The Reserve Squad: Knives out for Ferguson

Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson is not backing down, even as the British FA launches an investigation into comments made surrounding a controversial decision to rescind a red card issued to Chelsea captain John Terry over the weekend. The move, which will allow Terry to compete in Chelsea’s league match against United this weekend, prompted an accusation of official bias by Ferguson, who claimed that the league’s chief referee “would never have done this for us.”

Upon being informed that his remarks merited a league investigation, Ferguson expanded his scathing indictment to include other ways in which United was being victimized within the Premiership.

“Look, for instance, at that Arab who just bought City,” said Ferguson. “Some billionaire trots in from away and buys up a British squad — it’s not a level playing field.”

Earlier this month, Suleiman al-Fahim, a billionaire from the United Arab Emirates, purchased a majority stake in Manchester City on behalf of an Abu Dhabi-based consortium. Financial details were not disclosed, but Ferguson claimed that United, with a paltry valuation of $1.8 billion, simply cannot compete with such economic heavyweights.

“You’ve got the Arabs, the Russians [Cheslea owner Roman Abramovich], coming in and buying up all the quality talent. What chance do traditional clubs like United have?”

Last week, City signed highly-touted Brazilian striker Robinho to a deal worth an estimated $57 million. United owner Malcolm Glazer could not be reached at his Tampa, Florida office for comment on the transfer, but Ferguson was happy to weigh in.

“You can’t simply throw your money and your clout around and lure these players from other countries and the lower-ranked squads in Britain,” said Ferguson. “What happened to building from the ground up? That is how a squad used to have success in this game, but I suppose times are changing.”

Ferguson bemoaned the fact that United — which have won only 10 Premiership titles in the last 15 years — are forced to subsist on players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Edwin van der Sar and Owen Hargreaves.

“It’s a wonder we manage to consistently sit atop the table at all.”

Ferguson’s initial comments came on the heels of a disappointing 2007-08 campaign for United, in which they were pushed to the final week of the Premier League season and penalty kicks in the Champions League final before they could claim the Double. Ferguson refused to say whether officiating bias had a part to play in that debacle, saying only, “a little breathing room would have been nice.”

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3 Responses to “The Reserve Squad: Knives out for Ferguson”

  1. Johny Borrell Says:

    I’m trying to figure whether out your post is steeped in irony or not? Disappointing 70/08 season, only 10 prem wins in the last 15 years. this makes it sound as if Fergy has been given shallow pockets… maybe candadians should stick to writing about ice hockey and snow.

  2. While Squizz himself may be steeped in vodka, this post is most certainly steeped in irony. You yourself appear to be steeped in national stereotypes.

  3. […] Oh, also, Sir Alex Ferguson’s players urged him to start complaining about alleged mistreatment from officials. I think it’s an appropriate time to dig up a Reserve Squad post I wrote last September, entitled Knives out for Ferguson. […]

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