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Sir Alex Ferguson is up for the fight (again) as Champions League Final press conference turns messy

25 May 2011 14:36:52

Sir Alex Ferguson is up for the fight (again) as Champions League Final press conference turns messy

Share Sir Alex Ferguson has been trying to throw people out of places since he owned a pub on the junction of Govan Road and Paisley Road West in his native Glasgow back in the Seventies. Fergie's could get a bit lively once the dockers had sunk a few pints, its proprietor often returning home with a cut head and a swollen jaw. His press conferences at Manchester United don't usually get that rough, but he is as territorial as ever and Tuesday's incident with a member of the written media was no exception. xxxxxxxx Question time: Stern-faced United manager Sir Alex Ferguson takes the question about Ryan Giggs from AP journalist Rob Harris during Tuesday's media briefing at the club's training ground ... But the mic is still on! Ferguson, unaware his hushed conversation is being picked up, turns to press officerKaren Shotbolt to ask whether the reporter would be at his pre-match press conference on Friday Director's cut: A technician, alert to the United boss's gaffe, mouths that the the microphone is still on asFerguson tells Shotbolt that 'we'll get' Harris and 'ban him on Friday' Carrington was chaos. A traffic jam built up in the single carriageway access road to the training ground, not helped by Nemanja Vidic proving as stubborn in his car as he is at the centre of United's defence. He simply refused to back off when the only solution was to reverse and so allow the car facing him past. It also became a problem for Ryan Giggs, a delay at the first barrier leaving him at the mercy of the paparazzi. But it was because of Giggs and the storm surrounding his private life that it was busier than expected. Theofficial UEFA media day before a Champions League final always attractsjournalists from around the world but television trucks almost outnumbered the cars on this occasion. WhenFerguson appeared, having agreed to a delay to accommodate those caughtin the madness outside, he knew there would be a question about Giggs. Aboutthe impact being named in Parliament as the footballer behind the injunction might have on the 37-year-old ahead of this weekend's game against Barcelona. Firestorm: Giggs arrives at the Carrington Training ground ahead Gary Neville's testimonial He also knew that the request by the club's media officer to keep questions to football would be ignored. But Ferguson was in full siege mentality mode and when his first instinct is to protect his players, when his only concern is winning a football match on Saturday, he responds accordingly. The initial response to a question that could have been an awful lot more confrontational was controlled. Showing a fair degree of deference towards United's manager, Rob Harris, a sports journalist for the Associated Press, asked: 'The most important experienced player in the Champions League is obviously Ryan Giggs. How important is he for the team on Saturday?' Not wishing to explode with rage live on TV, Ferguson replied: 'All the players are important to us.' He made it clear it was an issue he was not willing to discuss. He remained calm, but a later hushed exchanged was picked up by a microphone. Ferguson does tend to be more careful when the TV cameras are present, opting for a cutting remark rather than the full hairdryer treatment. Brothers in arms: Giggs (right) andNeville embrace at Old Trafford on Tuesday 'That question would take an entire interview to answer and it's an interview you're never going to get,' he once said to me during a Champions League press conference and even I laughed. But he also says things under his breath that get picked up by the microphones. Having cast his eye over the journalists ahead of one European tie, he turned to Edwin van der Sar and whispered: 'There's a lot of ***ts in here today!' These, however, are stories those on the receiving end love to recount and a part of what makes covering United, and following the finest manager English football has seen, fascinating. Harris did not seem at all bothered by Ferguson's threat, even if he would probably prefer to be reporting the story, not being at the centre of it. Clearly, Ferguson is upset by the sorry saga because of his affection and admiration for Giggs, just as he would probably agree it could have been handled a lot better from the start. Back to business: Giggs played his part in Neville's Testimonial but the media circus swirls around him For the volcano to erupt this week is not what United need when Giggs has been integral to the season. Ferguson answered the questions that followed the one concerning Giggs politely, even if he was not as garrulous as he might have been. He was still raging inside, as the final - what he believed private - exchange with the club's media officer demonstrated. He knows he will not be able to ban a journalist from an official UEFA press conference on Friday, particularly when it is at Wembley. He would probably admit the threat to 'get him' was an empty one. More relaxed: With the press conference over, Fergie was all smiles with Gary Neville and David Gill (left) on Tuesday night He had his problem with gangsters while running that pub in Govan but he does not put contracts out on people. He probably regrets the fact the exchange was picked up on the microphones. The media officer clearly attempted to dissuade him from discussing it there and then. Not for the first time, Ferguson has been left looking arrogant and aloof, a bit of a bully. But it was heat-of-the-moment stuff - a manager protecting a player who has served him with distinction, a manager trying to add the club's fourth European Cup to those 19 League titles by beating the best team ever.  United milestone as they pass through the ?60m TV income barrierSir Bobby Charlton: My United XI contains just two of the current crop... and me!All the latest Manchetser United FC news, features and opinion


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