Rio Ferdinand with Puff DaddyUnited have had a relatively successful December, picking up fifteen points from a possible eighteen. The loss against West Ham yesterday cost us our place at the top of the table, but following the events of the Christmas party, I’m surprised the price we had to pay wasn’t more severe.Stories of roastings and rape were all over the papers, tabloids and broadsheets alike, which will have left Sir Alex Ferguson seething. He had begrudgingly given in to the players’ wish for a Christmas party, Rio Ferdinand leading the way. Ferdinand planned the do, drafting in hand picked girls to accompany the players in the bars and hotel they went to. Wives and girlfriends were banned from attending the all night party which finished at Great John Street Hotel, with the event looking a recipe for disaster the moment the plans were leaked to the press.

Ferguson likes to keep his players on a short leash, successfully managing to protect the youngsters from outside influences which could damage their career. Lee Sharpe was the one who got away, hitting the self destruct button on his footballing pathway. Beckham, Giggs, Butt, Scholes, the Nevilles, Gillespie etc. have all enjoyed long football careers after undergoing the early guidance of Ferguson, who is well known for employing ‘spies’ to make sure his players were behaving as they should be.

Today, our manager has spoken out about the people who may pose a threat to the strict controls over the players, and how they must be dealt with immediately. “Football has changed but you cannot lose your control,” said Ferguson. “We make changes here at Manchester United when we see anyone interfering with that control. When we see this it’s time for them to go. Times have changed for me as a manager. But this club is based on everyone together. When anyone starts going off at tangents you have to make changes.”

He couldn’t possibly be talking about Rio Ferdinand here, could he? A cockney wideboy who has made no attempt to hide his love for bling, orchestrating the Christmas orgy fest which resulted in one of youngsters landing himself with a rape charge.

Ferguson doesn’t stop there though. “What annoys me about some footballers today is the personal glory thing,” he added. “They score a goal and knock players out of the road so they can get personal gratification and play to the fans. The present day footballer needs to be noticed with his ear-rings and tattoos. But people in general need to be noticed, it’s not just footballers. They don’t go to small, intimate restaurants, they go to places that are big and bright where you are seen and get noticed. It is difficult to control.”

Sir Alex Ferguson is a man who ruthlessly gave David Beckham, Jaap Stam and Ruud van Nistelrooy the chop. Does Rio Ferdinand need to watch out?