Monday, November 26, 2007

Sir Alex Ferguson Overreacts a Bit

Over the weekend Manchester United lost at Bolton Wanderers for the first time since 1978. Their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, got sent from the manager's box into the stands during half time for some delightful comments to the referee in the tunnel.

After the game, Sir Alex made some comments during a press conference that just don't sit well with me. The idea that lesser teams should be treated differently by referees because they are not as storied or as championed as Manchester United is absolutely insane. When two football teams step out onto the pitch, they become equals. They are foes for ninety minutes, but they are equal under the laws of football. That idea gives smaller teams a fighting chance psychologically, that they are protected in the same way the other team is even when they're facing some of the best and most expensive players in the world. Hell, the entire structure of the FA Cup is based on the idea that every English club team can earn the opportunity to play against any other team, from a semi-pro team all the way up to the Premier League. It seemed a bit irresponsible for a coach to believe he and his team are above another squad that isn't having one of their better years in the Premiership.


Michael said...

Now, I don't follow soccer over the pond nearly at all (hell, I barely do so here, while I profess to love it...) but I read his comments a little bit differently. Could it be that he's talking about the fact that Bolton, by nature of being at the bottom of the league, feels they have to fight a bit more for games, and therefore plays a more physical style of game? Which Man U wasn't used to? And then the ref was calling the game more like an even-keeled match?

I really don't know. I'm basing this purely off the short Fox Sports article and your blog. I can't really say since I didn't see the game or the comments themselves. But it seems like it might be a little different. Opinion?

esreverniuoy said...

I think that he is referring to Bolton playing more phisically than Man U, but that he approaches it in the wrong way. They weren't used to the physical play, but I blame Ferguson under-preparing his team for a match against a team he apparently knew would be physical. Football is a physical game, Ferguson knows that, but he used it as an excuse to question the referee at half time and got himself relegated to the stands.

To look at a physical game that gets out of hand when ignored by the referee, one only has to look at the Netherlands-Portugal match from the 2006 World Cup. So many cards were flying around because the ref lost control of the game. Over the weekend, the ref was perfectly in control of the game, but Ferguson seemed to be looking for an excuse as to why his team was losing in a stadium and against a team they had not fallen to since the late 70s.

Bolton played a physical game and out-muscled Man U to get their goal, and survived until the end in a way that other bottom table teams should use against the big players at the top. I just don't see any reason to use the style of play and the referees to cover up for Ferguson's managerial decisions failing against a lesser team.

Michael said...

Okay, that's a better reading for me. I didn't quite get all that from your first post. Good point. I'm all for blaming managers when they do a poor job of preparing their clubs. And it's apparent that he did. Right on.