ALEX Ferguson still refuses to have anything to do with the BBC. This season it was expected that Man Utd’s manager would finally end his self-imposed boycott of the corporation, which he once accused of “breathtaking arrogance”. The stand-off resulted when, in 2004, BBC show ‘Panorama’ aired an investigation into Fergie’s son Darren, currently the manager of Preston North End, but working as a football agent at the time. Ferguson senior branded the documentary ‘nonsense’.
After Man Utd’s 2-2 draw at Fulham on Sunday, Fergie was a no-show for his post-match interview with Match of the Day, which under new Premier League rules (made to force United’s boss to end his boycott), he is obliged to give. He will be fined for refusing to turn up – he sends assistant manager Mike Phelan instead – but we’re talking amounts in four figures (£1k per snub, reportedly), which won’t really concern a multi-millionaire.
Match of the Day anchor Gary Lineker said: “It’s a shame. We would like him to speak to us because we respect him and his teams, and always have done.
“It makes no difference to the programme because it’s action-led. But it does make a difference to the Manchester United fans. They are the ones missing out.
“I get letters saying: ‘We never hear from Sir Alex,’ and I have to explain. It’s something he feels very strongly about, so what can you do?”
I’m with Lineker here. It’s frustrating when Ferguson doesn’t show up because he remains one of the most fascinating and volatile men in British football – the very opposite of Mike ‘straight bat’ Phelan. The Scot may not always be right, but he is almost always worth listening to. That said, if the Beeb made a film about one of my family which I judged to be a hatchet job, I would hardly be rushing to speak to them. But it’s been six years now and Ferguson should really move on.