Premier League

Ferguson denies influencing refs

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson attends the Crystal Palace game.
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FOND FAREWELL

See the best images from Sir Alex Ferguson's final match at Old Trafford.

Sir Alex Ferguson says it is "laughable" to suggest he influenced refs and is delighted to see Wayne Rooney find form for Manchester United.

Comments from former official Mark Halsey this week, in which he referred to having a "good relationship" with the Scot, led to claims Ferguson may have had undue influence during his long stay in charge of United.

Ferguson denied any wrongdoing, though, and said the extent of his relationship with Halsey had been to support him during his battle with cancer.

"I can't believe...obviously there is an Alex Ferguson element in his book, he thought was important," the former United manager told MUTV.

"Most of the managers, particularly in the north west, supported him, and lots 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 jerseys 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 was no stranger to fallings out with officials during his time in the dugout, and added: "The laughable part for me was how I 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, that's some influence, I must say. It's a little bit Walter Mitty."

Since retiring Ferguson has had hip surgery but has been back at Old Trafford recently to watch how his chosen successor, David Moyes, has been faring.

Ferguson was present to witness Rooney's two goals in United's 4-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

"On Tuesday night they were terrific," added Ferguson. "Wayne's performance was fantastic, I was pleased to see that. He's got his energy back, the determination, his purpose to attack players, was all very encouraging to me.

"Being a director I'm delighted to see that, he's back to what we always remember."

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