Warnock facing rap for gesture

NEIL Warnock faces an FA rap after being accused of inciting the Portman Road crowd at the final whistle following Sheffield United's 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town.

NEIL Warnock faces an FA rap after being accused of inciting the Portman Road crowd at the final whistle following Sheffield United's 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.

The Blades boss clashed with Blues defender Richard Naylor after making 1-1 finger gestures to the North Stand, which, he insists, was all in good humour.

But referee Clive Penton has mentioned the incident in his match report and that will now be considered by the football authorities, which could lead to action be taken against the controversial Warnock.

Ironically, the Sussex official was standing in for Steve Bennett, who is alleged to have incurred the wrath of Sir Alex Ferguson and Wayne Rooney in the Manchester derby after stepping in at late notice for an injured Mark Halsey.

Warnock was escorted off the pitch by two stewards and then accused Naylor of inciting the crowd.

Warnock said: “The Ipswich fans chanted 'what's the score?' when they were up during the game so I put a one up with my finger and pointed to my watch indicating there was plenty of time left.

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“We equalised and so at the end of the game I signalled 1-1. They were laughing their heads off behind the goal because they appreciate what is missing in the game, which is humour.

“But then Naylor flipped his lid and came racing from nowhere. If anything, he incited the crowd and that disappointed me.

“Perhaps Richard thought I was doing something else and maybe didn't understand what was going on.

“He never came to the bench when they were calling me a whatever, and apologise for all that language, and I never reported the fans either. We were having a laugh.”

Yorkshireman Naylor intervened, and was backed up by Fabian Wilnis, who also had words with Warnock.

Naylor, Ipswich's longest-serving player, said: “Neil Warnock looked as if he was winding up the crowd and I didn't take too kindly to it.

“I approached him and told him to get off the pitch. I was disappointed at us only getting a point and, perhaps, I let my frustration boil over a little but I genuinely thought that he was doing the wrong thing by going over to the North Stand crowd and doing the 1-1 gesture.

“I didn't touch him and it was a question of handbags at 10 paces, although there was a bit of verbal. You could see the fans thought he was out of order and I certainly did.

“If he wants to go around doing things like that then that is up to him, I suppose, but you don't see the top mangers doing things like that.”

Warnock is confident he will escape censure, admitting he had previously done something similar with Leeds United fans and explained he always enjoyed the banter with Town fans.

“I did it at Leeds and there is no worse place to do it than our rivals. Their fans were phoning radio stations afterwards complimenting me on my humour.”

The rivalry with Sheffield United, known as the 'Norwich of the North' by Town fans, stems back to 1997 and an incident involving Mauricio Taricco and some Blades players, and subsequent games between the sides have usually been lively affairs.

Warnock said: “The fans got behind their team and it is always an intimidating crowd here. They always call me names but we had a super laugh.”

Warnock was clearly relieved at going home with a point, which takes them 12 points clear of third-placed Leeds United.

“You have to give credit to the Ipswich defenders, who got their toes in at important times when we had so much pressure in the first half.

“It was a fantastic goal by Juan and we had to dig in deep for 10 minutes because the goal gave the crowd and the players a lift.

“Then we had to show why we are second and we did as we started to dominate and scored a cracking goal.

“It was a nerve-racking finish and we had a chance to win it with Kabba but, at that stage, it would have been unfair on anyone to lose.

“Ipswich gave their all and when they put the lad Danny Haynes on it made for a much better game, rather than stifling midfield.”

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