Ferguson plays down referee influence

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Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has denied claims he would use his reputation to convince referees into making decisions.

Ferguson has this week been accused of having an influence over officials after former referee Mark Halsey revealed in his book that he had a fantastic relationship with the Scotsman - particularly during his battle with throat cancer.

However Ferguson, speaking exclusively to MUTV, refuted suggestions he was close friends with Halsey: “I can't believe... obviously there is an Alex Ferguson element in his [Halsey's] book he thought was important.

“Most of the managers, particularly in the North-West, supported [him] -- and a lot of players by the way -- when he had the cancer, him and his wife.

"It was a terrible period for the lad and quite rightly the football fraternity got behind him and supported him.

“We gave him jersey after jersey for the dinners he was having and of course a Manchester United strip figures greatly in these auctions -- a signed strip from all the players."

Ferguson, who is now a director at Manchester United, was often seen staring or pointing at his stopwatch when he wanted the officials to give his side more stoppage time.

However Ferguson believes that the pose did not have a bearing on how much time a referee would add on.

He concluded: “The laughable part for me was how I [supposedly] influenced the refereeing fraternity.

“This is a guy who has the worst record of any manager in the history of English football, fined £100,000 by them, suspended so many times. T

"That's some influence, I must say. It's a little bit Walter Mitty [a reference to the short story about a fantasist]."

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