Doncaster Rovers: What Darren Ferguson actually said in THAT ref rant

It is fair to say Darren Ferguson made headlines with his comments about the standard of refereeing in the Football League following last weekend's draw with Plymouth Argyle.

Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 10:42 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 1:35 pm
Darren Ferguson confronts referee Andy Haines after the game on Saturday

Of course this was mainly due to a certain tongue-in-cheek suggestion as to what solution the FA could do about the issue.

But his highlighting of problems with match officials in the lower leagues also sparked plenty of debate.

Here we bring you the transcript of Ferguson’s controversial interview.

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Mike Minay (BBC Sheffield): “Darren, one place to start and that’s the last incident of the game, the penalty. Your thoughts?”

Darren Ferguson: “It’s the most blatant penalty you will ever see.

“It’s not even, there’s nothing to think about.

“He’s caught him.

“The two incidents. The goal, he’s just pulled Andy Butler to the floor.

“The linesman can see it and the linesman can see the penalty. He’s clearly looking right at it.

“We’re just getting poor officials.

“Their job is hard enough as it is but just do your job, give the penalty.

“It’s the clearest penalty you will see all season and their goal is a foul, and the linesman is laughing at the end about it.

“I think it’s disgusting.”

MM: “I saw you confront the officials about it...”

DF: “Because I was angry. It’s disgusting.

“It’s absolutely disgusting the standard of refereeing there and of all officials.

“To not see that is a disgrace.”

MM: “Will there be a complaint going in from you?”

DF: “It doesn’t matter.

“We’ll get a letter some time next week. We’ll get an apology.

“We got a letter after the Oxford game. ‘We apologise that we played an extra minute of injury time and we apologise we gave a penalty that was outside the box.’

“But the referee that refereed that game is refereeing again at the weekend.

“We’ll get another apology because when they look at it again they will say it was a blatant penalty and a blatant foul.

“But the referee will referee again at the weekend.

“They’re part time, their standards are appalling, their fitness levels are a disgrace.

“I’ve had enough of it. It’s disgusting, the referees, the standard at this level.”

MM: “So what would you do?”

DF: “What can I do?”

MM: “What would you like to see the FA do...”

DF: Shoot them. That’d be a good idea.

“They’re not good enough, they’re not fit enough. They can’t keep up with play.

“We’re talking about a lot of money in this industry.

“I’ve had enough. Clearly I’ve had enough.

“I can put up with it, I have to shut my mouth and make sure I’m respectful but when they’re laughing at the end of the game, saying ‘it’s my opinion and that’s what counts’ then, come on, I think I’ve seen enough now.”

Peter Catt (former Free Press sports editor): “You’ve said one or two things about the officials, does it bother you there might be repercussions from that?”

DF: “My opinion is very true, very honest. It’s correct.

“This job is hard enough as a manager of a football club as it is.

“If it was a one-off then fine. But when it’s so clear and you’ve got people looking at it and laughing about it, I’m obviously going to get frustrated and angry.

“What’s the repercussions going to be? They’re going to fine me? What, for telling the truth?

“Maybe they look at the way the system works, rather than fining managers why don’t they do something about what happens out there in terms of referees?

“At the moment, I don’t see that happening.

“A letter of apology is no good to me. It’s not good to anyone.

PC: “Did you speak to them at all after you came off the pitch?”

DF: “You’ve got to wait 30 minutes. Apparently that calms you down.

“I’m not sure if today it will.

“But I’m not going in.”

Paul Goodwin (Doncaster Free Press): “What do you think the solution is to try to drive up standards?”

DF: “They need to be fitter. And I’m not being disrespectful there. We talk about the way the game is now, with athletes and people, and the referees need to get up to speed.

“They are part time and I don’t know what they do.

“But there needs to be. And that’s the thing for me and you may get in trouble for that.

“Today was so blatant. The linesman is staring right at it, same as you staring right at it. You’ve got to give the correct decision.”

PC: “When the penalty came, the ref’s on one side and the linesman is on the other. It wasn’t a case of fitness there, they just didn’t give the decision did they?”

DF: “The referee has got people in front of him so maybe you can excuse him but I didn’t think he was far enough up the pitch. He’s a good 25 yards away from it.

“But the linesman is staring right at it.

“Whether he’s bottled it or not, I don’t know but the job is to make decisions. That’s what they’re doing.

“Like everyone else we’ve got to make decisions and be accountable for what we do, whether it’s good or bad.

“A letter of apology is no good to me.”