Angry King hits out at referees

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Andy King, the Mansfield Town manager, yesterday aimed a bitter attack on English referees after being ordered out of his dug-out for the second time this season.

The former Everton player may face a Football Association disciplinary hearing after Tuesday's incident, which came less than a week after an FA hearing into an earlier incident was postponed because of an injury crisis at the Third Division club.

"It seems the situation at the moment is men in black against 22 players," said King, who was sent to the stands in the closing minutes of Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Gillingham.

King was spoken to by the Staffordshire referee, Alan Wiley, after a confrontation with linesman Peter March, and was then made to walk across the pitch to occupy a seat in the main stand at Priestfield. "My remarks were not aimed at any individual, but the linesman took offence to it and called the referee over, and he asked me to leave," King explained. "However, there's nowhere to go on that side of the ground, so he made me walk across the pitch, which took longer than there was left in the game.

"It was frustration that got the better of me. You are losing 2-0 away from home and trying to get a result. I keep calling for some understanding and some talk to realise the pressures and frustrations managers are under. We should talk like adults, but it seems the situation at the moment is men in black against 22 players."

Earlier this season King was ordered out of the dug-out against Lincoln City after going on to the pitch to organise his nine-man team following two sendings-off. He escaped a touchline ban last season after a similar incident at Wigan.

An exchange deal involving Aberdeen's Peter Hetherston and Jim McInally of Raith Rovers has been scrapped after the Dons player failed a medical yesterday.

Hetherston, a former Raith captain, had been set to return to the club after 18 months at Pittodrie. Aberdeen even paraded McInally, the former Dundee United, Nottingham Forest and Scotland midfielder, at a lunchtime news conference and he had been due to make his Dons debut against Cove Rangers in a friendly last night before the problem arose.

Hibernian have signed the 35-year-old former Chelsea defender, Joe McLaughlin, on a free transfer from Falkirk.