Loyalty is one thing, but player’s progress is surely another

We all know that Alex Ferguson is one of the greatest managers of his generation – what we were reminded of last week though is what a graceless man he can be too.

I am biased against him though, but he doesn’t make it difficult to hate him, not that any United fans will care, nor should they.

Darren Ferguson was sacked at the end of last week, a decision not that surprising considering their results and poor league position – the club itself is in a very poor financial position, making the need to avoid relegation almost their last chance of salvation, and the need for loan signings all the greater.

Alex Ferguson though was known to be furious at the sacking, as is his right – he will rightly be protective of his family.

But this does not make what he did next defensible – in fact it was beyond the pale. He immediately recalled 2 United players on loan at Preston, and a third player receiving treatment for an injury back in Manchester has clearly been advised not to return.

Why he has done this is clear – revenge. But taking him and the clubs out of this, the people who suffer most out of all of this is the players themselves. They wanted to stay – they want to develop and want time on the pitch to help do this – but they are being used as pawns in a petty argument. And it hardly helps United to have these players back at United playing in the reserves. No doubt they will soon be loaned out somewhere else, but there’s no guarantee they will play.

Defenders of Ferguson will point out the loans only happened as a favour to his son, so once he is not there, the favour is no longer needed – but I hardly see this as an excuse as it makes a mockery of the whole system – the system is not there for old pals’ networks and favours.

On the surface Tony Pulis’s decision to then recall two of his players from Preston reeks of one of Ferguson’s bunch of acolytes doing as he was told. Ferguson was busy yesterday criticising Arsene Wenger for criticising the style of play of Stoke while Pulis was keen to point out United would have first refusal on Shawcross. It seems however that Pulis had talked of recalling the players two weeks previously in a press conference, so fair enough. Don’t expect any of these players to appear near a Premiership football pitch anytime soon though.

Ferguson protects his family – a Panorama programme questioning his agent son is the reason he still refuses to speak to the BBC. But perhaps for once he should put personal prejudices and nepotism to one side and do what’s best for his club and his players.

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