Home » Graham Bean reveals details of Sir Alex Ferguson’s rocky relationship with the FA

Graham Bean reveals details of Sir Alex Ferguson’s rocky relationship with the FA

Bean served as the legendary manager's disciplinary adviser

by Derick Kinoti


Sir Alex Ferguson‘s former disciplinary adviser Graham Bean has revealed in his book “Bean There… Done That” that he believed that Manchester United and Ferguson were targeted by the FA.

The former South Yorkshire police detective initially worked for the FA as a first compliance officer but switched sides to represent United’s legendary boss.

He defended Ferguson on multiple occasions as well as some of his players, including  Gary Neville and David Beckham.

He enjoyed a measure of success in his role as their defender, always wary of the football authority’s yearning to pin something on the United contingent and Ferguson in particular.

Bean writes in his book via the Manchester Evening News, “There’s no doubt in my mind the FA were keen to get his [Ferguson’s] scalp, any chance they had. My view was that the FA were doing their utmost to get him. I think he felt that as well.”

“He was the most dominant figure in the game and the game revolved around him, anything he said which was anti-FA or anti-referees made headline news.”

Bean, a Liverpool season ticket holder, outlined that they had a special strategy to outdo the FA that was centered on frustrating them.

This involved putting measures in place to muddy the waters and make things complicated by constantly complaining about harassment.

Such actions would leave the English football authority in a thorny position, which Bean could then exploit.

Reflecting on one such incident, the 61-year-old fondly remembers when Ferguson and his assistant Carlos Queiroz found themselves on the short end of the FA’s patience after an FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Portsmouth in 2007/08.

The pair had furiously turned on the referee, Martin Atkinson, and his assistant after Cristiano Ronaldo was denied, what in Fergie’s view, was a stonewall penalty earlier in the game.

“The FA were sure they were going to nail both of them and I got them cleared of it, it was like an atomic bomb going off inside the FA, to the point they even took legal advice as to whether they could pursue an appeal.”

“The verdict was so damning against the FA that their lawyers even advised them not to appeal.”

Bean recalls when he represented Neville in one of the biggest disciplinary cases of the season in 2006. The English defender was found guilty of kissing the United badge in front of the Liverpool away fans – a misdemeanor that cost him a £5,000 fine.

He and his client appealed the decision to the FA, who took longer than required to issue a response.

Bean turned his attention to an independent panel, encouraging them to shun the FA. However, the panel backed the FA citing an administrative error on their part.

Despite a mountain of evidence including footage of other players celebrating by kissing the badge and agreeing with Neville that he celebrated in front of the home support, he still lost the appeal – something which Bean says felt like a ‘stitch-up’ from the FA on the back of the respect campaign.

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