Doncaster Rovers: Ferguson says he was wrong with ‘shoot them’ comment but has support of fellow managers over ref criticism

Darren Ferguson
Darren Ferguson

Darren Ferguson has revealed he has received messages of support from fellow managers following his comments about the standard of refereeing in the lower leagues.

But the Doncaster Rovers boss has reiterated he was wrong to say the phrase which has overshadowed the points he was making in his post-match press conference following the draw with Plymouth Argyle.

After criticising the standard of referees, Ferguson was asked what should be done and replied, off-the-cuff, with: “Shoot them. That’d be a good idea.”

Apologising again, he also admitted feeling frustrated with himself that his choice of words ensured the ‘shoot them’ comment was focused on more than his real criticism.

“What I said on Sunday in my apology is the top and bottom of it really,” he told The Star.

“In the press conference, obviously I was angry and I’m not apologising for showing my emotion in that way.

“But I clearly said a stupid thing.

“I think everyone who was in the room was aware that it was very much tongue-in-cheek and there was no deliberate intention to any of that.

“I’m not that sort of person.

“It was stupid of me and I should know better. The reaction on social media these days is what it is these days.

“Just by saying that word, it meant it turned into something it didn’t need to and I’m disappointed for that.

“It’s not the sort of publicity I want.

“But everything else I said I do pretty much believe in.

“I said one stupid thing after I was asked what I would do in a throwaway comment.

“You can’t say those sorts of things and I know that.

“I’m disappointed in myself for saying it.

“I’m a human being, I made a mistake on the day.

Standing by his criticism, Ferguson said backing from fellow managers has affirmed he was reflecting a commonly-held view.

He said: “I felt what I was trying to say before and after that was quite valid to be honest.

“I wasn’t really having a go at that particular ref, it was more the system and how it works.

“The amount of managers that have texted and phoned me saying ‘you’re absolutely right’ has validated that.

“I think we just need to leave it. It’s done now.

“I apologised on Sunday and I’m fully aware I made a mistake.”

When asked what can be done to raise standards, Ferguson admitted he was unsure whether there was scope for improvement under the current system for Leagues One and Two.

“I don’t know what can be done.

“I just feel it was for me, the right time to say something, to try to make sense of the whole situation.

“But unfortunately it’s been overtaken by a stupid comment I made.”