Boro rage against FA's 'silly little men'

There was a mixture of anger and anticipation at Middlesbrough yesterday: tonight's FA Cup fifth round replay against Sheffield United may be stimulating excitement among Gareth Southgate's squad but the Football Association's decision yesterday to reject Boro's appeal against Jérémie Aliadière's red card at Anfield on Saturday sent Boro's hierarchy apoplectic.

The FA not only dismissed Aliadière's case as "frivolous", they upped the punishment from a three to a four-game ban and Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson reacted by calling the FA panel "amateurs" and "silly little men".

"It's a ridiculous decision to call it frivolous and I'm absolutely furious," Gibson said. "Most observers of our game thought it was very harsh when Jérémie was sent off and I certainly can't see how one player was more guilty than the other. To be sent off for serious violent play suggests the prospect of someone being seriously hurt and that clearly wasn't the case.

"On that basis we appealed. We thought a more experienced ref would have only given both players a talking to. To punish the club further simply because the disciplinary panel says our appeal was frivolous is absolutely subjective. We have amateurs in charge of the professional game.

"This damages the player's season and it weakens our squad at a crucial time. When you look at some of the bad tackles that have been punished far less it's completely ludicrous. This is a professional game and we need professional people making professional decisions not these silly little men."

Boro's chief executive Keith Lamb described the panel as "nameless and faceless", and their findings as "distasteful".

This will hurt the FA, while Aliadière's suspension this evening means that Southgate will probably plump for new £12.5m signing Afonso Alves to partner Tuncay Sanli. It would be Alves's first start and it would leave Mido on the bench, but Southgate has a serious relegation battle at home to Reading on Saturday to consider also. Mido would be fresh for it.

Retaining Premier League status is obviously Middlesbrough's priority, but given that tonight's winners have a home tie against Cardiff City in the next round, Boro's players are beginning to see a path to a Wembley semi-final.

Watching recent colleague Jonathan Woodgate score Tottenham's winner in Sunday's Carling Cup final against Chelsea has motivated Boro further.

"I was shocked when Woody scored," said Stewart Downing, whose sister Natalie is Woodgate's girlfriend. "I wondered if he would, then he popped up in the box – it hit him in the face but they all count. I am pleased for him. You watch the celebrations after the game and you hope that will be us one day.

"I am desperate to get to Wembley. The new Wembley is massive. The changing rooms, everything. When it is full it is rocking. It still feels like the old Wembley."

Downing has put pen to paper on his new contract after some acrimony between his agent and Gibson. He is now focusing on realising the ambition he said Boro displayed in signing Alves and wants Boro to be "top seven" as soon as possible.

In the Cup, Boro will have to play better than they did at Bramall Lane in the goalless draw there 10 days ago. That was Kevin Blackwell's first game since Bryan Robson's departure. It was the fifth of six consecutive draws for the Blades, who have lost only once in 11 matches.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn