Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Will the FA or anyone ever stand up to Fergie?

On Thursday, England manager Roy Hodgson included in-form Manchester United centre-half Rio Ferdinand in his squad for the World Cupqualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

On Friday, Sir Alex Ferguson expressed surprise at Ferdinand’s call-up and doubts about his fitness.

On Saturday, despite Rio's marauding run single-handedly creating Wayne Rooney's match-winner against Reading, Fergie hinted at his irritation with a caustic remark about the decreasing features of Rio's game. 
What's the point of cordial relations without co-operation?
On Monday, Rio withdrew citing the conflict between micro-managing his long term back problem with training, travelling and playing for England.

Cue pelters for Roy and his lack of communication and for Rio and the perceived revenge for his exclusion ‘for footballing reasons’ from last summer’s European Championship.

This, though, was another example of how Sir Alex Ferguson operates when he feels the interests of the Premier League’s most successful club are under threat. As he himself is fond of saying, ‘control comes with results’ and he needs to control everything and everybody.

Sir Alex intimidates match officials and the media and manipulates the Premier League and the Football Association. Anybody who questions his conduct is berated or banned.

He refused to speak to the BBC for seven years after they made allegations about his son’s activities as an agent. He threatened legal action. None came. He wanted an apology. None came.

Draw your own conclusions.

Only occasionally the tendency to tyranny is exposed. Like the time he was heard at a news conference trying to ban reporter Rob Harris of Associated Press for making a routine enquiry on Ryan Giggs. More often than not he gets away with it because the people who should have put a stop to this years ago are scared of him.

Can you imagine the manager of the New York Yankees refusing to talk to a rights holder for seven years without Major League Baseball intervening or the Dallas Cowboys coach demanding a reporter be banned for asking a question and the NFL standing idly by?

Perhaps Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore is too busy counting beans and his chairman Sir Dave Richards too embarrassed after yet another incident involving alcohol and a water feature.

Which leaves English football’s governing body. When he started talking to the BBC again just about the first thing Ferguson said was,
Richards' speech was daft enough without this indiscretion
“The FA treats us like sh*t.”

There is no record of David Bernstein, one of the best chairmen the FA has ever had, or General Secretary Alex Horne saying a word about Ferguson’s arrogant and damaging behaviour.
    
Only the FA have a range of objectives that clash with Fergie's agenda.

So when Roy Hodgson is forced to play midfielder Michael Carrick at centre-back against Montenegro because there is nobody else and England draw or lose a game they must win, it is because the men who should have stood up to a tyrant never did.

With United fan and former Old Trafford director, Greg Dyke about to take the reigns at Wembley, the chances of that happening are set to diminish even further.