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Ferguson’s media blackout a step too far

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Sir Alex Ferguson Media BlackoutFirst things first, two losses on the trot does not equate to a collapse. There will, no doubt, be doom-mongers keen to tell you otherwise this morning. Whilst it’s certainly true that losses to the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool in such close proximity at this stage in the Premier League are far from satisfactory, let’s not lose track of the fact that we start a new week with United still sitting three points clear at the top of the table having tackled the majority of their ‘tougher’ fixtures. With Arsenal’s form waxing and waning in equal measure, it’s still Manchester United’s title to lose.

Whilst there will no doubt be a feeling of disappointment pervasive amongst United fans, it is best, for now at least, to quell the tendency to be reactionary, and wait instead to see how this side reacts.

I’m sure there will be plenty of articles about how and where United disappointed on the pitch. I’m also struck, however, with the feeling of disappointment by Sir Alex Ferguson’s behaviour off the pitch.

In what was reportedly a pre-meditated move, following Sunday’s game against Liverpool, Ferguson refused to speak to hosts Sky Sports, TalkSport and MUTV. It’s a gambit that might have repercussions should any of these media organisations find the nerve to make an official complaint to the Premier League.

The media blackout seems to have been provoked by the furore, hullabaloo and hubbub surrounding Ferguson’s comments in the aftermath of United’s defeat to Chelsea last week. Ferguson, claimed that he had “feared the worst” when it was revealed that Martin Atkinson was due to referee the game at Stamford Bridge. Sentiments that many a United fan will echo, no doubt, but the Football Association balked at the comments, slapping him with a charge for improper conduct.

At this stage it’s unclear how long Sir Alex Ferguson will refuse to speak to the Press. What is clear however, is that Ferguson’s boycott is a direct contravention of the Premier League’s rules.

Corporations like Sky Sports, TalkSport and the BBC spend a fortune acquiring the rights to Premier League football and the ability to interview Manager’s after games is supposed to be part of the parcel. But let’s forget about money for a second – it’s tough to find sympathy for the minor-troubles of multi-millionaire corporations. What about the fans?

More than ever, when your side disappoints, the Manager has a role to play in corresponding and manipulating the response of the supporters who shell out on a weekly basis to go see United play. The anger and disappointment that one may feel as a result of incurring a loss can often be tempered by the knowledge that those in charge know that there is work to be done in certain areas. Good words, or at least, the right words, can rally the troops, add colour to a rather bleak situation whilst at the same time vindicating any ill-feeling or anger.

Sometimes fans just want the Manager to acknowledge that what their side served up simply wasn’t good enough.

That’s what’s disheartening about Ferguson’s shunning of the media – particularly his refusal to speak to MUTV. It’s not just the BBC et al that miss out. It’s the disregard for the fans that paints the whole affair in a rather ugly hue.

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2 comments

  • Jazzzy says:

    FA dictates that Ferguson has to give post match interviews. He gets lippy and then throws a strop when he’s punished.
    Throw the rulebook at him.

  • TomCostello says:

    I agree. As always, its the fans that suffer. Sir Alex Ferguson had made a stand against the BBC, and once can’t argue with a mans principles, but a total media silence is nonsensical. Somebody at the top must throw the book at Fergie here

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