The Football Association is to investigate a claim from Sunderland that Manchester United were allowed to field an extra player during their Premier League fixture at Old Trafford yesterday.
The game ended 2-2, which was unfair on the Wearsiders, as they had dominated throughout, and thoroughly deserved all three points. Leading 2-1, and in the fourth minute of injury time, however, United's extra player, Anton Ferdinand - ostensibly a Sunderland defender - deflected a Patrice Evra shot into his own goal to level the scores.
Ferdinand, the cousin of United defender, Rio, wheeled away in delight, then remembered he was a Black Cats player, whereupon he assumed a crestfallen pose with head in hands, and hands on hips, which is difficult to achieve at the same time.
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, an ex-United defender himself, immediately registered a complaint with the fourth official, but found that he, too, was a staunch United supporter, and therefore, oblivious to any legitimate claim that the Reds had broken FA rules.
Bruce, who, as usual, was covered in shaving cuts, and had a black eye courtesy of yet another row with his wife, said:
"It allus feels like United have an extra player when y'come here. Today they actually did!"
An FA spokesman said this morning:
"We will look into this, and if United are found to have committed an infringement of the rules, they will be told not to do it again, the naughty boys."