Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fergie goes to war with the Sun....

Fergie issues Red card to the Sun's Ian McGarry and Neil Custis: Banned for unspecified time limit

On the very day that the Times - somewhat bizarrely in my opinion - named Fergie as the most powerful man in sport, the Sun (another News International tabloid), attacked United and Fergie when labelling the club as "Cup Killers".

The Sun's story dominated Saturday's main back-page and it quoted Fergie stating that both United and Spurs would be investigating a little known 128 year-old rule which states that with the agreement of both participating clubs they could if they so wish play extra time in the event of a cup-tie being drawn at full-time, rather than go to a replay after 90 minutes.

Whether or not the Sun's back-page screamer headline "Cup Killers" brought about a change of heart by Fergie is a moot point. Even if both clubs had wanted to use the 128 year-old rule, it would have been impossible on this occasion because they needed to have given at least seven days notice prior to invoking the rule.

According to informed sources, the rule was designed to help clubs in the lower leagues in the earlier stages of the competition and invoking it at this stage would not have been in the spirit of the FA Cup, as Fergie later conceded in his post-match interview after United ran out 2-1 winners over Tottenham.

Fergie was speaking to ITV when the United manager back-tracked from his earlier comments and at the same time he went ballistic about the report when confirming it would be a very long time before he speaks to the Sun again. The most powerful man in sport has spoken and once again he has decreed that those who stitch-him-up must suffer the consequences.

United fans will have mixed feelings about Ian McGarry and Neil Custis taking Fergie to task over what appeared to be a clear indication to look into this rule. Some fans, will take the view that Fergie is right to ban the Sun because this story will only add to the media created myth that United have helped to take the shine off the FA Cup. These are the very same people who slag off United, but they conveniently forget that the champions hold the record for the most number of wins in the competition. Others like me wouldn't be happy to see the back of replays, my favourite game of all time was our replay with Arsenal in 1999 at Villa Park.

On balance I think the Sun - as they almost always do - went completely over the top with that headline. It was a ridiculous statement to make and one that has somewhat backfired on the newspaper - depending on your point of view that is.

1 comment:

  1. Well past time that someone has the balls to take on the Sun! They think they can bully anyone with impunity, and they're right! They get away with it every week and people are scared to fight back because they don't want reporters looking in their bins, paparazzi at the door and hacks inventing lies. Good on yer Fergie!

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