Fergie's defiant stance in BBC boycott row
alex Ferguson yesterday took up a defiant stance in his determination to refuse interviews with the BBC, declaring that he would not face a fine from the Premier League on the issue.
"I don't think that's the case," Ferguson said, when questioned for the first time on the issue, ahead of the Premier League board meeting at which the league will consider imposing fines for the manager's refusal to speak to the corporation.
Manchester United do not believe Ferguson can be fined personally as the league can only impose financial penalties on member clubs, rather than individuals, and since they are ready to stand by the manager and pay out whatever financial penalties may come their way, Ferguson was right. Personally, he will not be fined.
Roy Hodgson's Liverpool delivered some unusual bonhomie to yesterday's pre-match press conference. The two men have always got on.
There was also some ribaldry between the two when Hodgson took the Liverpool job this summer. "I spoke to him," Hodgson revealed.
"In a jocular way I asked whether now that I've taken the Liverpool job that we don't speak to each other. He didn't put the phone down. He made some cutting remark, but I can't remember what it was."
Hodgson said tomorrow's game compares with the Derby d'Italia, Internazionale v Juventus, which he experienced during his brief spell as Inter manager in 1999. "It was the real killer one," Hodgson reflected.
"I didn't like losing, which I did quite often. We did poorly and I would like to change that, it'd be nice. Thanks for reminding me!"
Hodgson said he was unsure whether Liverpool fans attempting to provoke Wayne Rooney would work against his side. "They are things that football managers and coaches can do nothing about," he said.
Meanwhile, Ferguson has received positive news about Owen Hargreaves, whose American surgeon Dr Richard Steadman disclosed yesterday was "close to playing fitness" following prolonged treatment in Colorado. Dr Steadman added that Hargreaves' injury was a complex and serious one, but he is pleased with the midfielder's response to treatment and with his determination to strengthen himself. "The problem was with the tendon attached to the patella on each knee, which is difficult to resolve," he said. "After the surgery, the key was rest and working hard on recovery. Owen has spent a lot of time with us here and he has never given up."
The United boss also suggested that Antonio Valencia might be back as soon as February following his surgery for an ankle break on Tuesday night. (© Independent News Service)