Sir Alex Ferguson has given an exclusive interview with The Mail On Sunday where he “attacks” Glazer critics. The paper labels the attack “extraordinary” and claims Fergie tells the fans to back off, giving a “warning” to all fans.
Part of me can tolerate Ferguson putting up with the Glazers, because if he spoke out against them and made his position untenable, there’s no way another manager could sustain success on the budget Ferguson has. He may well feel responsible for this mess, considering it was his petty row over a race horse that landed us in it, so will be keen to make amends, you’d like to think.
But no part of me can support the manager giving his public backing to the Glazers whilst criticising the fans. That is unacceptable. He can publicly support the Glazers, if he believes that is necessary, without having a go at us.
Forbes tell us year after year that we are the “most valuable sports franchise in the world”. More valuable than Real Madrid, the Dallas Cowboys, Barcelona and the New York Yankees, yet under the Glazer ownership, United’s transfer policy largely consists of bringing in bargains or young players on smaller contracts. Roy Keane left in 2005 but it was years before that when he stopped being our midfield enforcer. Pretty much 10 years have gone by since he was the best in the game yet we still haven’t come close to replacing him. Liverpool have brought in the likes of Xabi Alonso and Raul Meireles, Chelsea have brought in Michael Ballack, Michael Essien and Raul Meireles, Manchester City have brought in Nigel De Jong and Yaya Toure, whilst United have splashed the cash on Owen Hargreaves then given up.
The “most valuable sports franchise in the world” couldn’t even make it out of the group stages of the Champions League last season and the only reason why the “most valuable sports franchise in the world” ran the title to the final day of the season was because a 37-year-old came out of retirement after Christmas.
Lots of fans felt like enough was enough in 2005 when the Glazers bought us and gave up their season tickets. Every year since, with the prices going up and up, even more fans have given up their season tickets. Then there are some fans who every year fork out £532-£950 every year as a basic, without the cost of away tickets (which see us charged £200 more a year than fans of teams like Wigan because we’re a category A game for the home fans, a battle the club hasn’t helped us fight), only to see the Glazers not reinvest our money on signing a world class central midfielder. Nobody is asking us to spend like City or Real Madrid, but the “most valuable sports franchise in the world” ranks behind Chelsea, City, Liverpool and Spurs in the transfer league. In fact, per season since 03-04, we’ve seen £1m more going out than Aston Villa.
We’ll see what Ferguson has to say tomorrow and hopefully the Mail On Sunday will have sensationalised the interview in their headlines, but it is appalling for Ferguson to criticise the fans for being sceptical where the Glazers are concerned. He either is ridiculously detached from the fans, not being to grasp why on earth fans would be angry and pouring their money in to a club only to see that money not reinvested on the field, or he’s being ridiculously disrespectful, with a total grasp of how the fans feel, but still opting to speak out against us as if our concerns are trivial.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the socialist.