Neil Warnock: Referee was right to point me to the stand, but FA should clear me of any charge

The fracas at Reading needed defusing but it only flared because a rival coach lashed out in misunderstanding
Click to follow
The Independent Football

I can understand why Mark Halsey sent me to the stand at Reading on Saturday afternoon, he had to do it to calm the situation down, but I'm confident the Football Association will realise I was not guilty of anything if it investigates.

I had sent Keith Gillespie on in an attempt to get back into the game. We had a throw-in and as he got in a position to receive it he tussled with Steve Hunt. He was held back twice and as he waved his arm in an attempt to free himself he caught Hunt. Anyone who knows anything about football will appreciate he did not mean to hurt him but it's still a sending-off. Keith made it worse by then having another pop at Hunt.

But what annoyed me was the late tackle by Steve Sidwell on Chris Armstrong. That could have resulted in a serious injury and it upset me as the lad has already been out two years with another horrific injury.

That's what I was indicating when I raised my foot on the touchline. I shouted to the referee: "You've sent him off, Mark, but Sidwell's made the worst foul of the game by lifting his studs and he's still on the pitch. Watch it on Match of the Day tonight."

I turned away with my bottle of water. The next thing I know I'm being pushed by Wally Downes. He has obviously interpreted it wrong. He's put two and two together and got five. There's a bit of history between us and he's ranting about stuff that's in the past when he gives me a shove. I don't retaliate but everyone piles in, as they do in these situations.

Over comes the referee. He sends Wally off and quite rightly so. If Wally hadn't acted like he did, none of this would have happened, but he seems to be around whenever I have trouble. Then the referee sends me off "for adopting an aggressive stance".

I can't say much more than that as the FA may charge me with misconduct - it usually does as a matter of course in these circumstances - but I'm confident that I'll be exonerated.