It is impossible not to respect the accomplishments of Sir Alex Ferguson, peerless today in the English game in terms of accomplishment.
But sometimes it gets so doggone hard to like the guy. When Manchester United loses, there is almost always an asterisk in his mind.
To wit, this from the theater of the surreal: Alex Ferguson, manager of mighty Manchester United and all that it implies, is complaining that his team did not receive enough injury time.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The specific point of contention was an allegedly measly four added minutes Saturday as Manchester United fell to Tottenham, 3-2, in a compelling affair at Old Trafford. Spurs took leads of 2-0 and 3-1 (the latter margin on a goal from U.S. international Clint Dempsey).
It all produced a harried and hurried ending, with Ferguson’s Manchester United pressing Brad Friedel’s goal for the equalizer but ultimately running out of time. Which takes us to this bit of bizarre, what Ferguson told BBC Sport:
They gave us four minutes [injury time], that’s an insult to the game. It denies you a proper chance to win a football match. … There were six substitutions, the trainer came on, so that’s four minutes right away and the goalkeeper must have wasted about two or three minutes and they took their time at every goal kick.
That’s obvious to everyone today and it’s a flaw in the game that the referee is responsible for time keeping. It’s ridiculous that it’s 2012 and the referee still has control of that.”
In fairness to Ferguson, he copped to his club’s culpability in losing for a second time in six Premiership matches, lamenting a first half that was plodding and pretty much poor across the board.
Still, it falls under “laughable” that Ferguson and Manchester United would complain about getting the short end of the officiating stick. Most would argue that more decisions fall the Old Trafford way than not.
Data once revealed that Manchester United, when behind, benefitted more than most from extra portions of injury time. Which was, of course, the genesis of this bit of photo-shop greatness from a while back: