For some years now Sir Alex Ferguson has been resolute in his refusal to talk to the BBC, until now it has not cost him or the club, but the enforcement of new rules in the Premier League mean that his silence could potentially cost the club just under £1 million over the course of the season. The new rules compel employees of clubs to talk to broadcasters of the Premier League, and by not talking to the BBC Ferguson is in breech of the rulses. The club’s hierarchy have given their full backing to Ferguson in this respect, but will it be the most pointless £1 million that United have ever spent?
Sir Alex Ferguson’s wall of silence against the BBC stems back from a program broadcast 2004, which alledged that Ferguson’s son Jason, then a football agent, had very close links to Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson has since refused to speak to the BBC, accusing them of being arrogant and demanding an apology for the program, something he has yet to receive. Whilst there has been no punishment in the past for Ferguson’s actions, there will be this season and the club could face fines of up to £25,000 each time he snubs the BBC for an interview. Ferguson though, has no intention on breaking his silence and the club have backed their manager to the hilt, perhaps not surprising given his reputation Old Trafford.
In what seems like straitened financial times for Man Utd however, this seems like a complete waste of the club’s finances. It may not be an absolutely huge amount of money, but surely it would be better spent on the academy, or developing some young talent at the club. It leaves no doubt over who is in charge at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson is the top man and the clubs board know this, but some might say they are being far too conciliatory to a man, who despite all his successes, is still an employee at the club. You imagine for instance, if Ian Holloway refused to speak to the BBC, Blackpool would not be too happy about paying out regular fines.
The whole situation just seems to be very immature. It is not just Ferguson, the BBC might want to consider taking a look at themselves, whatever was behind their documentary, be it truthful or not, would it not just be so much easier for them to issue an apology? It really does seem like sorry is the hardest word. Ferguson is hardly covering himself in glory either, he has shown a great deal of stubbornness and he clearly intends to continue in this manner despite the fines his club are going to receive.
It is irritating when you are watching Match of the Day and you don’t get to hear the opinions of Sir Alex Ferguson. You might have hoped that the system of fines that are going to be implemented this season would have persuaded him to start talking to the BBC again, but that does not seem like it is going to be the case. Manchester United seem more than ready to accept their punishment, and it may be a while before we see Ferguson on the BBC again.