19 July 2007 :: by
Leeds United manager Dennis Wise has been fined £1,500 and had his wrists slapped by the FA after being found guilty of a breach of FA rule E3 - abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards a match official. In this case one Nigel Miller of Co Durham. Well there's a surprise, a manager fined by the FA but no mention of the 'abused' match official whose delicate feelings were undoubtedly crushed by the terse industrial language employed by the rough football manager.
Dennis Wise was sent to the stands at the end of the game against with Southend United at Roots Hall on 17 March 2007 after Leeds United were denied a win by the referee in added time. It would have meant two extra points for Leeds if the referee hadn't made a blatant 'home 'decision.
The severe financial consequences to Leeds United of his incorrect decision are now clear for all to see but as usual the ossified FA wheel themselves into the Committee rooms in their bath chairs to oversee the ritual slaughter of a helpless manager; banging their glasses of port on the table with approval and 'hrrrumpph'-ing at the fact that it wasn't like this in the good old days of the Raj. They then proceed to pass around the Havanas, protect the wrongdoer and fine the manager for doing exactly what every Leeds supporter (and neutral) was doing in the ground.
(Interestingly, despite this high profile spat with Wise, just weeks later, Miller was awarded the infamous Elland Road 'invasion' game against Ipswich - where he had no problem allowing Ipswich's 88th minute goal to stand and send Leeds down. Can you imagine for one second that a referee that sent Sir Alex Ferguson to the stands in March would be awarded the final game of the season at Old Trafford where the title hung in the balance - really?)
Wise can be one of the most head-strong and obnoxious people on the planet. However, the decision to fine Wise is as inexplicable as Miller's original decision and the usual FA ostrich-impression doesn't hide the truth from the rest of the world. The FA should be warned - the Premier League tried the ostrich-head-in-the-sand approach to the Tevez affair and have found that far from going away Sheffield United are about to shove a £50 million lawsuit up their backside. Football is presently in disarray not because Dennis Wise (or Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger) lose their temper but because time and again football authorities use their swingeing powers not to meet out justice and punish wrong-doers but to silence dissent and cover up blatant injustices in a style that would have made Stalin proud. (Perhaps they can turn Wembley into a Gulag for mouthy managers when the great white elephant cannot be used - approx 330 days a year).
If the FA carry on they will kill the goose laying their golden egg - after all, who is going to waste money paying to watch Sky TV when the result is changed by an incompetent official and then instead of apologising the FA start fining all and sundry so that they can pretend it didn't happen. It's time the FA fined referees for incompetent behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace and stop fining managers for merely saying out loud what the rest of the world is thinking.
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