The Football Association is reviewing the comments Joe Kinnear made after Newcastle United's 2-1 Premier League defeat against Fulham on Sunday. Kinnear branded official Martin Atkinson a "Mickey Mouse referee" for failing to spot a foul by Fulham's Andy Johnson on Claudio Cacapa in the build-up to the decisive penalty.
The interim Newcastle manager may be asked to explain his outburst, with a decision on whether the FA intend to pursue the matter likely today. Kinnear accused Atkinson of costing his side at least a point, as part of a wider rant about declining standards of refereeing.
"There was a blatant foul prior to the penalty, which the referee ignored," he said. "We were camped in their half. Cacapa was on the ball – and Johnson completely pushes him out the way, nicks the ball and gets the penalty. We've got the Mickey Mouse referee doing nothing. He's made an error that cost us. That's the standard of refereeing in this country. It happens week in, week out. There's always a smart answer like 'someone was obstructing my view'. You used to be able to have a bit of banter with referees, and they'd put their hands up if they make mistakes. Now they hide."
It is not Kinnear's first spat with an official – he was given a two-match touchline ban in 2004 for calling referee Clive Penton "Coco the Clown" while at Nottingham Forest. There could be a similar conclusion to this latest incident. Kinnear was incensed by the defeat, after claiming his side could have won given their dominance until Danny Murphy snatched all three points from the spot. Shola Ameobi equalised in the second half, but Fulham restored their lead against the run of play to plunge Newcastle back into the relegation zone.
Wigan are next up for the Magpies, and Ameobi has challenged his side to produce an immediate return to winning ways. "We were looking to get the winner, and another mistake has cost us dearly," he said. "We had them rattled when we equalised, so it's another case of shooting ourselves in the foot. In the second half their goalkeeper made a fantastic save to deny Joey Barton. But you can't make mistakes like that and expect to win games, especially away from home.
"We came here on the back of two great wins, and it pauses our momentum a bit – so we have to make sure that come Saturday we make sure we get the three points. This league is a strange one. If you have a couple of wins you are right up there. We don't want to be in that bottom section – so if we keep creating chances we will have a great chance of getting up that table."
*Lincoln manager Peter Jackson has confirmed that referee Simon Hooper has included an incident of alleged racial abuse towards his players and assistant Iffy Onuora during their FA Cup first-round clash at Kettering in his report to the FA. Jackson branded the behaviour of the Kettering fans "totally unacceptable". "How could a fellow stood 10 yards behind me call my players monkeys and make monkey gestures?" Jackson said. "I made my thoughts clear to the referee after the game and he confirmed that he would be including it in his report to the FA."