Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged with improper conduct by the FA today for his criticism of the referee Martin Atkinson following Tuesday’s disappointing defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Ferguson was fuming after Martin Atkinson failed to dismiss David Luiz at 1-1 who had fouled Wayne Rooney off the ball having already been booked. The referee then awarded Chelsea a soft penalty when Yuri Zhirkov went down in the area after a challenge from Chris Smalling.
To add insult to injury Martin Atkinson then went on to send Nemanja Vidic off in injury time for a second yellow card, something that David Luiz had deserved earlier on in the match. He shall now miss Sunday’s showdown versus Liverpool, with Wes Brown being tipped by Ferguson to take his place at the centre of the defence.
Shortly after the game, the Manchester United manager had a post-match interview on United’s in-house TV channel MUTV where the offending comments were broadcasted.
“It was a major game for both clubs and you want a fair referee. You want a strong referee anyway and we didn’t get that.”
“I don’t know why he’s got the game. I must tell you, I must say that when I saw who was refereeing, I feared the worst.”
After looking at Martin Atkinson’s track record of both Manchester United and Chelsea matches at Stamford Bridge, it is clear to see why Sir Alex Ferguson did fear the worst. In the same fixture back in 2009, Martin Atkinson was also named as the referee and it is fair to say that he had a shocker.
On that day he denied Wayne Rooney a clear goal scoring opportunity by calling him offside when it was quite apparent that he was onside and he also denied Manchester United a blatant penalty. Interestingly Martin Atkinson is yet to award a penalty to United however on Tuesday he awarded Chelsea a penalty for the 5th time in his career.
In addition to this Martin Atkinson has amazingly refereed 16 Chelsea games from which Chelsea has won a staggering 15 matches and only conceding 2 goals, one of which came on Tuesday. With a 94% win percentage with Martin Atkinson as the referee it is hard not to question weather or not he is a closet Chelsea fan.
Sir Alex Ferguson has until 4pm on the 8th March to answer to the improper conduct charge and if found guilty he will be facing a probable four match touchline ban.
Follow Vikesh @vikesh_c and Redflagflyinghigh @RFFH on twitter.