Former referee Mark Halsey has broken his silence on John Obi Mikel’s well documented race row by claiming the Chelsea midfielder yelled ‘I’m going to break your legs’ at Mark Clattenburg.
In his autobiography ‘Added time: Surviving cancer, death threats and the Premier League’, serialised in The Sun on Sunday, Halsey supported Neil Ashton’s story that Mikel had to be restrained by the then Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo.
He also claimed that the Nigerian international tried to throw a punch at an official in a dressing room bust-up after Chelsea lost to Manchester United on October 28thlast year.
Halsey said in his book that referees almost went on strike due to the lack of support Clattenburg was receiving.
He told The Sun on Sunday: ‘My information was that Mikel stormed into Mark’s dressing room when he was told about the remark after the game, shouting: “I’m going to break your legs. You called me a f****** monkey”.
‘He tried to land a punch on Mark but was pulled away by a combination of the Di Matteo and assistant Eddie Newton and Mark’s three officials, fourth official Mike Jones and assistants Mick McDonough and Simon Long.
‘Even before Mark had left Stamford Bridge that night, the press were knocking on the door of his home. The problem was that he could say nothing in his defence as part of legal advice and clauses in our contracts.’
Halsey also mentioned contacting Sir Alex Ferguson for help because he felt the referees own body, the Select Group, were not offering enough support.
He added: ‘I took matters in my own hands and rang Sir Alex asking him to speak out. He agreed and used his Friday press conference to say he could not conceive of Mark saying such things. It helped the situation a great deal.’
Clattenburg was suspended for four weeks but was cleared of using inappropriate language.
Mikel received a three match ban and was fined £60.000 after admitting the FA charge of using ‘threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour’.