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Cats boss feeling aggrieved.


ROY Keane fears the Football Association's Respect campaign for referees is nothing more than a public relations gimmick which is in danger of doing more harm than good, writes LUKE EDWARDS.

Keane was charged with improper conduct by the FA this week after he complained to referee Martin Atkinson at half time during Sunderland's 5-0 defeat by Chelsea last weekend.

The Black Cats boss is furious with the charge as he revealed the referee's assessor had apologised to him on Monday for the decisions which allowed two of Chelsea's first three goals, just 24 hours before he was informed he had been reported to the FA by Atkinson. Keane is adamant he kept his cool when speaking to the official in the tunnel at Stamford Bridge and suggested the Respect campaign had put up a barrier between managers and referees.

"I was happy with my conduct at the time," said Keane, who will be looking for his side to halt a run of two successive away defeats when they entertain Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.

"That's what we're disagreeing on, where the charges come from. I've not even looked at it yet, it's been a busy week. The assessor's report and the referee's report are completely different. The assessor wasn't in the tunnel, so to me that's like a separate thing.

"Whether or not the referee got the decision right or wrong they will feel there's a certain way you've got to behave towards officials. That's completely separate to whatever the assessor might have said.

"That's why you feel you're entitled to question a referee. We meet before the game, say let's work together work as a team, blah blah and then you are not allowed to ask about decisions.

"To rub salt into wounds, the assessor rang on Monday and said there was an offside for the second goal and a clear foul on Pascal (Chimbonda) for the third. I say 'yeah tell me something I don't know,' then I get call to say I have been charged.

I have had a better Monday and Tuesday.

"I'm disappointed. Especially as an hour earlier, referees are talking to me saying let's work together as a team. But then you feel you can't say at half time, 'I wasn't happy with the second and third goal.' That's where I've got big question marks and I did at the time with this Respect campaign, maybe it's just a PR gimmick. It's got to work both ways.

"I've got no problems with referees making mistakes whatsoever, I've made loads and will make many more, but when it's big decisions going against your club . . . I don't remember since I got the job getting one decision and I've gone 'we were lucky with that'." Keane has made a concerted effort not to lose his temper in public as a manager, but he admitted he is becoming increasingly exasperated by the number of important decisions which have not gone Sunderland's way since they returned to the top flight.

He explained: "I don't want to ring (referees' chief) Keith Hackett every week, but when clearly big decisions constantly go against you, you get angry.

"Keith has a hard job, but he rang at the end of last season apologising for decisions going against us.

"Maybe I will get the chance to give my views to the FA. It has been a trademark of mine to let off steam and I will not get away from that, but it's not like I was ranting and raving on the touchline during the game."

However, Keane - who has until November 19 to prepare his defence - does not expect the FA to be lenient with him as he reminisced about the last time he landed himself in trouble following comments he made about the former Leeds and Manchester City midfielder Alfe Inge Haaland in his autobiography.

He said: "The last time I was on an FA charge they had a murder lawyer against me and he was absolutely brilliant. It was for some comments in my book about some Norwegian player at Man City. I bet he was expensive, just to make sure they won the bloody case, not that you get a fair hearing."

Meanwhile, midfielder Graham Kavanagh's loan with Carlisle United has been extended for another month.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 8, 2008
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