Sam Allardyce's comments about referee Phil Dowd have caused the FA to fine him £8,000. The comments were about Jordan Spence receiving a handball penalty in an FA Cup replay against Manchester United. The penalty led to Wayne Rooney receiving a free kick, and although he missed the kick, the West Ham manager was upset that his team did not receive a similar call. Earlier in the match, Manchester United got away with handballs inside the box twice. This led to some questioning the integrity of the officiating.
"You see it time and time again", said Allardyce, "There's no doubt about the difference between Rafael's handball and Jordan Spence's. Spence plays for West Ham and the way team, while Rafael plays for the home side at Old Trafford." While he says his comments did not question the officials, the FA decided to fine him anyway and warn him about his behavior in future interviews.
It has been said before that a big crowd during big games can have some influence over certain decisions made during the match. But one needs to ask themselves, if Phil Dowd had called those penalties, would the game have ended that differently. True, West Ham might have been able to score and win the game. But they could have also not scored and maybe concede more goals. Truth is we'll never really know. We can say, though, that Sam Allardyce made a gutsy move by openly criticizing the officials, which ultimately resulted in him getting fined. Although the fine may be small compared to others the FA has made, it did send the message the such statements will not be tolerated.
It did little to change Allardyce's opinion, however. "I was fined for speaking the truth", was his response. He did say, however, that he would like to move on and focus on the rest of the season. West Ham needs to prepare for a big game against Aston Villa, that if they win, they could return to the top half of the EPL table.
His job, in fact, is still not guaranteed for next season. Owners David Gold and David Sullivan won't start contract negotiations until the Hammers are safe. And if they fail to win this weekend, it will leave the owners and the fans really questioning his ability as manager.