Football round-up: Ferguson says sorry to 'unfit' ref

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Sir Alex Ferguson attempted to mollify aggrieved referees and the Football Association when he apologised for his comments about referee Alan Wiley's fitness after Manchester United's 2-2 draw with Sunderland.

Insisting he did not criticise Wiley's performance, the United manager said, "My only intention was to highlight what I believe to be a serious and important issue in the game, namely that the fitness levels of referees must match the ever increasing demands of the modern game, which I hope will now be properly addressed through the appropriate formal channels." The FA, who asked the manager for further comment on his outburst, could fine or ban him from the touchline.

David Gold, the Birmingham City chairman since 1997, is to leave the club because new owner Carson Yeung wants to bring in his own man, Vico Hui. Gold has declined the chance to stay on as vice-president. Fellow former co-owner David Sullivan and managing director Karren Brady had already left St Andrew's.

In yesterday's action on the pitch, Colchester United moved up to third in League One after Kayode Odejayi's first-half goal earned a 1-0 win at Leyton Orient. But Swindon Town dropped out of the top six when they were held 1-1 at home in a lively match against Millwall, with both sides reduced to 10 men. The Robins' Jonathan Douglas was sent off in the 27th minute; Lion Andy Frampton saw red just after the hour.

At the bottom, Wycombe adjusted to life after Peter Taylor, who left as manager on Friday, with a 3-2 defeat at Gillingham. All three goals in Jordan Rhodes' hat-trick for Huddersfield Town in the 4-0 defeat of Exeter City were headers and came in an eight-minute burst. Former Yeovil manager Russell Slade took his Brighton side to Huish Park, saw them build a 2-0, but Scott Murray scored twice as the Glovers drew 2-2.

League Two leaders Bournemouth lost at home for the first time this season when Drew Talbot scored twice to earn Chesterfield a 2-1 win. The Cherries stayed top because Rotherham United were held 1-1 at home by Hereford United. Two new managers fared well. Rene Howe's second-half penalty earned Chris Sutton's Lincoln City a 1-0 win Macclesfield and Ian Sampson's Northampton Town came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Bury.

Aldershot's 4-0 win over Morecambe saw them move up from eighth to fifth; Rochdale move above Barnet to fourth after beating the Bees 2-1. Robert Grant scored twice as Accrington Stanley beat Cheltenham 4-0, all the goals coming in an 18 minute spell. Burton Albion won 2-1 at Grimsby.

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