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Fergie’s Liverpool Dig Falls On Deaf Ears

Alex FergusonI’m breaking the habit of a lifetime and writing two Fergie bashing articles in one day. Those of you who read this site regularly will know I am firmly on Ferguson’s side in most, if not all debates surrounding our knighted manager. I think the World of the fella, and in contrast to some United groups, look upon his impending retirement with huge dread, rather than the feeling it’s long overdue. However, I can’t bite my tongue today. Maybe his comments about our fans has irked me to the point where I can only see the bad in what he has to say for the time being. Or maybe he really is just being an arse.

“At a number of clubs there have been problems with friction between managers and owners,” Ferguson has said today, obviously pointing the finger at the mess going on at Liverpool between Benitez and Hicks/Gillett. Over the past few months there have been less than encouraging noises coming out of the Yanks which I imagine is unnerving for the scousers. They’ve been airing their dirty laundry in public, squabbling with each other via the press, and generally showing big cracks behind the scenes.

After losing to United at Anfield Hicks claimed that Liverpool weren’t mentally able to overcome United, with the players not believing they were good enough to beat us. This is certainly a slight on Benitez’s capabilities as a manager, with no gaffer wanting to be told they are not able to inspire a winning mentality in his team when playing against their biggest rivals.

Rafa had previously publicly slated the Americans’ transfer policy, patronising them when blasting, “They don’t understand what the transfer window means in Europe. They need to understand how difficult it is to sign players.” In response, Hicks spoke to the Liverpool Echo, saying “We told him to concentrate on the games coming up. I guess he didn’t like it.” In the past week, Hicks dug the knife in further saying, “We just wanted to see if the team was going to gel. Then he (Benitez) went to a press conference and kind of pouted and answered in the same way 20 times: ‘I’m focusing on my team.’”

So yes, Ferguson is right, we haven’t had to deal with a ridiculous public spat, but then is that any reason to pat the Glazer’s on the back? ‘Well done for not acting like cocks like your countryman Hicks! Now we like you because you haven’t behaved in an unacceptable manner in front of the media’. Is Ferguson serious? We should be grateful that our Americans aren’t showing us up in the press, even though they’ve plunged us hundreds of millions in debt?

“You can see how smoothly the United ship is running as far as that is concerned,” said Ferguson, “despite early hostility over the Glazer family’s ownership. Those protests were unfair because they weren’t given a chance but the Glazers kept their cool and our owners have been nothing but supportive.”

Ferguson is not a stupid man. Ferguson knows the reasons why there were such angry protests towards the Glazer takeover. Being concerned over how “supportive” the Glazers were going to be did not come high up on the list. Losing the soul of the club and fears for ticket rises were the greater concerns, and they haven’t been shown as unfounded fears either.

“Good teamwork starts at the top,” continued the Scot, “and I am happy to say, that is what we have at Old Trafford.” So this teamwork Ferguson is talking about no longer includes the fans? The Glazer’s may not have been publicly slagging Ferguson off, but it was only yesterday Ferguson was having a pop at the fans. Are things running smoothly between the fans and the manager then? At the moment, I wouldn’t say so.

Colin Henrie, a spokesman for the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, has responded angrily to Ferguson’s comments about the fans. “I think he could benefit from sitting in the ground,” said Hendrie, who believes Old Trafford stewards come down too hard on fans who stand at moments of excitement. “You can’t stand up to make a noise. If you try to stand up, you’ve got stewards who are ejecting you, they’re taking your season ticket away from you. It’s almost like a police state in a football ground now and if you do stand up, people will take your arm, put it behind the back of your neck and throw you out of the ground. Under those circumstances, what atmosphere does he (Ferguson) want? The only atmosphere we’ve got is one where we’re a little bit frightened of losing 1,000 pounds for the season ticket we’ve paid for.”

I like having a pop at the dippers as much as the next red, but Ferguson is picking the wrong time and the wrong way to do it today. So come on Fergie, sort it out, and make it easier for us all to love you again!


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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13 Comments

  1. Sam says:

    Hmm, it may be the fact that I normally agree with every word you say that makes me feel the need to say something here.
    Whilst Ferguson’s comments may well have been unneccessary, I would argue that the Glazers have been good for United. Their debts are not proving a problem at the moment, as they proved by delving into their pockets last summer to provide us with arguably the best transfer season we have had in a long, long time. And if we need, they have said that we can have more, hence how we may be able to splash out even more for players such as Lahm or Berbatov.
    This isn’t an attack, more of a question; although I know this isn’t the main point of the article, do you still think the Glazer’s are bad for the club?

  2. craig mc says:

    Ferguson should have taken stock of his face and body language during the match. I have just seen it again on mutv, and he was as miserable as sin. He never smiled or looked happy with the game, so why should we?. Although contrary to his comments, in our section of the ground fans did their best to shout and chant, and I wonder whether Fergie had ear plugs in to deafen him for most of the match.

  3. Tom F says:

    I will repwat what I mentioned in the last thread. Scott you are Right about the timing of his comments but he has a point, I guess the fans can’t kick him out of Old Trafford but if he doesn’t go along with the owners plans who’s to say he’ll be left alone. These are money people.

    “Do you think Alex Ferguson has lasted as manager at Old Trafford for over 20 years just because of his sucess in winning the club trophies? Not at all. He has remained at the helm of one of sports toughest jobs by sticking by his decisions, showing great balance in those decisions and supporting all the correct foundations Within our club to keep our club heading in the right direction.

    Old Trafford is nowhere near as loud as it could be due to a number of reasons, I think one of them being the amount of our worldwide fanbase that come all the way to Old Trafford to watch their beloved team play but don’t make much noise themselves. New Years hangovers couldnt have helped either, but my point is not to have a go at Sir Alex himself, I am sure he had a good few thoughts in private about the Glazers, about Old Trafford become seating only, but that’s him and he has a job to do in which he is trying to give his players a lift after ANOTHER disruptive Xmas, with the allegations against Evans and he is trying to get a response from the fans in the same way he’d get a positive one from his squad of players.

    I do think he has come out with that comment as he does so about 3 times a season, I don’t think he’s being harsh. He also comments on the fans when the are loud, it does boost the players”

  4. Kaushik says:

    Hey guys, you dont need to stand up to make noise! at least you have the chance to watch your team at old trafford. come on, if u r a united fan, support ur team instead of complaining…

  5. Whiteside10 says:

    I was listening to a phone-in on the radio this morning about the lack of noise at OT, and one fella called in suggesting he would like to take the Scousers / Celtic Park lead and have a decent anthem belting out just before kick-off… He reckoned it would get the crowd going, as well as the players… Any thoughts on this?
    The Glazers? I’m tending to side with the other enties on this one – can’t complain so far… although I have noticed the club’s novel way of raising transfer funds – let half a dozen players on the loose in town, then fine ‘em a million quid each. Hey presto! There’s a quarter of Berbatov’s fee raked in already… It could catch on – just think of the Newcastle transfer kitty that could be generated from Joey Barton alone…
    Anyway, I digress. I agree with Tom F’s points… Let’s hope he gets the right response… And that the stewards can help, rather than hinder the atmosphere…
    Lastly, just to pick up on the Fergie bashing, I tend to reserve that for when his (albeit rare) dodgy team selections… I’m thinking ‘leaving Ronaldo at home at Bolton’ (surely put him on the bench if you want to rest him), and, as you have pointed out in previous threads, his team selection at West Ham… Although who am I to criticise!!

  6. denton davey says:

    I agree with the other posters – the kerfuffle about the Glazers is a form of Luddism. If the “traditional” fans want to blame anyone then Louis Edwards is the real villain of the story – taking the team public and making a hundred million quid from his good fortune and great timing (i.e., the maturing of Fergy and the onset of satellite broadcasting, abetted by a terrific marketing department). And, what about Magner and his pal, the other Irish horse-owner, who sold out to the Glazers for anohter hundred million pound profit.

    As regards starving the team – the spending has been appropriate for such a hugely profitable enterprise that needs to stay at the top (or near the top) to continue its marketing successes.

    Face it, this is now a business and it has become a hugely profitable business for people like Edwards, Magner, and the Glazers. The whole issue of the debt is just head-in–the-sand silliness. For over three hundred years the British state has been “in debt” and the sky didn’t fall in. Chicken Littles should take note !

  7. Roshan says:

    Bollox is what it is, Fergie is harly known to mince words despite his position and if he does feel strongly about something he won’t toe the line of diplomacy just because it will save his arse. If there was something wrong with the owners why nor wait to hear it out from him? Why do you want to believe that you know better than the man who knows all being at the helm for over 2 decades? Talking about the crowd, there have been a lot of mails that have been delivered to David Gill’s personal e-mail account to propose that a separate section of the crowd be allowed to sing aloud all game, considering that rules right now have become so stupid that you can be tossed out of the staduim if you as much as stand. Stop whining and start mailing.

    in light of fergie’s recent comments some united fans have come up with the idea to improve the atmpsphere at old trafford anyway in order for the club to take notice we need enough people to send this to david gill, anyone can see that we have the best interest of the club and fans at heart so heres the email

    ——————————————————————————–

    david.gill@manutd.co.uk

    To Manchester United Football Club

    Following on from the comments made by the boss Sir Alex Ferguson about the atmosphere at Old Trafford in his own words he has summed it all up in one paragraph “It’s all very well saying the players need to play to get the crowd going, for them to respond. But in situations like today we need the fans to get behind us. At times it was like a funeral. It was so quiet. I don’t think that helped us.”
    That comment has stirred a bit of anger not to the boss but the club, fans like us who go to the game sing our hearts out for 90 minutes and people are not joining in because they have no passion for our club, this of which is the clubs fault by pricing out the loyal supporters the ones who will be there supporting the team after Sir Alex after the Glazers and after anything else, we the supporters are the back bone of our club. The loyal supporters want an atmosphere, Sir Alex wants an atmosphere also the players want us to get behind them but it can’t and won’t happen until the vocal fans are together. We are proposing that there should be a Vocal Section at Old Trafford where the like minded loyal supporters can get behind our team vocally, Sir Alex himself has said the players need lifting by the fans, so there is no reason why this shouldn’t and couldn’t’ happen.

    ——————————————————————

    please could all fans send this to the club (email adress is above) be you from manchester, london , even the likes of india or portugal , your input and loyalty could help improve the clubs atmosthphere hugely and in turn improve the club as a whole the club that you love. thanks a lot hope you all see sense and send the club an email.

  8. austin reynolds says:

    sad 2 c every1 cryin ova saf,s comments. atmosphere been dire since all seats come in. sing or stay at home. its got nowt to do wiv the glazers. press an all abu’s r lovin this!

  9. Tom F says:

    Roshan, when it matters Ferguson does definately remain diplomatic, not about his players performance, not about the refferees decisions, not about opposing players or managers during matches, but after watching his press conferences every week, there are certain situations which he will say ”I’m not getting into that”. He does it when it’s serious, he did it when it matters. He is far too experienced to get involved in down talking the Club he has done so much for..

    HIS COMMENTS WERE MADE ABOUT THE ATMOSPHERE, HE DIDNT SAY THE FANS WERE BEING TOO QUIET. INSTEAD OF SEEING IT AS A DIG AT FANS, MAYBE IT’S A DIG AT THE OVER THE TOP HEALTH AND SAFETY RULES IN PLACE IN ALL STADIUMS WHICH I’M SURE HE DIDN’T MAKE-UP. MAYBE AT THE OVER THE TOP SECURITY WHICH STOPS FANS IN SOME AREAS STANDING OR CHEERING, HE NEVER MADE THAT UP EITHER. HE IS NOT A STUPID MAN, SUPPORT HIM, HE WANTS THE BEST FOR OUR PLAYERS AND SUPPORTERS.

  10. craig mc says:

    Tom F – No matter how you want to put Fergie’s comments in a chocolate box, and tie it up with a friggin pink ribbon, I saw the interview on Sky and MUTV, and he was having a dig at the fans. Call it the atmosphere as much as you like, but by atmosphere Fergie means the noise and interaction coming from the fans!!!!!!!. Much of Roshan’s comments are spot on. He is obviously passionate and loyal as F*** to Fergie and the club, and the email he wants us to send to David Gill has VERY STRONG POINTS. NOT having a go at you Tom F, your opinion is as valied as mine, we’re both just saying things as we see them. Life is all about opinions, and these are mine. Fergie by his comments has given media and other club fans, the opportunity and weapons to attack ManU fans YET AGAIN.

  11. Zae says:

    Good article Scott, but I would disagree with some points.

    Fears over the club losing its soul are shown to be unfounded so far. Nothing has really changed since the Glazers took over and the cruel exploitation of the merchandising capabilities of the club has started long before the Glazers.

    Ticket prices increased but still lower than at most London clubs – and I must ask, would they have increased had the PLC remained in charge? I think so. The automatic scheme stinks, that’s what must be scrapped.

    And on Fergie: I agree with the spokesman of the trust, it’s just bleeding difficult to make enough noise in such a huge stadium if you’re sitting. Much easier to make yourself heard at Craven Cottage when the ground is much smaller. It is quite annyoing that even in the moments of high excitement, stewards often do everything to make everyone sit down. A bit of consideration from their part would do a world of good.

  12. Tom F says:

    Not at all, you are alright Craig. We’ll see come Friday what Sir Alex as to say about it, the Amount of times i’ve sat in Old Trafford and not seen fans want to stand and shout is what I’m talking about. it is generally the smaller ground where away fans make al the noise and i’m sure Old Trafford is not the only place with stupid stewarding laws. It is very true that a lot of the times people expect United to score 3 or 4 goals per game and when things get a bit patchy the players need us. I definately understand that alot of loud, supportive followers cannot share their passion with the players and other fans because they are told not to but I just can’t get as upset about what Alex has said like some people on here.
    Manchester United andit’s fans are always going to be easy targets for anything controversial, it’s what we’ve all had to put up with!

    my final point is that, while i understand why you will be annoyed with what Sir Alex has said, I fully back him, 70 thousand United fans should always make more noise than the 3 thousand travelling ones. Friday’s press conference will also, probably see him remain diplomatic.

  13. Sam says:

    Did everyone who sent off Roshan’s letter get a crushing reply?

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