Ferdinand's fury at Taylor in tunnel spat over Ronaldo challenge

05 March 2009 10:24
Steven Taylor confronted Cristiano Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand in the half-time tunnel bust-up that marred Newcastle's

defeat by Manchester United

on Wednesday.

Newcastle's suffering fans will hope the players will summon similar energy to fight their way out of relegation trouble. After one win in their last 10 Barclays Premier League games, all at St James' Park know that this is now a time for action, not simply gestures of defiance.

Taylor faced the wrath of Ronaldo after catching him with a flailing arm in first-half injury time of Manchester United's 2-1 victory on Wednesday night, leaving the Portugal star writhing on the touchline clutching his face.



Full-blooded: Ryan Taylor and Michael Carrick go in for a challenge as Steven Taylor lends a helping hand. Ronaldo goes down and stays down (below)

Referee Steve Bennett did not see the incident clearly and booked Taylor for clattering Michael Carrick as he followed through.

The FA said yesterday that had Bennett seen both incidents he would have awarded Taylor two yellow cards and a red. But, in a move sure to enrage Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, the FA added that no further action will be taken against Taylor and they consider the tunnel spat not worthy of investigation.

 Fighting talk: Ronaldo fury at Taylor sparks tunnel bust-up as United tighten grip on the title

Newcastle 1 Manchester Utd 2: Fizzy Fergie is seven up as Toon Taylors pay for lack of discipline

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Ronaldo was outraged by Taylor's aggression but Sportsmail understands it was Ferdinand, United's captain, who went after Taylor in the tunnel.

In a purely verbal confrontation, Taylor was accused of 'playing to the gallery' by Ferdinand. Other players separated the pair according to witnesses before Bennett intervened.

Taylor also traded insults with Wayne Rooney, responding to a volley of abuse from United's England striker by sneering: 'Yeah, and you'll still be ugly, no matter what you say.' Taylor, as Newcastle coach Chris Hughton said, can be 'headstrong'.

Speaking before the game, Taylor said: 'We are in a serious relegation fight and it has to bring out the men in our dressing room.'







In defeat, Newcastle took encouragement from how they performed but there is a difference between playing Manchester United at home in a game of competitive but on-the-deck football, and facing Hull and Stoke away, where the ball will be in the air and the opposition in their face.

In between those trips are home games against Arsenal and Chelsea for the troubled Geordies. Their demanding fixture list is one reason why they are now many people's second or third favourites to be relegated.

Newcastle are one point and two places above the relegation zone but the two clubs immediately below, Portsmouth and Blackburn, have a game in hand.

'The players are starting to worry about relegation,' said Taylor's fellow defender Sebastien Bassong. 'It's going to be a hard end to the season, but if we play like we did against Manchester United in our remaining games we will be safe. However, if we don't deserve to stay up, if we don't play well, we will go down. That is simple.'

It is a stark message. Newcastle may have played with spirit and cohesion against the champions, but that was in contrast with the patchy display at Bolton three days earlier. Which Newcastle turns up at Hull on Saturday week will be crucial.

Michael Owen, who will return from injury then, has labelled the Hull game 'our Cup final'. Newcastle have lost twice to Hull already this season.

They have won six games all season, the same number as West Bromwich, and logic says that it will be hard for the Geordies to suddenly win four, for example, of their last 10.





No backing down: Ferdinand has plenty to say but Taylor stands his ground

They have been derailed by managerial change, ownership problems, fan rebellion and a spate of injuries. How owner Mike Ashley would respond to relegation is uncertain but his asset would be hugely devalued. Prospective buyers are unlikely to offer any sum close to his original outlay of £134million for a Championship club.

Supporters, already either angry or apathetic, would be expected to drop off in large numbers thereby further hitting revenue reduced by the loss of television money.

Whether Newcastle stay up or not, there is also the question of Joe Kinnear's continued presence at the club. Recovering from a heart bypass operation, Kinnear is expected to return to St James' before the end of the season according to club directors, but doctors could urge him not to go back into such a stressful environment.

And there is tension, as Andy Carroll's latest training ground fracas with Shola Ameobi proves. Previously, Carroll had been involved in a scrap with the now departed Charles N'Zogbia.

But Owen is returning, Obafemi Martins has just had his best game of the season at St James' Park and Newcastle are yet to host three teams they should be capable of beating - Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Fulham.

Other reasons for optimism among fretting Geordies are Alan Smith's return after nine months - Smith gave arguably his best effort in black and white on Wednesday - and the availability of Nicky Butt and Damien Duff for Hull.

Kevin Nolan serves the last of his three-match ban against Hull, and in sight of playing again are Habib Beye, Joey Barton and Danny Guthrie.

 Fighting talk: Ronaldo fury at Taylor sparks tunnel bust-up as United tighten grip on the title

Newcastle 1 Manchester Utd 2: Fizzy Fergie is seven up as Toon Taylors pay for lack of discipline

PICTURE SPECIAL: Vidic gets the elbow! United star in the wars again after clash with Newcastle's Martins

PICTURE GALLERY SPECIAL: After Vidic's bloody bravery for United, our tribute to Butcher, Ince, Shearer and more.

NEWCASTLE UNITED FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET

MANCHESTER UNITED FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET



 

Source: Daily_Mail