Following recent comments from Sir Alex Ferguson about Dimitar Berbatov appeared in The Sun, Tottenham Hotspur’s chairman, Daniel Levy, launched a scathing attack on the United boss. He claimed he was going to report United (along with Liverpool) to the Premier League following what he regarded the tapping up of wantaway Berbatov.
The following day, Fergie cut Levy in half with his response, mocking the Spurs man for basing his argument on the say so of a tabloid newspaper, claiming there was no truth to it.
The embarrassed Spurs fans, who just the day before were indignant and extremely vocal with their feelings for Fergie, began to spread whispers of an interview that had been taken down from the Scandinavian Supporters website. This was where the quotes The Sun quoted originated. A ha! Fergie is guilty afterall!
Well, until today, when the Scandinavian website sheepishly admitted that there actually had been no mention of Berbatov in the taped interview.
“We have confirmed the comments came from Sir Alex talking at a supporters’ meeting,” a spokesman for Tottenham said last week. “Our evidence will be submitted to the Premier League and checked by our lawyers. We would not have said what we have said without substantial evidence.”
Sadly for Spurs, their “substantial evidence” is what was printed on a fan website, not what was actually said in the interview with Fergie. United have checked the tape and there is nothing untoward in the transcript.
“We have made a bid for one player who would enhance us a great deal,” said Ferguson before flying to Cape Town in the interview with the Scandinavian Supporters website. However, upon landing, The Sun ran the story with the following quote. “We have made Tottenham an offer on Berbatov and we have good expectations that this deal will go through.”
Regardless, Spurs seem to think they have a years worth of evidence suggesting that United have tapped up their striker, and have submitted a dossier to the Premier League. The article in The Sun seems to be what has prompted them though, leaving them looking more than a bit foolish right now.
The supporters’ site, which is based in Norway, have held their hands up to the misquoting in their interview today.
“A feather has become 35 hens here. It might seem like we are to blame for what has happened,” admitted the branch’s webmaster Steinar Madsen to Aftonposten. “We are to the blame in the sense how the interview was presented. Ferguson didn’t mention the name Berbatov when he was interviewed by us. I would call it a misunderstanding. It was tricky conditions for the interview. As journalists, you have probably experienced this yourself, how it is to listen to the tape afterwards. That can cause problems and Ferguson’s accent is not too easy to understand to start with. Ferguson confirmed that United had tabled an offer. We assumed it was Berbatov he was talking about. We might have taken it too far.”
So, what now? We will patiently wait to see the outcome of the Premier League’s investigation. Us mere fans have no idea what has gone on behind the scenes, so can only hope that United have handled the situation suitably behind the scenes.
However, I’d be happy enough to see Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov denied moves to clubs of their choice, and thereby denying them Champions League football. Berbatov is a quality player and would be a great addition to our squad, but we don’t need him to be successful. After kicking up such a fuss, it would be rather entertaining to see both United and Liverpool cleared of any wrong-doing, whilst Spurs are stuck with two players who are desperate to play elsewhere.
I wonder just how badly Berbatov wishes he made a different choice back in 2006…
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.