He is perhaps not every journalist’s favourite Premier League manager, but Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has now promised to help football writers and broadcasters even less in future.
Fergie is angry about an interview giving during United’s pre-season tour of South Africa in which he says he was misquoted. He commented on the number of players in rival Chelsea’s squad aged 30 or over – comments interpreted as him writing off the Londoners as “too old”.
“I gave you access in South Africa and I shouldn’t have given you access,” he said. “It won’t happen again. From now on, no matter how many miles you travel to get an interview, you won’t get one.”
Ferguson was speaking at a mandatory press conference, at the behest of European football governing body UEFA – not turning up gets you a fine – so reporters will at least be able to some quotes from him.
The Football Association has similar rules about managers giving post-match interviews, but after it made a documentary about Ferguson’s son in 2004, he refuses to give interviews to the BBC at all, sending out his assistant manager.