Former referee Kevin Lynch once extracted a congratulations from former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson after a verbal collision during a match.
The ex-Premier League official was the man in the middle and the one with the flag at the very highest level of football. On many occasions, he had the nerve-wracking responsibility of watching the line in front of a lurking Ferguson, who was a master at putting pressure on referees.
Whether it was his infamous glances at his watch to instigate 'Fergie time' or his verbal tirades at referees, fourth officials, or lines-people, the Scot was an ominous figure during his time at United. However, the legendary United manager once met his match in an equally confident and verbal Lynch.
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"I used to get on well with Sir Alex Ferguson,” Lynch said to the Under The Cosh podcast. "First time I met him I was on the touchline running the line.
"He could be quite vociferous from the box and he came out rasping at me over something, an offside I'd have given or not given. He gave me a mouthful, so I gave him a mouthful back.
"And he came up to me at the end of the game and he said 'I've got to tell you son, that's the way to handle me when I get stroppy'. I said 'oh that’s okay, no problem'. So we always got on well."
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Ferguson's mind-games with referees and opposing managers helped him win 13 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues, five FA Cups, and four League Cups at Old Trafford. He infamously piled on the pressure on Kevin Keegan and Newcastle United when he suggested referees were favouring the Magpies.
But while he was never afraid to try and influence a decision and gain an advantage from the referees, Lynch revealed Ferguson never attached too much importance to referees. "He said to me, 'Kev, no matter what technology you bring in and how you mark the referees, let me tell you this, at the end of the season, the best team will be at the bottom of the league and the worst team will be at the bottom'," Lynch added.
“He would say 'over the season, all those decisions, really even themselves out because that's the top and that's the bottom'." Well, if they are Ferguson’s true feelings, he certainly fooled us all.
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