Let me start by saying I’m glad Everton won their FA Cup semi-final. I am a Liverpool fan but I hope Everton go on to win. The FA Cup means more to Everton than to any of the other semi-finalists who have the league and/or the Champions league to worry about so for that reason I hope they go on to win.
Alex Ferguson had another pot shot at Rafa Benitez before the game accusing him of arrogance and disrespecting Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce by making a gesture after Liverpool’s second goal which Ferguson claims was a ‘game over’ gesture. Benitez claims it was a gesture to his players of ‘shows what I know’ after one of his freekick instructions was ignored by Xabi Alonso, who crossed for Torres to score.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se1YhLGZ-WE"]YouTube - RAFA BENITEZ GESTURE TOWARDS SAM ALLADYCE *WORLD EXCLUSIVE ON YOUTUBE*[/ame]
Video evidence seems to back Benitez the gesture was not made towards the Blackburn bench. Allardyce even said the gesture was not done in his direction but he did take extreme offence. Allardyce is certainly not a shy, retiring man who keeps his opinions to himself and he clearly dislikes Benitez. If he was so offended, why did he not mention it until Ferguson brought it up? And if the behaviour of the Liverpool bench upset him so much, why did he go for a drink after the game with Reds assistant Sammy Lee? No mention of the gesture was made before Ferguson commented. Indeed no mention of this gesture was made in any news outlet I’m aware of or on any sports channel.
Allardyce was so traumatised he said "the game is hard enough as it is without a fellow manager doing what seemed to be an undermining gesture." Didn’t the same Sam Allardyce say this before the game? “Bolton always used to batter them [Liverpool] at the Reebok” Surely a man such as Allardyce whose intention is always to respect the opposition manager should say his teams ‘outplayed Liverpool’ or ‘got good results’ rather than ‘batter’?
Ferguson said Benitez’s behaviour was “beyond the pale” and he would never treat a fellow manager this way. I think I’m right in saying he refused to shake the Lille managers hand after a Champions League game a few years ago and he has had many more run-ins with managers over the years.
Also, he went on to support Allardyce because of his work for the LMA (League Managers Association). The England National manager is automatically given the title of LMA president. Ferguson therefore supports the LMA to such an extent that he makes his players unavailable to the president come international friendlies time and then magically finds they are fit to play in his next league or cup game.
Ferguson then went on to attack Benitez for his comments (taken out of context) that Everton are a small club, even though he also said that David Moyes is building a big club, which to me suggests he’s saying they’re not one now!
Now didn’t Alex Ferguson say that Manchester City are ‘lingering in mid-table’ so he wasn’t too bothered by them. That’s very nearly the same as calling them a small club, no?
Ferguson went on to show how much of a big team he felt Everton are by picking a team with only Ferdinand, Vidic, Park and Tevez as regular starters. The average age of his squad was 22. He would not put a team out unless he felt they could win so he was showing Everton that the FA Cup is his lowest priority and that he could beat them with an inexperienced team.
Now he was nearly proved right. Phil Jagielka fouled the very impressive Danny Welbeck but Mike Riley missed it (no surprise there) to leave Ferguson hopping mad on the touchline.
Everton ultimately won the game on penalties but Ferguson was complaining about everyone and everything from the pitch (admittedly crap but both teams had to play on it) to David Moyes’ prematch questioning of Mike Riley’s allegiances to Man United making Riley have to show he’s unbiased by giving decisions Everton’s way. Total nonsense.
Firstly, Mike Riley is a United fan. Rotherham United. Secondly, how can he complain of another manager using mind-games when he has done it for the past twenty years?
Alex Ferguson will go down as one of the all-time greats in football management when he eventually retires but he will not be loved universally in the way that Jock Stein and Bob Paisley are except by United or Aberdeen fans. His continual, hypocritical media rants have made him a figure of ridicule and hatred for many. For a man who has achieved so much that is a shame.