Belfast Telegraph

Sir Alex Ferguson stands firm on BBC ban

By Ian Herbert

Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday indicated his determination to continue to refuse interviews with the BBC, declaring that he would not face a fine from the Premier League on the issue.

“I don't think that's the case,” Ferguson said, when questioned for the first time on the issue, ahead of the Premier League board meeting at which the league will consider imposing fines for the manager's resolute refusal to speak to the Corporation.

Manchester United do not believe Ferguson can be fined personally as the league can only impose penalties on clubs, rather than individuals, and since they are ready to stand by him and pay out, Ferguson was right.

Personally, he will not be hit in the pocket. Ferguson also maintained a resolute outlook in the face of Chelsea's race to a position four points clear of his own side.

The United manager, who revealed that his club had been approached by Joe Cole's agent this summer but that “it was maybe just complicated to get involved in that,” said Carlo Ancelotti's side had benefited from a very easy, early start to the season.”

Chelsea had, nonetheless, “had a good start,” he added. “You can only do what you can do with the games you've got. You've got to address them. Every game in the Premier League has its own complications and difficulties and how you address them the right way is how you get the results.”

Ferguson clarified a position he left unclear on Tuesday by confirming that Nemanja Vidic would replace Gary Neville as captain even when Rio Ferdinand was fit.

After the strife of the Rafael Benitez years, the arrival of Roy Hodgson's Liverpool delivered some unusual bonhomie to the press conference.

The new Pool boss revealed he joked with Ferguson when he took over at Anfield that their friendship may have to come to an end.

“In a jocular way I asked whether now that I've taken the Liverpool job that we don't speak to each other. He didn't put the phone down. He made some cutting remark but I can't remember what it was,” he said. Hodgson also said he was unsure whether fans attempting to provoke Wayne Rooney would work against Liverpool. “They are things that football managers and coaches can do nothing about,” he said.

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