EDITORIAL: Ferguson's foolish comms decision

Football management guru Sir Alex Ferguson's recent decision to

sideline the press is a foolish one that smacks of petulance, despite

claims by his PR advisers that they support him on the issue. It is hard

to imagine Ferguson making this call at the end of last season when his

team was a dozen points clear in the league table.

Given his team's displays recently, it is tempting to suggest he should

spend the time saved by cancelling his PR duties intensively coaching

blundering keeper Fabien Barthez (whose reputation suffered another blow

this week as Tesco PROs reportedly revealed plans to dub him 'butter

fingers' in a bid to boost butter sales).

But as a well-paid senior official of a quoted company - he was pitching

for a seat on the full MUFC board this time last year - Ferguson has

responsibilities to his publics that stretch beyond interviews with the

part-United-owned MUTV.

Although the channel is run by seasoned ex-hacks, being grilled by

people whose livelihoods depend on your goodwill is not the same as

throwing yourself open to independent reporters as other football

managers do every week.

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