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Sir Alex Ferguson – The SHAME Of English Football

Sir Alex Ferguson has his problems with the BBC over a TV show which claimed his son, Jason Ferguson, who was a football agent at the time, was up to some dodgy dealings. So our manager fucked them off.

More and more organisations and people have been added to Ferguson’s hate list since, with the manager picking and choosing who he will and won’t speak to depending on the latest situation.

In the pre-season, Sir Alex Ferguson gave an interview with the press who had travelled over to South Africa. When questioned about our title rivals, Ferguson pondered on how much room for improvement there was with the Chelsea team, given their wealth of experience. The headlines the next day read “Fergie Thinks Chelsea Are Too Old To Win The Title.” He kicked off about it and said he wouldn’t give them their interviews again.

So, is our great manager out of order?

Matthew Syed of The Times thinks so.

The BBC, which pays almost £60 million a year on behalf of licence-fee payers for Premier League highlights, has not had access to Ferguson since 2004, ever since it aired a BBC Three documentary about his dealings with his son Jason, a football agent at the time. It is understood that Ferguson’s boycott of our national broadcaster will never be rescinded.

This is nothing less than scandalous, not least when you consider that United have a contractual obligation to put up a senior management figure for interview, as well as a moral responsibility to the millions of fans who tune in on Saturday and Sunday evenings hoping to hear the views of the single most important and knowledgeable person in English football.

The BBC “insulted the honour” of Jason, according to Sir Alex. Had the BBC been prepared to apologise for the programme, Ferguson would give them post match interview. As it is, they feel they have done no wrong, so won’t apologise. That is their prerogative. Equally so, it is Ferguson’s choice to decline to speak to them. The current manager of the Portuguese national team was giving United’s post match interviews on Match of the Day for the past few years. Is he not “senior” enough?

Regardless, if the BBC are prepared to pay £60 million of license-payers fees to get Premiership football but aren’t prepared to say a five letter word to the most prestigious manager in the game, for the sake of their viewers, than that is their look out.

Give it time and Ferguson will think nothing of banning opposition managers from Old Trafford on the ground that they dared suggest they might beat United.

I’m not quite sure how to respond to this comment. Maybe I should put my primary school hat on and think of a suitable retort, like, ner ner ner ner ner. What kind of a fucking stupid remark is that.

Ferguson will change only if confronted. That is why Sky Sports should give him a taste of his own medicine by “boycotting” payment of United’s share of the television rights income, estimated at a total of about £50 million. That is the only thing that might persuade the United board to bring into line a manager whose behaviour – and I choose my words carefully – shames English football.

That, or Manchester United will just sell the TV rights for their games to Setanta instead, meaning that Sky Sports won’t show any matches involving the Champions of England. Perfect.

As for the last, carefully chosen comment, of Sir Alex Ferguson shaming English football, you can only laugh. You only have to read his recent articles to understand why he is so precious about our manager. Considering the fella got a First from Oxford, you know it can’t be any problems with his intelligence which lead him to write such nonsense!

Whilst I think Syed’s article is nothing but an irate and bitter rant, which is more emotional and desperate than a lady during that “special” time of the month, my opinion on Ferguson’s boycotts is split.

I think his battle with the BBC is due to stubbornness, on the BBC’s part as much as our manager’s, so don’t see a problem with him not being the first to back down. If the BBC want to spend their license-payers’ money wisely, they’ll apologise. If they choose not to, then they know the consequences, simple as that.

I can understand why he went off one about the journalists printing the stories which said Chelsea were too old to win the title. Whilst United fans could have a good laugh about Chelsea’s ageing squad, it was appropriate that supposedly neutral outlets were mocking Chelsea on Fergie’s behalf. He typically is respectful of his opponents and didn’t want to start the season with stories appearing everywhere alluding to the idea he thought Chelsea were a load of has-beens, which provoked all kinds of over-the-top reactions, with Ron Harris claiming Sir Alex was talking out of his arse and John Terry sniping that it was actually United who had peaked, not them.

When I learnt about Ferguson snubbing Sky Sports after the Liverpool game, something Syed rips our manager to shreds for, I admit I had similar feelings. It seemed a bit petty to refuse to do an interview with them because of an early kick off. However, when I thought about it more, I wondered what was Ferguson’s motive. He couldn’t possibly have been making the point that following Benitez’s “break down”, where he went on about how United had the ideal kick-off times whilst Liverpool were treated unfairly, that this was an occasion when Liverpool had been given the upperhand and nobody had bothered to comment on it? Liverpool had a day extra to rest before the earliest match of the weekend took place between our clubs, obviously a game which could prove crucial in the title race, and nobody had batted an eye-lid about it. He didn’t want to get on the telly and look crazy with a list of things to say about it, so instead, decided to say nothing. Maybe then people would pick up on the fact the FSW had been talking bollocks earlier in the season, as it was us who were disadvantaged for this all-important game.

I’m certainly not saying our manager should be able to behave however he wants, but he is a grown-man who will be responsible for his own actions. If he doesn’t want to speak to Sky Sports or the BBC or whoever else, he doesn’t have to. Arsene Wenger, Sam Allardyce or Harry Redknapp have played the boycott card too as they are entitled to do. It’s not as if they don’t give their reaction to a game through some other media outlet. It’s not as if the fans are deprived of hearing what the manager thought about the game.

Whilst Ferguson’s snubbing has the potential to get out of hand, I personally quite enjoy it, given the effect it has on others. I wonder how many other angry little men like Matthew Syed there were out there on Saturday, fuming that they didn’t get to hear Fergie’s crumpled post-match interview following the Liverpool defeat. I’m pretty sure this clown is the only one who would claim the behaviour of our manager “shames” English football though.

Read Pride Of All Europe‘s take on the article.

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. redgister says:

    thats it keep supporting your bad tempered sore loser manager and you reckon rafa is a joke ha!

  2. costas says:

    I ask this.Would Sky have preferred it if Fergie had shown up on the interview and ripped them a new ass for the time of the fixture?I think not.And take it from someone living outside of England:the last thing that ashames English Football is SAF.He is the most recognisable figure along with Beckham and everyone who talks about him puts his brilliance as a manager first.The laughing stock for fans outside of England is the English Press.

  3. denton davey says:

    Good post, Scott. SAF has the right to send another “senior management” person to do the talking if/when he chooses. These media people should realize that they are paying for the right to show the games, not to talk exclusively with SAF. He has no obligation and there are surely occasions when he simply doesn’t want to talk with the press – Saturday he was clearly disappointed in his team’s “performance” and decide that it was better to be silent than to fly off the handle. Usually he is straightforward and seems to be both thoughtful and honest – which is more than can be said for TheWhinger who “never sees” anything. JoseTheMoaner turns his pressers into confrontations while FSA is about as taciturn as The Sphinx.

    I know that the press want sound bites but what they usually get is so boring that it would probably be better for them to think of another way to fill their air time. The print media can interview one another for all their opinions usually matter – or contribute to intelligent consideration of the event.

    I’m not sure that Matthew Syed is “an angry little man” so much as the usual journalist who knows that “ManBitesDog” is a better story than “DogBitesMan”. Very few stories about Blackburn or Fulham get into the national press for some reason and it’s not because BigSam or Hodgson aren’t eminently quotable or very intelligent managers. We all know that sensationalism in the press sells papers; and being sensational about a revered figure is a way to be seemingly “investigative”. As we saw with the Ronaldo fracs this past summer and in 2006, there is an insatiable appetite for stories – factual or fictional – about ManUTD. Such is life; UTD are the top team and this scutiny comes with that territory.

  4. RedAlert260599 says:

    Well done Scott, put that prick in his place. The reason he’s having a go is that the press world were waiting for a retaliatory rant and were so disappointed when SAF wouldn’t talk to Sky. I don’t blame him one bit. Who could have kept their counsel after being told that we’re cheats by that fat twat? There’s no way SAF would lower himself to the Fat Spanish Bstd Waiter’s level. – And, don’t you just love Gary Neville’s bush? MUFC!

  5. Jaimie Kanwar says:

    I read that Times article too and it’s a load of cobblers.

    I have absolutely no problem with managers snubbing the media, contracted or not. Football should be about football, not lining the pockets of Sky TV fatcats. PLus, I agree that having an early kick-off after playing on a Wednesday night is ludicrous. Barely 2 and a half days rest is not enough to adequately recover. Indeed, Liverpool have had the same problems in the past, and until recently, our record in games played after CL games was shocking.

    Ferguson clearly has principles that he will not compromise, so fair play to him. If a LIverpool manager did the same, I would have no problem with it either. I know that if I was a manager and someone in the media pissed me off, I would also refuse to speak to them.

    Ferguson is and always has been a manager that doesn’t take any sh1t, whether it’s from players or the press. This, in my view, is one of his great qualities, and is a quality of many great managers of the past, including the likes of Bill Shankly, Brian Clough, Don Revie and Jock Stein.

  6. confoundedbridge says:

    The Times had three articles slagging off Fergie at the same time this week, which from most papers would seem incredible, until you remember that the paper is owned by the same corporation that controls Sky. I really wouldn’t take much notice of what they say.

  7. G-THERED says:

    Phil Scolari would pick and choose the post match interviews he wanted to do and Ray Wilkins would pick up the pieces when he didn’t want to do them. No media backlash then was there? His English was good enough to make him a media darling when he first started. Whenever there is a chance to try and wipe the floor with our great Manager they will do. There were 3 or 4 different articles on it in the Times and today Oliver Kaye has done a final word on it. They are party owned by BskyB aren’t they? NOT BITTER AT ALL!!!

    PS love the Blog Scott

  8. Rob the Red says:

    Off topic: Going 7 points clear at the top of the table didn’t get him the contract he wanted! getting to the quarter finals of the champions league and beating Real Madrid 5-0 on aggregate didn’t warrant it either! But as they get knocked out of the fa cup and slide down the league beating us hit the spot! Thank God the powers that be at our club are not such aspirational pygmies. Long live the FSW!

  9. costas says:

    What really got him a contract?Doing the double(emphatically) over United.Great.As i sadi above,they are below Man City.They also did the double with Sven(winning at OT for the first time in 35 years) but they sacked Sven.

  10. Giles Oakley says:

    Excellent post Scott, and spot on Confoundedbridge. It’s sad to say but with all the Murdoch outlets you still have to ‘look under the sauce’ to check what pasta you’re really getting, even with a ‘respectable’ paper like the Times, despite them having some undeniably good football writers. As an ex-BBC person (not Sport) I can understand why the BBC would not back down if they feel they got the story right, but standards of journalism have dropped in many respects , especially in the lower-budget areas such as BBC3, when funds don’t stretch to deeper research. So I fear we are in uncertain territory,not really knowing if the original broadcast was fair or not, and that makes it hard to know whether Fergie’s line is justified or not. Regardless, I completely support his right to boycott the BBC or refuse to speak to whover he likes, as an individual. It is pretty basic stuff that no-one is obliged to speak to reporters, especially if they have unresolved grievances like Fergie.That makes it somewhat risible to say he is the ‘shame’ of British football on this basis.

  11. Rob the Red says:

    Well Costas nothing else did it, the bookies even stopped taking bets on him leaving a couple of weeks ago. Then they win their cup final against us and hey presto! The only conclusion you can come to is that they regard results against us above all else, I mean how many of them have been on this site since squirming in extasy since the weekend?

  12. Rob the Red says:

    Giles: Did Fergie not ask them to prove the allegations or apologise? Seems perfectly simple to me.

  13. King Eric says:

    Good post Scott and one for the shortlist. The reaction to SAF by the media, in particular the times is verging on hysterical. Get over it.

    Noticed on The Sun site today that Saint Stevie is bragging that all Europe are scared of the dippers.

  14. OTRed says:

    He’s not even contracted to talk to Sky, so he owes them NOTHING, the only pre and post match interviews he’s contracted to do is for the Champions League.

  15. King Eric says:

    Off topic – What time exactly is the draw tomorrow please anyone?

  16. james f says:

    Fergie is God. He should start a new religion.

  17. costas says:

    King Eric i think it’s between 10:45 and 11 o clock,England time.I could be wrong though.I will check it later.

  18. Rob the Red says:

    King Eric: Costas is correct bless ‘im

  19. costas says:

    Yes bless me,lol!Who’s your money on guys?I think it will either be Barca or the dippers.

  20. ssmcmullan says:

    I just read that this prick is a commentator for the BBC, there goes the impartiality.

  21. wazza says:

    costas, i feel its not going to be one of the english teams.platini & co. surely have a plan to make atleast one all english quarters.what about having 2 hot balls & 2 cold balls in the pot for the draw tomo :-)

  22. King Eric says:

    Cheers Costas and Rob! I have a feeling it will be Barca but not worried, on our day we can beat anyone. Hope it is not Villareal, can’t be doing with another turgid stalemate.

  23. Giles Oakley says:

    Rob, I’m not defending the BBC, but it’s not quite that simple. They will believe that the programme itself made a case that Fergie had to answer. I didn’t see the film but as I understand it, it did contain a certain amount of evidence to support their allegations.In some ways Fergie’s challenge can be seen as rhetorical, the reflex position of anyone under media attack. It was open to him to go to the BBC complaints unit (perhaps he did, but I’ve not seen anything in public) or even take the BBC to court for defamation, which he has chosen not to do. That may be a perfectly reasonable thing to do and should certainly not be taken as an admission of guilt, as to sue can be time-consuming and expensive, with no certain out come even if the journalism was faulty (as I think it probably was).Of course when it comes to boycotting certain media outlets , United were doing such things well before the Fergie era. I seem to recall the legendary David Meek was banned from his customary privileged place on the team bus after he had the temerity to question the way Frank O’Farrell was treated by the club when he was sacked as manager.

  24. Rob the Red says:

    Giles Oakley: You are correct about David Meek and thanks for that interesting and informative piece. Food for thought!

  25. Rob the Red says:

    Makes a very pleasant change from reading the oafish remarks from the dippers!

  26. SteRDLK says:

    Fergie probably didnt do the interview on Saturday as he was so pissed off and feared ripping a new arse out of the interviewer.

  27. john ferry says:

    I doubt that the BBC would have covered the story had it not been Jason “Ferguson.” Also, if no criminal charges were ever pressed against Jason, then perhaps SAF didn’t feel he had to reply publicly or otherwise. Rupert Merdoch is pure evil. This could be a politically motivated attack on SAF political views.
    “My background and my upbringing. My dad was on the left, and so were most people where I came from. I grew up in a very working-class area of Glasgow and I was always very conscious of the sense of community, people and families supporting each other”. -SAF

  28. Its in my blood says:

    SteRDLK- the decision not to do an interview was taken BEFORE the game, he didnt do one before or after. Quite right too. How i wish United would fight harder to retain their own tv rights. The best supported club in the world, we wouldn’t need bankrolling by anyone! Neither would we be at the mercy of Murdochs vile empire. Yet another sacrifice by us really, for the greater good of the game.

  29. Its in my blood says:

    Sorry Scott, meant to say good article!

  30. TonyBee says:

    Some good replies from Giles Oakley (as usual) Good blog from Scotty,
    why should SAF talk to the Beeb if he feels they tried to shaft his son, specially as lug ears Lineker and his dipper bumboy pals keep ripping the piss. FUCK EM

  31. Haakon says:

    Fergie didn’t speak to Sky before the game either.

  32. cantona7 says:

    He’s definitely an ABU. and the Times need SAF, so they are trying to do something here to get SAF.

    Should we boycott theTimes instead?

  33. TonyBee says:

    Nice and soft paper the Times is….. just right for wiping your arse when you run out of soft loorolls……


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