should have been ejected from Wednesday’s game involving the two clubs at Old Trafford, a 4-3 win for Manchester United.
Ferguson was furious when referee Mike Dean overruled his assistant allowing Johnny Evan’s own goal to stand in the 29th minute, giving Newcastle a 2-1 lead. Since then, many people including Arsenal manager Arsene Wanger have called the FA’s decision not to discipline Ferguson unfair.
Pardew was suspended earlier this season and fined after making contact with a referee in an August 18th match against Tottenham. Ferguson was likely referring to this incident when he added, “He (Pardew) is the worst at haranguing referees. He shoves them and makes a joke of it. How he can criticise me is unbelievable.”
What Ferguson is overlooking is that Pardew eventually admitted fault by deciding not to challenge the FA’s decision. Ferguson’s comments only serve to reinforce the claim that he is too arrogrant. It also reinforces the belief that many fans have that Manchester United and other big clubs receive special treatment from the FA.
The fact is that Ferguson’s comments are dead wrong, not to mention very offensive. What is more problematic is the context of his comments; “I was demonstrative but I was not out of order. The press have had a field day. The only person they have not spoken to is Barack Obama because he is busy. It is unfortunate but I am the manager of the most famous club in the world. Not Newcastle, a wee club in the north-east,” Ferguson said.
His insistence on reminding everyone of Manchester United’s place in international football hardly helps his case. Also, by adding “in the North-East,” some could interpret this as a jab at a region that has long been considered the most impoverished in England. Personally, I would expect more from a Scottish-born son of a plater’s helper in the shipbuilding industry who is well-known to have old Labour sympathies.
The fact is that Newcastle United is hardly the “wee-club” that Ferguson claims. They have the third highest attendance average attendance in the league last season, behind only Arsenal and Manchester United. Local boy Alan Shearer is the highest goal scorer in Premier League history, amassing 148 of his 260 goals with The Magpies. Not to mention four league championships and six FA cups.
What do you think?