Date:Thursday June 19 2008
Okay, let me start off by stating this is something you will not hear me say often. I can feel my skin creep as I prepare to write the next sentence, but it is a true feeling I have, so hear goes.
I applaud Sir Alex Ferguson.
But I do. I know what he said marks him out as a prize hypocrite, given the way he chased Ruud van Nistelrooy and Jaap Stam, but still, I applaud him for the stance he has taken over the whole Christiano Ronaldo affair. Faced with the prospect of a Spanish club performing their normal tricks of conducting their Transfer dealings through the media, and tapping up another team's player via the (Madrid-friendly) papers, Fergie and United acted decisively, and made it known that rather than see Ronaldo be stolen away from under their noses, they would force him to sit in the reserves and see no action. They then subsequently reported Real Madrid to FIFA over what appears to many to be an illegal approach.
FIFA, to their credit, maintained their grip on the world game by then stating that Madrid have done nothing wrong and they would not be pursuing the matter. Much better to pursue the 6+5 rule, eh? Good to know that the world governing body is really in control over unlawful approaches for players contracted to other teams, isn't it.
Arsenal more than most have, over the past few seasons, suffered at the hands of the underhand tactics of the Spanish big two of Barcelona and Real Madrid, and these guys have been allowed to get away with this for too long. It was about time they were brought to task about the way they actively pursue players.
Sadly they have been given carte blanche to carry on in the manner in which they have been doing.
But, even though this is the case, I wish to take a moment to say bravo to Fergie.
Arsene threatened to report Inter over the Alex Hleb affair, and has made similar utterances in the past, with nothing coming from it. I sometimes wish we would take a tougher line in cases like this, as the list is long of players tapped up by other clubs. Anelka, Vieira (multiple times), Overmars, Petit, Thierry Henry, Alex Hleb and now Adebayor, to name but a few. If we maybe took the hardline like Ferguson, perhaps it would deter certain clubs from approached under contract players so readily.
Date:Thursday June 19 2008
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