Saturday, 12 March 2011

Problems for Ferguson cut deeper than Nani's leg

FOR once the Nani gash was nothing to do with Wayne Rooney.

And instead of being an embarrassment to Manchester United, it was a convenient smokescreen.

Phil Dowd got it wrong when he failed to dismiss Jamie Carragher for his shuddering tackle on Nani that left the cry-baby winger with, er, a cut, in United’s deserved defeat at Anfield.

He also got it wrong when Rafael was allowed to stay on for doing a passable impression of Bruce Lee.

But talk of Nani’s gash and Alex Ferguson’s toys out of the pram reaction to defeat (or lack of it) was a veil over a string of problems at United.

That may sound mad when they top the league and are still alive in the Champions League and the FA Cup. But anyone with eyes can see all is not right at Old Trafford.

United must be the least convincing table-toppers in a lifetime. The Glazers continue to ignore pleas to leave and bids to buy and they and their debts remain.

And as average players like Michael Carrick and Anderson are handed new deals, it’s hard to shake a feeling that it’s because they can’t afford to buy anyone better.

Rooney is still far from being himself and Dimitar Berbatov remains an enigma, capable of the sublime – see his jaw-dropping control of a hoofed ball on Sunday – and the ridiculous (his general levels of effort).

And leading the madhouse is Ferguson, or the silent Knight as he is now known after his laughable “media blackout” following the Anfield humiliation.

He may be 69, but he really needs to grow up.

United match-goers sing: “We’re Man United, we’ll do what we want.” And it appears the fans are not the only people associated with the club who believe that ditty.

Managers are supposed to speak to broadcasters after a TV match. Ferguson didn’t and he ordered his players to keep it shut, too.

Even Ryan Giggs had to shrug and say ‘no’ when asked to talk about passing Bobby Charlton’s appearance record. Must be a real lift for his morale that.

So Ferguson will be hit hard now, right? He’ll face a fine, a ban? Nah.

The Premier League will only act if a broadcaster complains. And guess what?  No-one at Sky, BBC or talkSport has got the balls to take him on. Not that his behaviour should come as any surprise.

He still doesn’t speak to the BBC just because of some perfectly reasonable journalism. And he regularly bans press men just because he doesn’t agree with what they write.

Ferguson even once banned the club’s own TV channel because a presenter said United should play 4-4-2.

And he’s fallen out with the FA again of course.

Could it be that the grumpy grandad’s bullying tactics are finally going to fail? As United played out the final minutes of their defeat at Anfield, the Kop taunted their rivals: “You’re Man United, you’ll do as your told.”

Maybe it’s time Fergie did just that and stopped making up his own rules.