Is Alex Ferguson's 'Influence' Poisoning Football And Anti-Competitive?

True BlueCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2011

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 24:  Sir Alex Ferguson looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Straight off the bat I want to make it clear that I am not accusing anybody, particularly Alex Ferguson of breaking any laws or of cheating in any way.

It is plain that no such thing is in the public domain and I for one am not even suggesting that any such thing has ever happened.

That said I am left with doubts about the influence that one man seems to have in English football.

For many years now Ferguson has liked nothing more than the sound of his own voice, and valued no opinion other than his own.

That is plain from what we all have had to watch, listen and read over the years. Until recently even the media were willing to put up with  Fergie bans and being cold shouldered on the off chance that he would drop them a line or two in the future.

Of course his ego has swelled and his feeling of self-importance has grown as more people felt that they had to listen to the great man.

(I would like to make the point here that I think he is one of, if not the greatest manager in English football history)

He has gathered around him a cohort of seemingly subservient managers who fawn over him and glory to him, waiting for his advice and craving his counsel.

Chief amongst them is the now unemployed Sam Allardyce who will no doubt be found doing some scouting for United in the not too distant future.

Then we have Tony Pulis the latest fan boy to have fallen under Fergie's spell and willing to do almost anything to keep in his good books. Such as lose easily at Old Trafford?

But it is coming to a head now.

A lot more stuff is coming out into the open adn the pressure is being applied.

Firstly Fergie is going to be made to talk to the BBC, something that should have happened years ago and would have happened to any manager other than Fergie.

The reason for this petty refusal to get back at the BBC for a report it did on Manchester United's dealings with his then agent son.

That was back in 2004 and happened at about the same time that some rather wealthy Irish shareholders sold up and moved on after a fall-out with, you guessed it, Alex Ferguson.

(It may well be that Fergie is the sole reason why United are owned by the Glazers but that's another long story which as the great man at its centre).

So apart from refusing to talk to certain broadcasters and journalist and thereby skewing the way the league is reported what other influence has he got that so depresses me?

Well in the last week we saw his woefully inadequate son Darren get fired from his job as Preston manager, leaving with the club firmly in last place and heading for relegation.

Immediately Fergie recalled the players that United had loaned the club leaving them even less able to compete than before. Again I found such actions by Fergie to be petty and almost childish.

But worse was to come for Preston as that fan boy of Fergie's, Tony Pulis also recalled loan players from Stoke in a show of solidarity with his leader.

Now that stinks to high heaven.

Firslty,what does any of this have to do with Pulis and Stoke?

But more importantly are we all to assume that wherever Darren gets a job then a number of Premier League sides will throw loan players at his team at favourable rates?

Wherever Darren Ferguson goes then budget restraints at competing but well run clubs will be undermined by Fergie calling a few mates and giving Darren a massive competitive advantage?

And of course he had better not be fired as if he is then all of those players will disappear in a puff of smoke and leave whatever club employs Darren facing disaster.

It is all a bit too iffy for me.

But as I say things are changing and Fergie's influence is perhaps on the wane.

For starters I cannot imagine any decent team with a chairman with any self-respect considering giving Fergie Jnr a job. He comes with baggage now.

Perhaps Darren will decide that a change of career is best like his brother the EX-agent?

And of course the ownership of Manchester United is taking the gloss of Fergie in the eyes of many Reds fans. Certainly as he preaches to them about the excellent owners that the Glazers are.

The Premier League are also going to fine United for every time he fails to talk to the BBC and next season there may also be the threat of a points deduction if he persists.

The new influx of foreign money also mens that Fergie's influence in many clubs is waning as well.

Blackburn will not now think twice before saying no to Fergie.

Man City are giving him a headache with the noise they are making. Liverpoool's owners are aware of Fergie as is Randy Lerner, Bruce Buck and others with an important vote on any new rules in the Premier League.

So the future looks like being one where one man cannot wield such influence but for now Fergie and his Fan Boys leave me wondering why more isn't being done now?


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