Former referee Mark Halsey has lifted the lid on John Obi Mikel’s infamous race row by claiming the Chelsea midfielder yelled ‘I’m going to break your legs’ at Mark Clattenburg.
‘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.’
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 missed four weekends of the season but was cleared of using inappropriate language.
Mikel received a three-match band and fined £60,000 after admitting the FA charge of using ‘threatening and/or abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour’.
A police investigation into the incident collapsed because of a lack of evidence and subsequently an FA probe met the same fate.