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Fergie: Conscience Meant Foster Bid Had To Be Accepted

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that he still believes that Ben Foster is the best English goalkeeper, but that his conscience played a part in his decision to accept a £6million offer for him.

“We accepted the bid from Birmingham City simply because we knew how concerned Ben was about his future and I can understand that,” said Ferguson. “I think most of that comes from his disappointment of not having played enough games to get in the England squad this summer. I still feel very strongly about this, that Ben’s the best England goalkeeper and I can’t work out why he wasn’t even considered simply because he didn’t have enough football. Sometimes your conscience does come into it and you have to understand a player’s feelings about it. Ben’s been a terrific servant for us, he’s been very unlucky with a couple of injuries he’s had with us last season and I think he deserves the opportunity to do better for himself.”

Firstly, I don’t think any manager in their right mind would take a goalkeeper to the World Cup who stopped playing for their club because of a string of mistakes, so it makes perfect sense Fabio Capello didn’t pick Foster. Secondly, every other goalkeeper is their club’s number 1, playing week in week out, so it would be pretty harsh if any English keeper in the Premiership missed out to accomodate a 27-year-old with “potential” but who was still second or third choice for their club.

Best of luck, Ben.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. OZRed says:

    All the best to Foster. There’s no doubt hes a talented keeper but some key errors when deputising for VDS have cost him dealry. Unfortunately as a keeper there is no hiding place and bedding in period. Great to see VDS is still playing out of his skin and thoroughly deserves his contract extension.

    Off topic but did anyone see the comments by Fergie regarding us only bringing in one player (if any) during the close season? I definitely think this is a smoke screen for any planned bids and sincerely hope we strengthen the squad with a couple of strong signings to:
    1.Take the pressure off Wazza
    2. Strengthen central midfield

    Really hope we dont approach Benzema who is mediocre at most. Suarez looks a good option up front and we may be able to get him for 25mill. I know the Dutch League isnt the best but a certain RVN came with a proven track record there and banged in an incredible amount of goals for us….

  2. arijc says:

    I agree with the previous comment…hope its a smoke screen too. On Suarez, I think he will be too expensive and too similar in style to our latest Mexican striker, Hernandez. I would like to see us go for Fabiano. I know he is 29 years old, but he has only 1 year left on his contract and he wants to leave Sevilla. It will also give the opportunity for young strikers like Macheda and Diouf to learn from him during training and games.

    Wish Foster all the best for the future.

  3. Costas says:

    Fair enough. Best if luck to Ben. I’ve said it before, but maybe the other Ben can make an impact next season.

  4. ajopaul says:

    I agree with your summary. Although it still hurts to see Ben missing the place…

  5. Gotta hate tiny tears says:

    I ask ya chelsea barca real arsenal inter ac lyon the list goes on can any of them put there hand on there heart and say that they could get 6 million pound for there 3rd choice keeper. 6 Million Pound. dat a gud bitta bidness

  6. EastStandManc says:

    “I can’t work out why he wasn’t even considered simply because he didn’t have enough football.”

    Really SAF? Really? I’m sure Owen Hargreaves will be delighted to read that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want Owen going to the WC because of his fitness, either, but twe can’t have our cake and eat it. If you’re going to use one rule for one and another for the rest, it’s only ever going to end up badly and make us look like hypocrites in the process.

    As for Gill’s comments on the transfer budget, notice how he didn’t deny the debt was forcing SAF’s hand:

    “We’re very confident the business model we have in place will ensure the club can continue to compete at the top of football for many years to come.”

    Not that I would expect anything less from Gill, but judging by those comments there’s a complete disregard for just how debilitating the debt has become. I’d have a problem with “the current business model” even if we weren’t in the red, so quite how he can have such confidence given the economic position we’re actually in is beyond me.

    “The Premier League is bringing in squad limits next year of 25 but there will be unlimited under-21s and other rules and we’ll be taking all that into consideration.”

    How convenient, eh David? But you’ll no doubt spew some BS about it being in line with United tradition anyway, won’t you? Very convenient indeed.

  7. Roasty_mufc says:

    Another 6m into the coffers of those glazer bastards! I sincerely hope that as mentioned above that fergies comments are a smokescreen. It’s clear that the squad does need investment but I do fear that there’s jack shit gonna happen except those fucking weasels getting richer!!! LUHG

  8. theboogeyman says:

    Good luck, Ben.

  9. Roasty_mufc says:

    Oh and all the best Ben

  10. PissedOffRed says:

    Nah. I doubt it is a smoke screen. If so, we’ve had enough smokescreens over the seasons now.
    As it goes, we are definitely not going to sign anyone this summer.

    Barcelona is going to spend 70 million pounds on Cesc & Villa. SAF & AW follows the same mode of operation – ‘I am confident with the current squad and our youths’; ‘We have enough in our transfer funds’. Arsenal is going to lose Cesc and signs Chamakh on free transfer. Where is the supposed transfer fund and war-chest?

    As other teams get stronger, we seem to be tight-fisted with our money. Aren’t we supposed to be making a bucket load of the $$ from all the sponsorship and ticket sales? Why are we spending so little??? Argh… Glaziers are fucking killing our club.

  11. giggs11gerrard0 says:

    SAF may only want one player which may be some kind of midfieler / attacking player no doubt. With that in mind and VDS only commiting to a one year contract surely a new keeper who is good enough for the No.1 spot is a must????? Thoughts?

  12. Marq says:

    One good thing about our club, is that we never force ourselves upon our players, if it is better for them to leave to improve themselves, we have always gracefully let them go. Rossi, Pique, etc, and loads of younger players who have made a name for themselves in other teams, albeit in lesser lights. Many people say Arsenal is the best place for youngsters, but take a look at other teams in the league, how many players out there have United connections compared to Arsenal?

    Good luck Ben, follow the lead of Tim Howard and prove yourself over again, though I hope you let in a few goals against us next season, haha.

    And about those who suggest we need a wholesale change, I beg to differ, I believe we only need that 1 player in the middle of the park, so I don’t think Sir Alex is putting up some smoke screen.

  13. PJCH says:

    Good luck Ben I’m sure you will get better treatment at Birmingham. If SAF thinks you are the best keeper in England then why didn’t he give you more opportunities in the first team. 6 million is good money but will it go in the coffers for new players or on debt repayment.
    I hope that comments about new signings are a smokescreen because if not and we don’t sign anybody or only one player it will add more to the call that we don’t have money to spend. Chelsea and others will spend to progress next season and I only hope we do not fall behind. A proven striker and an attacking midfielder is required.

  14. Sayyid says:

    With David Villa ans cesc off to Barcelona surely we could try to buy either Silva or perhaps Zlatan

    We need one marquee signing. I think our squad is stronger than the rest for next season

    GK: VDS, TK, Amos

    RB: Rafeal/Neville/Brown

    CB: Rio/Vidic/Evans/Smalling

    LB: Evra/Fabio/O’Shea

    RM: Valencia/Obertan

    CM: Scholes/Hargreaves/Anderson/Carrick/Gibson/Giggs

    LM: Nani/Tosic??

    CF: Rooney/Owen/Berbatov/Macheda/Hernandez

    It does look like we need a LM/CM

  15. arijc says:

    @ Sayyid
    Zlatan makes Berba look a value for money buy.

  16. mufcmyreligion says:

    Cant believe Fergie may not strengthen, what a joke!! There is no DOUBT that he dont have the funds available cuz all this talk about inflated prices is bullshit lets not forget that almost ten years ago he was paying £30m for veron and £20m for Ruud so obviously a decade on you wouldnt be paying those amounts for that talent in 2010. The truth is those arsehole glazers have fucked us up, we more in debt than than ever and with interst rates going up on our loans it means we’ll be paying £70m+ in debt on top of the £700m!!

    The only way things will change is if someone takes over and clears all the debt they dont need to pump millions into the transfer market cuz a debt free utd can make more money in a season than any other club in the world and look after itself. with the amount of money gone out in interest in last five years we could have brought anyone we wanted at any price!!

    Waking up this morning to hear Fergie’s comments on Sky Sports News is so depressing, he dont even look like he means what he’s saying but more like he’s got no choice as Gill probably told him to drop the comments in America rather than in England. We are now behind every TOP club when it comes to pulling power, top players and there agents dont even talk about coming here anymore and its cuz there agents know utd can’t afford to buy, when was the last time an agent said “united are interested in…” ?? EXACTLY!!


  17. UTD7 says:

    I am totally depressed.

    I totally agree with the earlier post that Gill has forced SAF into saying this gibberish. As some of the previous posts have said we spent 30 million on Rio over 8 years ago. Just goes to show spending money on the right player is money well spent.
    Plain and simple we have no money. We have to cough up an extra 75 million this year in interest payments. Where is that money coming from. Player sales probably.
    The Glazers are undoing all of SAF’s hard work. Everyone knows you cant win the majors every year and believe you me growing up in the eighties I fully appreciate that point but at least even in the 80′s we spent what we earned and everyone of us were always hopeful every year.
    The Glazers are just killing our club.
    I am totally gutted with what’s going on. I don’t know what to do about my season ticket renewal as I want see my beloved reds but really want the red knights to get rid of these numpties.

  18. Marq says:

    We are now behind “TOP “clubs?

    Ronaldo, Kaka, Alonso and Benzema went to a “TOP” club and what did they get?

    Adebayor, Tevez, Barry, Lescott and Toure went to a “TOP” club and what did they get?

    If anything, the last summer proved that changing the whole team is not going to get you anything

  19. wayne says:

    maybe i’m naive but i still believe sir alex when he talks about how stupid the transfer market/players wages are.utd valued suarez at 20 mill ajax want 35mill for him everyone utd get interested in the price tag jumps to a stupid amount and i’m going to ask everyone whats the point in investing all the time and money in a youth system if the players coming through don’t get a chance to prove themsevles.i don’t want to see utd spend a ton of money on players like ribery and benzema thier a couple of wankers.i think sir alex is a big enough man to tell the truth if he didn’t have money to spend quite frankly i agree with him the transfer market is fucking stupid and what do you end up with rentboys who don’t give a fuck about the club and cost a fortune in transfer fees and has spending a small fortune worked for real and they’ll be at it again this year along with city its total fucking madness

  20. King Eric says:

    Zlatan? Are you even serious? He couldn’t hit the floor with his fucking hat. Anyway Fergie said we won’t be buying a keeper . We have Amos he said.

  21. PJCH says:

    The transfer market is what it is, and unfortunately we will have to pay top money for top players irrespective of if they are value for money. Chelski, City, Barca and Real will be spending big this summer picking up all the top players. If we do have a large amount of money in our so called war chest then we should use it or else it will be another season of Carling Cup success and Premiership, FA Cup and Champions League failure again.
    Tell us the truth do we have money to spend (and why isn’t it being used) or else is it being used to repay the interest on the debt or are the Glaziers creaming off the funds as most of us suspect

  22. wayne says:

    the only reason we lost the prem this year was because of defensive injuries and bad ref decisions maybe i’m just paranoid but it seemed after sir alex called the ref fat we got alot of bad calls against us that cost us.we have a very good squad with players that should improve again next year i don’t think we need much and i am against signing rentboys i see it in every sport a player has a few good years signs the massive contract and goes into the tank on the other side a young kid with talent who wants to prove himself is always a better bet

  23. MKRed says:

    …and we’re expected to believe all the crap coming out of Old Trafford these days? They must think we fans are absolutely stupid. (I suppose we are, in a way, because we keep buying tickets).

    Of course it’s got nothing to do with debt, or what The Times (and other papers) are reporting this morning. The reason Fergie won’t be buying is probably because there’s no value in the transfer market – oh, I forgot: that was last year’s excuse.

    Mind you, the balance of the team is just about right right – look how seamless it was when Rooney dropped out last season through injury. We hardly noticed his absence…And we certainly didn’t notice the absence of Ronaldo or Tevez, not when we had fitness freak Michael Owen and free-scoring Berbatov to fall back on. The only reason we didn’t win the League was because the own goals dried up!

    I’m in despair. We’re being screwed at every turn: our manager and chief exec, two of the most respected figures in world football, are being forced to spew out ridiculous line after ridiculous line purely to justify and underpin the total mismanagement and financial incompetence of the Glazers. Why won’t someone break ranks and tell the truth?

    What do I, as a fan, do? Do I stick loyally with my club , continue to give them my support in the hope that, in some way, I’m helping the cause? Or do I cut of my nose to spite my face and give up a season ticket that I waited years for, that is one of my most prized possessions, in the desperate hope that it might somehow add to the pressure to the Glazers to sell? And if they do sell, who to? Are the Red Knights the answer? And will the Glazer-generated debt disappear?

    Busby turned things round with kids, and Fergie won big with kids. That is perhaps our best – our only – chance now to keep pace. But are our kids good enough? Some, maybe, but not all – that’s why Fergie should be strengthening this summer. But he won’t be allowed to – our nett spend over the summer will be less than what we bring in: forget the marquee signings or departures, add up what we get for all the reserves we ship out.

    We’re in a different game now. Others, with sugar daddies, can buy big while we can only sit back and watch open-mouthed. Other clubs have owners who put money into their clubs – speculating to accumulate, as it were – we’ve got an absentee landlord who is bleeding us dry. Google Rachman and see if if it reminds you of anyone? There’s supposed to be so much money sloshing around in the Premiership now, yet United – the biggest club of all – are drowning in debt.

    Someone, anyone, do something to sort out this mess. Someone, please tell the truth.

  24. King Eric says:

    Oh god. Another summer of all this “no money” shit to contend with. Why don’t folk wait and see what happens first before jumping to conclusions. Has Fergie said he isn’t buying? No has he fuck. Fuck me the season only ended a week ago and people think we should have 6 new players tied up. AS I say lets wait and see.

  25. King Eric says:

    “There’s supposed to be so much money sloshing around in the Premiership now”

    Is there? Really? First I heard.

  26. Kaykay says:

    I see you don’t rate Fletch in your supposed squad. Fletch has been the midfield enforcer the whole season.
    I believe the team is good, we lacked confidence at the begining of the season coz the players eat what the media said ‘we are weak without CR7 and Tevez’ but when we got in the groove we had a better 2nd half to the season. It’s all about BELIEVE. We are the only team that can improve.

  27. wayne says:

    unless things have changed the taxs in spain for footballers is 24% its a non resident tax in england i think its double that so regardless of how much money utd have to spend it’ll be always be tough competing with the 2 top spanish clubs unless you really want to play in the prem or utd.”let me see i can pay 24% tax with a villa on the beach and live in sunny spain or i can pay 48% tax and live in rainy manchester” to anyone who’s not a die hard red its a no brainer

  28. arijc says:

    @ King Eric
    I usually agree to disagree with you on certain topics, but I couldn’t agree with you more on the “no money” crap. Its not like we have a history of spending tens or hundreds of millions every summer on new players. If anything, Sir Alex usually targets one major addition over the summer. What he has said in the conference yesterday is not a major departure from that policy.

  29. stretfordend ryda says:

    good luck ben

  30. cantona7 says:

    I love it when SAF says he is going to trust the youth in our team.

    It is true that there is balance of age in our squad, but our young players get to play very minimally comparred to our old players.

    Good luck to Ben Foster, and welcome to the real deal Ben Amos.

  31. Paul Parker says:

    One Cock up too many Foster just one too many.

    Good Luck at Birmingham Mate, you’ve got big shoes to fill there, Hart is class.

    Lets hope AMOS steps up when the time comes.

  32. willierednut says:

    Good luck Ben, you’ve wasted to many years sitting on the bench.

  33. redscot says:

    To me this is just basic management, to encourage others that are left at the club.
    It sends out a sharp clear message you must take your chance when given it if you want to be offered more opportunities.All the younger players will stand up and take notice of this transfer and inwardly motivate them to work harder to succeed.
    As previously said good luck Ben, maybe try and get to the ground faster though, rather than mirroring a wardrobe falling down.

  34. Josh-2b-King says:

    As it was proven in the last 12 months by Real and Shitty, gigantic spending is not a magic key to success.
    I’m quite sure that our youngsters are learning every day from our maestros and Kiko, Danny, Darren, Ando, twins, Ober, Johny, Josh will become our 1-st choice players very soon. Fergie DOES know what he is doing, and we all know that the “huge 1 point difference” that robbed us of 4-th successive title was produced by numerous “lucky” moments and refs’ favors for rentboys and in the same time by our “bad luck” and unfair refereeing..

  35. Axeman says:

    Thank god for sensible people like King Eric on this blog. A welcome break from all the gloom & doom mongers. We missed the league by 1 point after having a crocked defence & shit refereeing in the 2 games against Chelski. Is it really the end of the world?
    We’re not shitty or the virus to try & buy every player in the world. We’re lucky to have SAF & Gill running the club, so stop talking nonsense against them.

  36. Greek (MU)DJAHIDDIN says:

    First and foremost, many thanks for the contribution Ben has made. We must always thank those who wear the United shirt. He has been fantastic during his Watford days. It is not that he is not good enough for United, as few people suggest. A goalkeeper is good or is not good enough for any club. It is not like any other team position. Ben is a very good goalkeeper and I am sure that he will be so even after he moves. He may be better to go however, because being in Van der Saar’s shadow for a further year, I can not see him recovering from the psychological blow he must have suffered after few bad performances last season. It is a real pity because he is technically such a good goalkeeper !


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