Fergusons continue keeping it in the family



There’s something about Sir Alex Ferguson’s nepotism that is both enduring and utterly shameless: from BBC accusations that the Manchester United manager pressured young players into signing with agent son Jason, to the recent loans of young players to whatever club manager son Darren is running, and conveniently arranged friendlies.

So it continues, with Red youngsters Ryan Tunnicliffe and Scott Wootton this week joining Championship outfit Peterborough United for the next six months. If history is repeated the pair may well not be the last United kids to end up at London Road this season.

Tunnicliffe, 18, last season’s United Young Player of the Year, has signed immediately, with 19-year-old Woootton joining the midfielder at Posh’s Portuguese training camp before officially signing forms in July.

“Ryan is obviously an up and coming player at Manchester United. He was very inspirational in helping to win the FA Youth Cup,” said Darren Ferguson.

“He has a very good pedigree and we feel that he is ready to step up and play in the Championship. He is a tenacoious, box-to-box midfielder and this move works well for him and obviously works very well for us. I am delighted to have him on board and look forward to working with him.”

Peterborough will play in the Championship next season after earning promotion from League One via the play-offs in May, following Ferguson Jr’s return to the club in January. The 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford earned the club a third promotion in the last four seasons.

Yet junior has suffered several ups and downs in a fledgling managerial career. The promotions with Poshwere tempered by a dramatic sacking at Preston last December. Near the foot of the Championship, North End chairman Maurice Lindsay terminated the 39-year-old coach’s contract a year into the job.

Old Traffor’s reaction was seemingly swift and brutal, with senior reportedly demanding the early and immediate end to the loans of Joshua King and Ritchie de Laet. Due to contractual terms of a third United player, Matthew James, the midfielder did not return to Old Trafford for another fortnight.

“That has come as a bit of a shock to us and it’s a bit of a blow. Ritchie and Josh won’t now be available on Saturday,” Lindsay told North End’s website at the time.

“We got a message from Manchester United that they have been summoned back immediately. Under the terms of the loan agreement they can do that, we recognise United’s legal right to do that. They would like Matty James back as well, but his contract is a bit different.”

Senior later claimed that the players requested to not remain at Deepdale after the change of manager, although the explanation took nearly a month to arrive. Suspicion of senior’s power to affect Deepdale grew after former United academy players Danny Pugh and Michael Tonge were recalled from loan by parent club Stoke City almost immediately after junior’s sacking. That Stoke manager Tony Pulis resides in Sir Alex’ inner sanctum of managerial friends only adds to the curiosity.

“I spoke with the owner, Trevor Hemmings, with whom I have a good relationship, and explained that the players did not want to go back,” said Ferguson of the abrupt recalls.

“Our reserve team coach, Warren Joyce, spoke to me about it. We decided that the players should go to training that day and we would discuss it later. We decided that if the players did not want to go back there was no point in them being there.”

Yet, there has been more than one accusation of nepotism when it comes to the Ferguson family. The Knight’s dispute with the BBC – he has spoken to or on the corporation’s channels on a very few select occasions – dates back to the broadcaster’s 2004 Panorama documentary, which ostensibly accused Jason of exploiting his father’s influence to sign United’s younger players to his agency books. The Beeb’s accusation has been met with silence but no legal action.

Neither is Darren free of controversy after admitting in April 2008 to assaulting his estranged wife in the driveway of Sir Alex’s Wilmslow home. Junior changed his plea to guilty after initially denying the charge and was fined £1,500. The younger Ferguson is now regularly subjected to terrace abuse about the incident.

Whatever the reasons for this week’s loans – surely only the most myopic of United supporter can claim anything bar nepotism – Wootton and Tunnicliffe may will benefit from first team action if Posh can start the season in some semblance of early season form.

Following the 2008/9 promotion from League One Peterborough’s limited budget and inability to invest in new talent resulted in Ferguson leaving Peterborough “by mutual consent” in November 2009, with Posh bottom of the table and heading for relegation. Senior later claimed to have told his son to leave Peterborough that summer.

Tunnicliffe and Wootton will hope for a brighter start this time around. Anything else and junior will be on the end of a third P45 in as many seasons. Either that or a rash of new United kids to play with.

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Comments

  1. Zi Indefatigable says:

    SAF obviously feels comfortable with his players being under the supervision of a manager he knows well and can trust. That’s why we loan to many of the same teams.

  2. Ed,
    I see that despite all that SAF has won since 2005 you can’t resist the urge to put the knife in nor cast aspersions on the man’s character eh?

    And yet I get people here who come on the hurl insults at me because I felt that Paul Scholes had over stayed and it was great he had retired. You have ALWAYS found it easy to take pops at Sir Alex and I remember the battles we used to have on this site in ’05 – the main reason I joined. Amazing.

    So what if he sends our players to Posh? They are in the Championship and the lads need games.

    • Cal – got nothing to do with ‘putting the knife in’ or ‘casting aspersions on his character’. These players are only going to Peterborough because his son is in charge. If Ferguson Jr was in charge of any other side they’d be going there instead.

      So what? Well has the decision been made for the benefit of the players and United first? Or Ferguson’s personal agenda with helping his son. It’s a perfectly fair question to ask in my honest opinion.

  3. Will those players get more game time at Posh? Especially because they have been loaned from the manager’s dad? Most likely. So, if they do get more playing time then Utd’s cause has been well served.

  4. Listen man, I come from a country of nepotists and I know one when I see it. This one does not seem like it at all to me believe me. It is more of SAF’s control freak mentality. he knows that while those players are at Posh he will have them under control cos of who their manager is.

    Besides, you know more than most that football is filled with nepotism and who-you-know lets you get ahead. It is deeply corrupt sport with England the cleanest around. if most of us who follow this sport see the true horrible sight of the players/managers/agent/administrators we just might pack it and just stop watching and spending money and energy.

    Anyway, carry on mate. I respect your views. I hate flip-floppers. By the way, who here is Daniel Taylor of the Guardian. I have no doubt that the fellow is on this site. When I read most of his stuff on the Guardian I can see him picking up on most of our arguments here. So, go on, spit it out cos am sure you know. Rob Smythe might be trawling on here too. Like Rob though.

  5. Calvino said:
    Ed,
    I see that despite all that SAF has won since 2005 you can’t resist the urge to put the knife in nor cast aspersions on the man’s character eh?

    The same can be said about you and Giggs & Scholes
    You wanted them to retire 5 years ago – but look at what they have done for us since

  6. Rubbish Sid and you know it. I wanted Scholes to retire at the end of the ’08 season. His performances after proved it that he was washed up. Giggs was better because he was moved inside as he had no pace to out run any PL full-back again. All bare face facts. All that we won since ’08 have been inspite of Paul Scholes. My view. Still is.

  7. reddread says:

    Cal, you are losing it. Why would Dan Taylor be on here? He is a Forest fan, for starters, and I don’t recall ever reading him rehash any specific arguments from here in the Guardian. He’s a journalist, and therefore will have all kinds of sources. You think what we say here is exclusive to Rant? Quite besides that, we are lucky to get 20 posts some days. Hardly a hotbed of opinion for a national newspaper footy writer to pick the bones out of. He may well have a browse, and maybe even post under a pseudonym, but I think you may be holding the forum, ignore the site itself, in rather too high a regard. No offence, Ed!

  8. reddread says:

    Oh, and to deny nepotism in these cases is short sighted in the extreme. It isn’t the sending out of players on loan to the team that Darren managed that would seem to prove this theory, but the way in which they were called back virtually the second he was sacked. Did that do the players or United any good? I think not…

    “The longbow beats the crossbow, my idiotic friend”

    LUHG

  9. reddread said:
    Cal, you are losing it. Why would Dan Taylor be on here? He is a Forest fan, for starters, and I don’t recall ever reading him rehash any specific arguments from here in the Guardian. He’s a journalist, and therefore will have all kinds of sources. You think what we say here is exclusive to Rant? Quite besides that, we are lucky to get 20 posts some days. Hardly a hotbed of opinion for a national newspaper footy writer to pick the bones out of. He may well have a browse, and maybe even post under a pseudonym, but I think you may be holding the forum, ignore the site itself, in rather too high a regard. No offence, Ed!

    I love Cal. I really do

  10. baggio365 says:

    is he really a forest fan? most of his articles are very pro united.

    and for the loan deals, i’m with cal. if they get game time, then i’ll be happy. nothing worse than sending a player out on loan and them not playing. and obviously fergie is helping his son, but unless the FA say its illegal, then he can keep doing it. same way he loans/sells players to managers who he likes. thats just the way the game works

  11. Gabagool says:

    Who gives a shit if it’s nepotistic?
    As long as it works out well for the players and the clubs, and Fergie still has some say/control in how they play etc then I don’t give a monkeys how nepotistic it is.
    Who are we to take the moral high ground? This shit goes on in practically every business/industry there is.

  12. I agree with you fully on this point, Cal. There is a bit of a weird urge in some parts to keep digging at SAF for not, I suppose, quitting when the Glazers took over. Personally I think every United fan should be thanking him for sticking with it and winning 4 PLs and a CL and a lot of other glory besides during these dark years, but that’s just me.

  13. reddread says:

    I don’t think the article is having a dig at him per se, it’s just pointing out certain things he’s guilty of. It is hardly ‘Fergie Out!’. Anyway, if it gets us talking about something other than fucking transfer rumours, I’m all for it! I couldn’t care less if if it is nepotistic either, but denying it is, as Cal did, is just silly.

    Baggio, Taylor is a Forest fan. Check his Twitter profile @DTGuardian

  14. Tom Addison says:

    I take my hat off to you for writing an article that isn’t written through the lenses of red-tinted specs. It appears that one of the core rules of the fundamentalist sect of United fans is that Fergie is immune from any sort of criticism at all. Any United fan that says the BBC boycott from the champagne socialist isn’t embarrassing in any way isn’t, in my opinion, being completely honest with himself.

    And Calvino, what do you mean by saying that you hate “flip-floppers?” As the great John Maynard Keynes said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

    • Tom – I have never believed that Sir Alex is immune from criticism. It’s characterised here as ‘having a go at Ferguson’ or ‘Fergie bashing’. That is, of course, simplistic nonsense. I’ve written many articles here and in other media in full praise of Ferguson’s many great characteristics.

      But this is a deal – along with those that took players to Preston last season and the 2008 friendly against Peterborough – that were motivated solely by patronage. Nobody at Old Trafford questions Ferguson and he has the power to act on a whim.

      Yes these kids will play in the coming six months but Peterborough is not a stable club, has very poor facilities and a limited coaching staff. Tunnicliffe especially, but Wootton too, can both play at a higher level than the foot of the Championship. Is this the right environment for them?

      Then there’s the case for the club. Fact: United would have picked up a larger loan fee from a more established club. (My guess is zero from Posh but we should get a decent idea from the next accounts). Point being this is nepotism and it does have consequences.

  15. uncleknobheadffs uncleknobheadforfucksake says:

    are either of the players even much cop

    LKHF

    faffing

  16. Waxfoot says:

    I don’t rate Darren Ferguson as a manager, but him being at Peterborough is handy as it gives us the chance to send Tunnicliffe to a Championship club where he will be sure to get gametime. This wouldn’t be guarenteed anywhere other than with Ferguson junior. Does this make the blatant nepotism right? Of course not. But in this instance, Sir Alex is acting out of everyone’s best interests I think.

  17. You might think that this is objective stuff, Ed, but to me the tone smells of an accusation against the whole Ferguson clan of moral depravity. Some might suggest the pursuit of a personal vendetta. Another reading might be that SAF trusts Darren & will find it easy to communicate with him about Tunicliffe’s progress. Yes SAF is doing Darren a favour, as he might do to other mates in the management game, but Darren will do us a favour by playing Tunicliffe regularly & taking care of the lad. The bottom line is that the move is in Ryan Tunicliffe’s & United’s best interest. Raking up details of Darren’s marriage problems is petty, scurrilous & serves no purpose.

    • ian – please do grow up, its no more a personal vendetta against the Fergusons than I’m starting an obsequious cult when I’ve praised the man – on literally hundreds of occasions – over the past seven years writing on this site. But I’m not going to change a policy of “telling it like I see it”. I see this as nepotism not “moral depravity”. Not that I would stoop to defend Ferguson junior’s “marriage problems” – he was convicted in a criminal court of assaulting his ex-wife. If it had been a rival player or manager can you imagine the stick United fans would have handed out?

  18. The nepotism is a point you have raised before Yes, Fergie has been responsible for certain favors to family members. (You could point out Martin Ferguson as well but he does an excellent job for United so that might not suit the article.) Fergie obviously has a vengeful streak in him and the whole Preston episode last season was unsavory to say the least.

    Re: Peterborough, I think it isn’t a bad move for the lads, they are championship standard players and at a lower level club they will be playing regularly hopefully. At a Cardiff or a West Ham they won’t be playing regularly. We loan players to a number of Championship clubs at all levels play off contenders and relegation fighters.

    With Loan players most do spend one day a week anyway training at Carrington so they can get better training done there. The drop in training standards are compensated by the experience of first team football and we don’t expect loan fees for young players it’s not the done thing for Premiership clubs.

    Fergie certainly has been guilty of nepotism previously of course but this move suits everyone and this article seems to be a bit of an over reaction but he answers to no one and when he is winning I am happy to put up with it.

  19. Ed, you are having a pop at SAF; fair enough no-one is sacrosanct, but let’s concentrate on United. Nepotism is a policy of keeping a matter within the confines of the family …. regardless of whether it is the best interest of all concerned; therefore it is always morally dubious. In this case the matter would seem to be calculated in the best interests of all the parties; there it is sensible & pragmatic. Surely you are trying to argue that SAF is intent on a policy which is morally wrong; I think that you are barking upthe wrong tree here. I agrre with you SAF is no angel & like all of us has made some poor decisions; this is not one of them.

    • ian – Oh please, why do you feel the need to speak for me?

      What I mean by nepotism, since you’re struggling with this concept, is the very definition of the word: “Favouritism granted to relatives or friends regardless of merit.” It is about policy not outcomes. I didn’t mention morals; you did. This decision has been made because Darren is Alex’ son. The outcomes might be ok – might be – but unless you’re telling me that the club undertook an objective evaluation of all options for these kids and made a decision based on this alone then this is by definition nepotism. You’re ok with that. But I think it’s fine to ask whether it is ok for a multi-billion pound business to conduct its affairs this way. It is an over simplification to characterise that question as “having a pop”.

  20. This isnt nepotism, its Saf the control freak using people he knows he can control to get what’s best for his own ends.

  21. Commenter said:
    This isnt nepotism, its Saf the control freak using people he knows he can control to get what’s best for his own ends.

    My point exactly. However, the almighty reddread thinks am being “silly”.

  22. Come on Ed, be realistic. What possible relevance, to United, are Darren Ferguson’s dealings with his ex-wife? The only possible conclusion to draw is that you wish to tar the Ferguson family with dirty innuendo. “Nepotism” is not a neutral term; it implies unsavoury behaviour & that is made clear in the tone of the whole piece. Let’s agree that sending Tunicliffe on loan to the Posh is not a shockingly bad bit of business. Now signing Bebe, taking advice, allegedly, from a member of the “family” -Carlos Queiroz- was very poor business judgement.

    • ian – why keep attempting to put words in my mouth? You can keep trying to redirect this conversation your agenda by attempting to put words in my mouth but its not serving you well. I have no vendetta against Ferguson. Lose your red tinted specs and consider the issues.

      I’ve explained my position more than once and stick with it. In my opinion the deal for two United youngsters (now three including Ajose) is a classic case of nepotism.

      The wider argument, including the Bebe deal, is that Ferguson (who is not a director of any United related business) acts with total impunity. Name another non-football business where a middle-manager could make a decision on an asset worth potentially millions with another member of his family and enact within his fiduciary duties but face no scrutiny. I’ll say it again – it’s a fair question to ask. At no point during this debate have you been able to challenge my charge of nepotism.

      The point about Ferguson junior is relevant. He’s a convicted (ex) wife beater. The type of person for whom United should be dealing without proper oversight?

  23. baggio365 says:

    if fergie wants to loan out players to managers he favours, then its his choice

    but surely the board would intervene if we are selling players to a lower bidder just cause fergie says so. unless the player refuses to go anywhere else, then surely peterborough’s offer much be equivalent to that of the other clubs

    • baggio365 – the board doesn’t meet to approve deals. It’s a call to Tampa. I have to say I doubt Bryan or Joel Glazer are consulted on external loans/bids for minor players. And if they are its pretty clear there’s little oversight bar the annual budget set. Evidence: the Bebe deal went through with no check, balance or scrutiny except from the press.

  24. Like all bullies, SAF loves the Glazers because they are scared of him. He can do exactly what he likes because he knows they are terrified of him walking away from the club, especially with no obvious successor waiting to replace him.
    The old plc and the Coolmore two were far more strict with what he could and could not do. No wonder he is always praising the Glazers, particularly as like Gill, Charlton and others, he does not have to pay for tickets.

  25. baggio365 says:

    Ed said:
    baggio365 – the board doesn’t meet to approve deals. It’s a call to Tampa. I have to say I doubt Bryan or Joel Glazer are consulted on external loans/bids for minor players. And if they are its pretty clear there’s little oversight bar the annual budget set. Evidence: the Bebe deal went through with no check, balance or scrutiny except from the press.

    fair enuf. the bebe deal though is an exceptionally odd one. i wonder if we’ll ever learn the complete truth behind that purchase.

  26. Ed said:
    ian –

    The point about Ferguson junior is relevant. He’s a convicted (ex) wife beater. The type of person for whom United should be dealing without proper oversight?

    Louis Edwards made money by selling condemned meat to the schools of Manchester for years and he was on the United board for decades, A non business related conviction is pretty much irrelevant to United.

  27. squigs said:
    Louis Edwards made money by selling condemned meat to the schools of Manchester for years and he was on the United board for decades, A non business related conviction is pretty much irrelevant to United.

    :lol: Pick that out Ed! Take a bow Squigs

    • Cal – I wasn’t quite sure of the point or its relevance to United’s current management or policies. Maybe I didn’t get it, particularly since Edwards wasn’t actually convicted of anything, dodgy as he may have been.

  28. Ed, I know that you like to josh around with the old semantics, but I do not agree that SAF loaning Tunicliffe to the Posh is an example of nepotism.
    Let’s be accurate, nepotism is:
    “The practice, on the part of Popes, or other ecclesiastics, (& hence other persons) of showing special favour in conferring offices; unfair preference of nephews or relaives to other qualified persons”. OED
    The key word here is “unfair”. I think that a strong case can be made that the loan is in the best interest of both United & the player.

    • ian – Well you’ve specified that “unfair” is the key word to suit your argument, nobody else does. Neither does OED… you do get how a semi-column affects the clause of a sentence, right? But hey, what’s 400 years of dictionary in comparison to ian!

      Here’s some alternates since you want to play the dictionary game….

      Miriam Webster: “favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship”
      Dictionary.com: “patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics”
      Cambridge: “using your power or influence to get good jobs or unfair advantages for members of your own family”
      Chambers: “the practice of favouring one’s relatives or friends, especially in making official appointments.”
      Collins: “favouritism shown to relatives and friends by those with power”

      My point stands. Ferguson’s decision is based on patronage. Favouritism handed to his son because he is his son. As I’ve said repeatedly it is not about OUTCOMES but INPUTS. It may turn out right for these boys but it was a decision made with family in mind. Nobody has so far challenged that, including you. Is this any way for a non-executive middle manager to act regarding multi-million assets in a £2 billion organisation?

  29. You can’t compare Ferguson’s role to a non-executive middle manager.

    Middle managers don’t get paid £5 million + per year and don’t hold the role of figurehead.

  30. He has more influence then any member of the board bar possibly the chairmen. That goes for most of the 92 managers in the football league. This influence is shown in the man’s remuneration package.
    It’s different to a normal business. Members of the board have nowhere near the pay level or power of Fergie, most of the United board have held their positions since 1983, that’s not how your average PLC operates.
    United are not a £2 billion company and these assets (youth players) are not worth millions of pounds at this stage which only confounds my belief that you are making more of this then it really is. As I said before he has done stuff that is not befitting of how a manager of Manchester United should behave and go at him for that but this really is not it.

    • squigs – 1) Market cap if IPO’d today wouldn’t be far short. 2) My bet is that a transfer tribunal would set a figure in the low hundreds of thousands with add ons. So yes, they probably are… and will be if they make a first team début. Ryan Shawcross went to Stoke without a first team appearance for a £1m plus add-ons.

      More to the point, you’re happy with business practice based on patronage so long as it’s a cheap asset? What kind of policy is that. What about when Fergie together with his ‘mates’ Jorge Mendes and Carlos Quieroz spent £8m on Bebe without any due diligence? For me its all part of the same process of lack of accountability which would be unacceptable in any other business but is ok at United because Ferguson is untouchable.

  31. Market cap if IPO’d today wouldn’t be far short. 2)
    It would be little over half that figure I imagine. For £2 Billion the Glazer’s would float tomorrow.

    In the low hundred of thousands is not ‘multi million pound assets’ then really is it.

    Fergie together with his ‘mates’ Jorge Mendes and Carlos Quieroz spent £8m on Bebe without any due diligence? For me its all part of the same process of lack of accountability which would be unacceptable in any other business but is ok at United because Ferguson is untouchable.

    Your changing the subject but I agree completely the Bebe episode has everything in it to suggest corruption and probable bribery. I agreed completely with the Bebe articles.

    • squigs – You see I see this as all the same thing, not changing the subject at all. Fergie loaning out to kids to his son’s team, or his mates teams, or signing off on an £8m spend on a whim… its bad corporate governance.

  32. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    tbf, fergie will have fuck all to do with the marketing/corporate side of things etc…yes he will be part of the negotiating process as a bargaining tool, but this is purely in name only…

    squigs is right….he is a figurehead but unlike like most figureheads, he is more of a mascot…or a holy grail type of …oh ffs…cant be arsed

  33. Yeah, I do understand what you are saying but I think you don’t put both incidents into context.
    1 is the loaning of players, United as a club don’t really lose out and I don’t think the Glazers should be concerned that Peterborough are receiving players on loan. No other club has come out and said that they wanted the above players on loan and the were not allowed because Ferguson said no. To use your corporate comparisons, Fergie as head of the playing and coaching side of the organisation has to be allowed to make that decision.
    2 Is as said before a much shadier and much worse then mere lack of accountability it looked positively fraudulent.

  34. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    haha….

    they nailed him to a cross…..ffs…i’m, going all johnny cash now…..

  35. “It was a decision made with the family in mind”. It is reassuring to know that you are aware of SAFs true motives. I had considered he was most concerned about the football development of Ryan Tunicliffe -probably a future big talent.
    I do agree that we should be wary of SAFs nepotism; but it only becomes an issue for United fans if the football outcome is not for the best.
    Your ‘middle-manager’ analogy with other big business organisations is completely unhelpful. SAF has much more power & much greater remuneration than any ‘middle manager’ on the planet. I do take your much bigger point that SAFs amazing football success & longevity should not make him immune to scrutiny. Long may you continue to do so. Some one needs to do so, because the old bugger does not like to be questioned or challenged.

  36. Ed said:
    ian – Well you’ve specified that “unfair” is the key word to suit your argument, nobody else does. Neither does OED… you do get how a semi-column affects the clause of a sentence, right? But hey, what’s 400 years of dictionary in comparison to ian!

    Here’s some alternates since you want to play the dictionary game….

    Miriam Webster: “favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship”
    Dictionary.com: “patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics”
    Cambridge: “using your power or influence to get good jobs or unfair advantages for members of your own family”
    Chambers: “the practice of favouring one’s relatives or friends, especially in making official appointments.”
    Collins: “favouritism shown to relatives and friends by those with power”

    My point stands. Ferguson’s decision is based on patronage. Favouritism handed to his son because he is his son. As I’ve said repeatedly it is not about OUTCOMES but INPUTS. It may turn out right for these boys but it was a decision made with family in mind. Nobody has so far challenged that, including you. Is this any way for a non-executive middle manager to act regarding multi-million assets in a £2 billion organisation?

    It’s absurd to call Fergie a “middle manager”, that’s a hopelessly inaccurate depiction of his role and importance within the United organisation. He’s the most important person on the payroll, he’s the single irreplaceable member of the “talent”, the man who guarantees that the Glazers get the numbers they want to see every quarter. As long as he keeps delivering the results, he could play his fucking sons in the senior squad for all the owners care. He’s the equivalent of a director like Steven Spielberg: the money men say “here you go, Steven, here’s £200M to make the film”, and they don’t argue with a proven winner over the little details because his track record speaks for itself.

    Expecting good “corporate governance” of Fergie is missing the point. He’s the talent: what’s good for Fergie is good for United. If it pleases him to loan our kids to his son then so be it, if it puts him in better humour to perform his duties for our club then all the better.

    Besides, what does the “corporate governance” accusation mean anyway? Are you arguing that Fergie should have the Glazers’ accountants handing over his shoulder overseeing every decision? Isn’t that the opposite of what we all want? Still harping on about Bebe? Let’s get some fucking perspective, the man just delivered another title with what is by unanimous consent a somewhat unspectacular team. Some minor transfer that didn’t work out is pretty insignificant compared to the bigger picture.

    • Bman – no you’re missing the point. This stuff slips through because of who Ferguson is and the success he brings. Nobody’s doubting his central role at the club but it has allowed the man to get away with behaviour that is not acceptable in ‘normal’ business. You’re happy with it. Lots of fans are happy with it because Ferguson has such a bank of credit that he’s on a very high pedestal.

      But £8m was wasted on Bebe at Ferguson’s whim – as I understand it one phone call from Mendes to Quieroz, Quieroz to Ferguson and the deal was done. The Glazers for all their tight fistedness over the past six years are scared gormless by Ferguson so he gets away with acting without oversight. Including – farming out kids to his family because they’re his family and he wants to do them a favour.

      We’re going round in circles here. You think its ok because there’s silverware. I think its not ok and don’t think that United behaving properly as a business would take away from the sivlerware one iota. Not a jot. Nobody mentioned accountants except you. Why is it that you and Ian consistently resort to putting words into my mouth in this debate? I’ll tell you – because you don’t have a sound argument.

  37. Bman,
    thank you very much. I could not have worded it better.

    For all we know, the Bebe transfer might have been the only legitimate way Mendes might have received money from the Ronaldo to Real deal. Apparently, premier league rules do not allow the selling club to pay an agent or something like that. Far worse things are going on the football world. David Dein was tossed out of Arsenal because of his son’s dealings. But the club are regretting it now as they have not won anything since his departure nor lured any big time signings.

  38. Better even that Dein’s son is the agent of one Cesc Fabregas.

  39. captainhormone captainhormone says:

    love it if we signed cesc…perfect for us

  40. I don’t think the Bebe deal is OK or not OK because I don’t have enough information about it. Maybe there’s a secret component to that deal that I would approve of, as lots of people have speculated. But even the worst possible scenario–that Quiroz convinced Fergie that they just had to get this lad–doesn’t seem nearly worth all the grumbling. I think Quiroz was a great servant to United as both a coach and cultivator of young talent (above all Ronaldo), so why crucify the man for getting one wrong and why crucify Fergie for having faith in his friend and former colleague’s judgment?

    As for loaning some of our lads to his son’s team, well it’s only fair to point out that this could be interpreted as a positive thing for the club. I’m sure lots of clubs would love to have the option of sending their academy lads out for experience somewhere where they can rely on the manager to look out for their interests and maintain a good relationship with the lending club. Football’s a dirty business — keeping things in the family might well be a cleaner and better option for the young players than exposing them to all the hucksters and competing interests that would come with a more purely business-oriented loan.

    Basically, I’m all for complaining about stuff that goes wrong or Fergie’s mistakes, but we also have to keep some perspective. Every day anybody in his position will make a lot of decisions that later turn out bad, but come the end of the season he’s nearly always proven to have gotten more of the important decisions right than his competitors at other clubs. For example, a balanced evaluation of last season’s transfers would say it was a triumph for Fergie: the probable duffness of Bebe is not nearly as important as how successful Smalling and Hernandez look like they will be for years to come.

  41. “……the behaviour that is acceptable in ‘normal’ business” Your words, Ed, not mine. The function of a ‘normal’, successful business is to generate as much profit as possible, within the law, presumably by having an outsatnding product. The ananolgy with Spielberg is a good one. SAF is given enough freedom to deliver an outstanding product & great enertainment &, at the same time, deliver large profits; all over a sustained period. It’s pretty obvious that the first two factors are what most fans crave for. SAF is accountable to the Glazers, who unlike many owners let him get on with the job with minimal interference; if he was not successful he would be sacked. SAF will be judged by posterity by such criteria & so he should be. SAFs ‘personal habits’ have no interest to me & are quite a different story. I think it unlikely that SAF would have been unable to operate if he was accounatble to the Coolmore Mafia. All I am saying is that let’s never lose focus on the bigger picture, (for fans) -United’s success as a football team. Yes his business dealings should be scrutinised but as Bman suggests with the Tuncliffe deal, we can argue until the cows come home, whether it is nepotism or not, is good for the club & for the player &, as usually happens. SAF has got it right again.

    • ian – This is a relevant and important debate about how the club is run and how one of its employees acts in relation to club assets. You keep bringing in issues that are not relevant to the article. It’s all FUD i.e. accountants, Coolmore, the definition of nepotism.

      Your argument: the issue of nepotism and purchase/sale of assets is irrelevant because Sir Alex wins trophies.

      My argument: United could be a better run club, without favours granted to family and friends, without changing United’s success one jot.

      *And just so we’re being correct here: United has posted a loss every year the Glazers have been in charge. More than £100m last financial year.

  42. You miss the predominant point: with SAF, as with most men of exceptional talent throughout history, they have to be accepted & assessed warts & all. SAF is as he is & not what you want him to be. Is he breaking the law of the land or EPL regulations? Is he not one of the best football managers in the world? Is he doing not just a good, but a brilliant, job at United? You can take each question as to his contribution in the running of a corporate business or a football team. If the answer to all three questions is “Yes”, then the club is being run in a very successful way & SAF is maximising the clubs assets. (I am quite aware that he is working within the restraints of the obnoxious Glazers.

    • ian – there you go again, continually changing the debate because you cannot and have not come up with a suitable defence of the man’s nepotism. So far you’ve done nothing bar obfusticate and created FUD – this includes but is probably not limited to making reference to the definition of nepotism, morals, Coolmore, the ‘law of the land’ and now Ferguson’s success. None of which I referenced, just so we’re clear.

      I’m not doubting Ferguson’s success at all. He is the subject of thousands of words of praise on this website. And I certainly did not question his “brilliance” in my article, nor did I suggest any laws broken (although nepotism is unlawful in some states of the US but not, essentially, in the UK.) Had I thought there question marks in these areas I would have said it myself.

      What I did do is point to a case of nepotism and ask whether that’s acceptable behaviour. I believe this question can indeed be taken in isolation.

  43. Nepotism is, quite simply, of piffling importance unless there are significant & unfair consequences; in this case there are not.

  44. Obfusticate

    Nice

  45. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Commenter said:
    Nepotism is, quite simply, of piffling importance unless there are significant & unfair consequences; in this case there are not.

    Oh for fuck sake Mate… take a day off.

  46. DeadRevel says:

    Nepotism? Well obviously it’s not a coincidence, but using that term gives absurd connotations. There are plenty of valid reasons why he would want his youth players to play under Ferguson Jr… don’t see why you are pretending it’s anything more than practical.

    “The Glazers for all their tight fistedness over the past six years are scared gormless by Ferguson so he gets away with acting without oversight.”

    Sorry just read this and laughed out loud. So what you want is more control and influence from the Glazers? Brilliant Ed. That’s journo 101 right there. Take an obvious truth then reverse it to antagonise people. Bravo.

  47. (Errr – sorry, but it’s “obfuscate”. I wouldn’t normally bother but it’s such a great word…..)

  48. Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

    Commenter said:
    “The Glazers for all their tight fistedness over the past six years are scared gormless by Ferguson so he gets away with acting without oversight.”

    This idea that the Glazers are so “afraid” of Ferguson is bollocks…
    If that was true, then we have every right to feel even more betrayed by Ferguson, who supports the Glazers in every way… even the fleecing of the fans for every spare penny they’ve got.
    Stop talking shit!

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

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