Alex Ferguson stunned by touchline ban

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The Independent Football

Sir Alex Ferguson insists his observations about referee Martin Atkinson were correct.

The Manchester United manager is yet to decide whether to appeal against the five-match touchline ban and £30,000 fine handed down by the FA yesterday.

He will have 48 hours once the written reasons for the decision are received at Old Trafford today so, unless he opts not to contest the outcome and requests that he starts the suspension immediately, will be free to take his customary place in the Old Trafford dug-out for Saturday's Premier League encounter with Bolton.

But such a decision will not erase a feeling that Ferguson was correct to stand up for his team in the wake of Martin Atkinson's performance during the 2-1 defeat at Chelsea earlier this month.

"It is disappointing," said Ferguson. "It is the only industry you can't tell the truth in.

"I have not made up my mind about whether to appeal but I don't want to say anything.

"It is in the past and it is not worth it."

The feeling persists that Ferguson might not even have been charged had Wayne Rooney been punished for elbowing Wigan's James McCarthy at the DW Stadium three days earlier.

However, such is the ill-feeling towards the outspoken United manager in some sections of the football community that the stringent punishment has generally been welcomed, with many feeling Ferguson has been able to escape sanctions for too long.

It is not a view shared inside Old Trafford obviously, although given the trouble he has found himself in, possibly explains Ferguson's reluctance to attend post-match press conferences, when emotions are running high.

At least the United manager can be reasonably certain today's observations will not land him in any further trouble despite Ferguson's clear dislike for the way he has been treated.

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