FORMER Manchester United midfielder Paddy Crerand was involved in an astonishing outburst on radio this morning as he reacted angrily to the suggestion that Rio Ferdinand could in any way have provoked Manchester City fans with his celebration of United's winner in yesterday's derby.
It was put to Crerand, who is of Irish descent but played for Scotland at international level, during an interview on BBC Radio Five Live that listeners had called and texted the show to suggest that players should tone down their celebrations in front of opposition fans.
Crerand was disgusted by the insinuation that Ferdinand had any responsibility for the incident and repeatedly challenged the station to say how many people had blamed Ferdinand.
"Who said that? That is ridiculous," Crerand said.
"What planet do they live on? That is absolute garbage. How many people have phoned you up? One, two, three? How many? Why make a statement like that if you haven't got (the number of listeners) to hand...if you haven't got the evidence?"
Asked to respond to the suggestion that Ferdinand could have provoked the attacks, Crerand added: "I think the point is absolutely ludicrous."
At one point Crerand asked interviewer Chris Warburton: "Is this a publicity stunt? Ask me a sensible question and don't talk stupid, asking me daft questions about whether fans should celebrate or not."
Warburton's co-presenter Rachel Burden interjected to suggest to Crerand that there may have been a misunderstanding of the question that had been asked.
Crerand demanded again to know how many people had contacted the show.
"How many texts? A million? Half a million? A hundred thousand?"
Crerand added: " Rio Ferdinand was nowhere near where the home fans were. He gets struck by a coin that someone has thrown from about 15 or 20 yards, it wasn't as if he was standing in front of their supporters jumping up and down."
After Burden asked Crerand a couple of questions, he said: "Why have you changed commentators, why have you come on all of a sudden?"
Crerand was told it was standard for both presenters to contribute questions and Warburton said: "Don't worry, I haven't run scared, Paddy."