Manchester United's Manager V The BBC And Other Football U Turns

The Manchester United manager and the BBC have buried the hatchet after a nine-year feud. But Sir Alex Ferguson isn’t the only person in football to change their mind…
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The Manchester United manager and the BBC have buried the hatchet after a nine-year feud. But Sir Alex Ferguson isn’t the only person in football to change their mind…

After not liking what he saw in the 2004 Panorama documentary ‘Ferguson and Son’ Manchester United manager Sir Alex did what any reasonable grown up would do and decided not to speak to the BBC again. Whether he was being principled or petty the self-imposed lifetime ban carried a financial penalty. At the start of last season a change in Premier League rules obliged managers to speak to broadcast rights holders, of which the BBC is one. For every no show Manchester Untied and Ferguson were fined £1,000. That was £40,000 ago.

Now Sir Alex and the BBC’s director general, Mark Thompson have agreed to let bygones be bygones and re-opened a dialogue.

Football has a history of going back on its word. The transcript to any transfer saga will highlight the absolute b*llocks people in and around football are prepared to talk. But some u-turns are bigger than others and as you’ll see this isn’t Sir Alex’s first…

Ferguson’s Retirement (2002)

Following his sixth Premier League title in 2000 Ferguson announced step down as United manager after his contract ended in 2002. A year later, after winning Premiership number seven the lame duck manager said he’d be moving upstairs as a consultant to the poor b******d who took his job. Then just three months before his retirement date – when I assume everyone at Old Trafford would have signed his leaving card and put in for his gold watch – Ferguson changed his mind agreeing a new three-year deal. Nine years later he’s still there.

Mo Johnston To Rangers (1989)

Imagine if Cesc Fabregas en route to his return to Barcelona had a change of heart and signed for Real Madrid instead. Add that he was the first Catalan to sign for Real, then sprinkle on several hundred years of religious hatred and you’d have a watered down version of what it was like when Maurice Johnson snubbed Celtic at the last minute to sign for Rangers. The hoops had already coughed up £400,000 of Johnston’s £1.1m transfer fee but failed to land the ex-Celtic heartthrob because they somehow neglected to pay Nantes the £700,000 balance. Graeme Souness’ Rangers stepped in and took a step overcoming the sectarianism in Scottish football by signing the club’s first catholic. It could have been handled better though.

Rangers stepped in and took a step towards overcoming the sectarianism in Scottish football by signing the club’s first catholic.

Harry Redknapp To Southampton (2004)

When Harry Redknapp resigned as Pompey manager in November 2004 he was adamant he wouldn’t have anything to do with the Southampton managers position vacated by Gordon Strachan eight months earlier. He reiterated his stance saying, "I will now spend a short period of time to rest, recharge my batteries before contemplating my future.” Two weeks later he was the boss at St Mary’s. The now infamous quote "I will not go down the road no chance." Harry spouted shortly before taking the Southampton job has led to fans up and down the country taking what the Spurs manager has to say with a flush-folding flat-rack container of salt.

The Sun’s Stance On Fifa Corruption And The World Cup 2018 Decision (2010)

On December 1st, 2010 the Sun eschewed the usual t*ts, a*se and gossip that usually adorns it’s front page for a gushing letter to Fifa. The paper distanced themselves from the BBC documentary accusing football’s world governing body of corruption probably so they could say – if England were awarded the competition – that it was the Sun what won it. Two days later the Sun headline read, “FIFA BUNGS RUSSIA THE WORLD CUP’. Cue a kick out corruption campaign and calls for a probe. Certainly a worthy standpoint but boy did they change their tune.

Wayne Rooney Stays At Manchester United (2010)

Days after saying he had to leave Man United because the club no longer matched his ambitions Wayne Rooney signed a new five-year deal. Why did he change his mind? Was it the militant balaclava clad fans that took a "Join City and you will die" banner round his house? Was it the influence of the manager? Perhaps the whopping pay rise Wazza bagged as part of his new contract? Who knows? What we do know is within 5 months Rooney had picked up a Premier League champions medal and a Champions League runners up gong. In fact the only team in Europe to outperform Man U that season were Barcelona. Lack of ambition my arse.

Faustino Asprilla To Darlington (2002)

There are few truths left in football. Now days the influx of money has raised the stakes so high that you can’t believe everything you see never mind hear. But there was a truth that survived the Sky revolution, the Bosman ruling and the rise of agents that as far as I know only one man has sullied. The confirmation of a transfer. You know, the photo of a new signing and a club representative, holding the new team’s shirt, taken in the new teams ground. That was until Faustino Asprilla signed for Darlington in 2002.  After he was snapped at the Feethams Darlo fans were dancing in the streets, but even the lure of 20 per cent of the gate receipts, a salary, a car and a rent free flat wasn’t enough to keep Tino in Darlington long enough to complete his medical. The Colombian hotfooted it to the Middle East and wasn’t seen in the northeast for another 9 years.

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