Mark Clattenburg hasn’t come across terribly well this week, between his justification of sending Darren Fletcher off to failing to understand the offside rule.
Today, Darren Fletcher has revealed that Clattenburg, the referee who once sent someone off because Steven Gerrard told him to, told our midfielder it was ‘a man’s game’ when he complained about being fouled. So why did Fletch get booked for an innocuous and unintentional challenge?
“Saturday was disappointing because I was constantly being fouled and when I said something the ref said to me ‘it’s a man’s game’,” said Fletcher. “So I went in hard and he books me. Then he booked me again for nothing really.”
Graham Poll said this week that if Fletcher had been nicer to the referee, buttered him up like Tim Cahill does, then he wouldn’t have received the second yellow.
Fletch wonders whether Arsene Wenger’s comments on the back of our 2-1 win over Arsenal may have influenced the referee. Whilst the Arsenal boss didn’t mention Darren by name, he accused our players of employing “anti-football” tactics.
“You have to trust the referees that they are not going to take notice of what people say or write,” Fletch continued. “They have to judge each game and referee it fairly and that is all I can ask. I am not a dirty player by any stretch of the imagination. I go in for the ball and sometimes I might mistime it and make a foul. But I am not a dirty player. I don’t know whether all this goes back to the Wenger comments. He said what he said and all I can hope for is that referees are going to be fair and they usually are to be honest.”
He will now miss this weekend’s home game against Burnley and whilst happy that United will have the players to replace him, does worry about his future place in the team.
“You don’t want to miss games for any reason and to miss one for suspension disrupts things for me,” he added. “We have enough midfielders so I am sure someone will come in and do a good job. But someone coming in and doing well could mean I can’t get back into the side and that is the risk. But I cannot afford to think of that when I play. I play every game for the moment and I don’t look too far forward.”